For the first time in the history of Karnataka politics, a leader from the Dalit community will take oath as the Deputy Chief Minister.

Cong leader Parameshwara to take oath as Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka
news Karnataka 2018 Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 20:02

KC Venugopal, the election in-charge for the Congress in Karnataka said that Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President, Dr G Parameshwara will take oath as Deputy Chief Minister on Tuesday along with HD Kumaraswamy, the JD(S) President, who is set to take oath as the 24th Chief Minister of the state.

Sources confirmed that the Congress and JD(S) leaders, who me at Taj West End on Tuesday, discussed the issue and arrived at the decision.

The leaders also decided that they would meet once again to hold talks and finalise the list of cabinet ministers, Venugopal said.

The Congress and JD(S) combine have also finalised that KR Ramesh Kumar, the former Minister for Health, would be the Speaker candidate.

“A meeting will be held after the trust vote on May 25 where the other portfolios will be discussed. Also a JD(S) candidate will be chosen as Deputy Speaker and will likely be announced on May 29,” KC Venugopal added.

The leaders have agreed that 21 Congress MLAs and 11 JD(S) MLAs will get ministerial berths.

“Totally the cabinet will include 34 ministers. Excluding Kumaraswamy, who will be the CM, 21 Congress leaders and 11 JD(S) leaders will get cabinet berths,” he added.

In Karnataka, Vokkaligas and Lingayats are two of the most influential groups in the state. Although there is no official caste census, Lingayats, according to most unofficial estimates, account for 18% of the electorate while Vokkaligas account for 16%.

Both communities often have had an equal representation in terms of MP and MLA seats across the state. The two sections have also seen the maximum number of Chief Ministers being sworn in from their communities.

On the other hand, Dalits, who make up over 20% of the state’s population, have been grossly under-represented, say community leaders. Congress, despite making the promise multiple times, has failed to make a Dalit the CM or even Deputy CM. In the SM Krishna-led government, Mallikarjun Kharge was poised to become Deputy CM but that eventually did not happen.

Understanding the underlying resentment from the community, HD Kumaraswamy, ahead of the polls, had said that he would make a Dalit the Deputy CM.

This was also echoed by Siddaramaiah just ahead of the Assembly election results, who said he was open to the idea of the high command choosing a Dalit CM over him.

Dr G Parameshwara, a seasoned politician was born on 6 August 1951, at Gollahalli (now known as Siddartha Nagar) in Tumakuru. He studied at Government Pre-University College in Tumakuru and later studied at the Agriculture at University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore. He then went on to  obtain a PhD from Waite Agricultural Research Centre, University of Adelaide in Plant Physiology.

He entered politics in 1989, contesting and winning from Madhugiri constituency in the state Assembly elections. He served as Minister of State for Sericulture in Veerappa Moily's cabinet.

He won once again from Madhugiri constituency in 1999 and served as Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Higher Education and Science & Technology in the SM Krishna cabinet.

He successively won from Madhugiri and Korategere constituencies in 2004 and 2008. His rise within the Congress was cemented when he was appointed President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee replacing RV Deshpande.

However, Parameshwara, who was to become the Chief Minister in 2013, lost his opportunity as he lost the election from Korategere.



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