“At no point of time in my three-and-a-half-year tenure did I feel the position of president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee was undermined,” said KPCC chief G. Parameshwara in an exclusive interview with The Hindu on Sunday. “I have been able to protect the supremacy of the party without hurting anybody’s feelings.” The roles of the Congress Legislature Party leader and that of the KPCC chief are well-defined and they do not overlap. While the KPCC chief cannot intervene in matters relating to administration of the government, the Chief Minister cannot do so with regard to KPCC affairs, said Dr. Parameshwara to a query.

However, both incumbents would work in close coordination with each other for the fulfilment of the party manifesto. The Chief Minister and the KPCC president, again, could differ in their thinking, but they would work together in the interests of the party and the government. Dr. Parameshwara stated that as per the amended rule — a resolution was moved by him at the CWC held in Delhi — he still had one-and-a-half-year’s left in the five-year term at the helm of the KPCC.

However, if the party high command decides that his services are needed, he will resign and join the Cabinet in the next reshuffle, Dr. Parameshwara confirmed. “Whether it is the Deputy Chief Minister or Cabinet Minister, it is up to the party top leaders to decide,” he said. Again, to achieve this, he needs to be nominated to the Legislative Council. However, he noted that there was no decision on change of guard at the KPCC at the moment, nor has there been any thought on the issue at any level.

Dalit Chief Minister

“I do not know whether it is political or some other reason, but Dalit leaders from the State Congress do not get an opportunity to become Chief Ministers, Dr. Parameshwara said replying to another query. He mentioned the names of stalwarts in the party such as B. Basavalingappa, B. Rachaiah, Mallikarjunaswamy, K.H. Ranganath and M. Mallikarjun Kharge, who he said, had the abilities to occupy the post. “In my analysis, they are leaders in the true sense, ideologically and with a purpose.”

Most of the people thought that by being the president of the KPCC in 2008, Mr. Kharge would become Chief Minister. In 2013, people thought that he (Dr. Parameshwara) would become the Chief Minister by virtue of being the president of the KPCC, but his claim had weakened as he lost from Koratagere constituency, he said. It was not that a Dalit, by becoming the Chief Minister, could solve all problems of Dalits, but the oppressed classes in society ought to be given an opportunity. It would increase the confidence level of Dalits, he said. All parties should think on these lines, he added.

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