After days of hectic parleys and long deliberations, the Congress finally announced on Thursday in a press briefing that party president Mallikarjun Kharge has decided to appoint Siddaramaiah as the next Karnataka Chief Minister and DK Shivakumar as the only deputy CM of the state.
Siddaramaiah is one of the only three chief ministers — all from the Congress — who have been able to complete their full five-year term in the history of Karnataka. He led a successful five-year term as CM of the Congress government between 2013 and 2018.
In 2013, Siddaramaiah won over Kharge, and this time, edged out Shivakumar who mobilised resources and galvanised the party for 2024 general elections, besides strengthening the Vokkaliga support of the Congress.
The septuagenarian leader, and a nine-time MLA, Siddaramaiah won the Varuna seat by a margin of 46,163 votes in the recent state Assembly polls. As Siddaramaiah takes oath as the Karnataka chief minister for a second time today, here’s a look at his political journey:
From lawyer to politician
Born on August 12, 1948, Siddaramaiah hails from a poor farmer’s family in Siddaramanahundi, a village in Mysuru district. Belongint to the Kuruba community, the third largest caste in Karnataka, Siddaramaiah graduated from Mysore University with a BSc degree and later studied Law there. His career as a lawyer lasted for a brief time, before he joined full-time politics.
As an Independent candidate, contesting on a Bharatiya Lok Dal ticket from Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysuru district, he won the seat for the first time in 1983. Chamundeshwari became his stronghold subsequently. He won the constituency five times and lost the seat thrice.
In 2018, he vacated the Varuna seat, created in 2008, for his younger son, Yathindra S, before going back to Chamundeshwari where he faced defeat.
He announced his support to the Ramkrishna Hegde government of the Janata Party. Hegde, the then Chief Minister, responded by appointing him the chairman of the committee set up to make Kannada the official language of Karnataka in 1983.
Siddaramaiah won the Chamundeshwari seat in the 1985 Assembly elections as a Janata Party candidate. He held various portfolios, including sericulture, animal husbandry and transport in the state Cabinet headed by RK Hegde.
Siddaramaiah as Finanace Minister
Siddaramaiah was appointed as the secretary general of Janata Dal in 1992, and in 1994, he became the finance minister in the government headed by HD Deve Gowda. He has presented 13 state budgets as the Finance Minister. Finance is his biggest strength, apart from administration, say his close aides.
After the Janata Dal split in 1996, Siddaramaiah became the president of the JD(S) faction led by Deve Gowda.
Siddaramaiah as Dy CM
When the Congress formed a coalition government with the JD(S) after the 2004 Assembly poll, Siddaramaiah became the deputy chief minister.
As the Congress and the JD(S) had a formula for rotation of power, Siddaramaiah feared he would not be appointed the CM when it was the Congress’ turn to hand over the baton in two years.
This made him launch an apolitical forum called AHINDA (Association of Minorities, Backward Classes and Dalits) and he travelled across the state.
His move angered HD Deve Gowda and Siddaramaiah was expelled from the party. Siddaramaiah quit the JD(S) and joined the Congress in 2006 with massive support from the backward classes.
Siddaramaiah as CM
Known to have a clean image, during his tenure as chief minister, he introduced several welfare schemes, including the ‘Anna Bhagya’ scheme, which provided subsidised food grains to the economically maginalised sections of society.
Siddaramaiah has advocated a separate state flag and in the past has directed that signs in Hindi on city subways be replaced with signs in the Kannada language, giving credence to efforts made by the Congress to give its leaders a strong, regional identity who can take on the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on the ideological front.
A mass leader with socialist leanings, Siddaramaiah, who represents the rural masses and is known to be biased towards rural and agrarian issues, is respected in other parties for the power he holds over the masses.
Also, he is not someone who would compromise on his secular credentials. BJP leaders have time and again accused him of appeasing Muslims by organising Tipu Jayanti celebrations, putting into effect the Shaadi Bhagya scheme, withdrawing cases against Popular Front of India (PFI) activists and issuing pro-Hijab stand.
However, Siddaramaiah also faced allegations of corruption and mismanagement from his political opponents.
In 2016, when Rakesh Siddaramaiah, his eldest son died at a Belgium hospital due to multiple organ failure, Siddaramaiah was shattered. Rakesh was seen as his heir.