The elevation of 64-year-old Siddaramaiah as the leader of the Congress Legislature Party, prior to him being sworn in Chief Minister of Karnataka, scheduled for Monday, is a dream come true for the veteran politician who had set his eyes on the coveted position over a decade ago.
Regarded as one of the architects of the Congress victory in the Assembly elections held recently, Mr. Siddaramaiah, who has been a member of the Legislative Assembly for six terms, although not continuously, has served in various capacities in successive governments of the Janata Dal, including as Deputy Chief Minister in the J.H. Patel government in 1996, thanks to his then proximity to the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda .
In later years, upset with the manner in which the Janata Dal (Secular) reportedly was reluctant to back him and preferred to enable N. Dharam Singh become Chief Minister of the first Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition government in the State in 2004, Mr. Siddaramaiah crossed over to the Congress along with his followers after serving a brief stint as Deputy Chief Minister. All India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi was present to welcome Mr. Siddaramaiah to the Congress at a largely attended meeting in Bangalore which in itself was indicative of the prime position that he was set to enjoy in the party.
After serving as Minister for Animal Husbandry and thereafter as Transport Minister in the Ramakrishna Hegde government, he had a long stint as Finance Minister in the Patel and the Dharam Singh governments during which time he presented seven budgets to the Legislative Assembly.
After his exit from the JD(S), which he had joined soon after the erstwhile Janata Dal split in 1999, Mr. Siddaramaiah was associated with the AHINDA, a movement championing the cause of the backward classes.
Born at Siddaramanahundi in the Varuna area of Mysore, Mr. Siddaramaiah was initially a practising lawyer before he joined politics and was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1983. He is married and has two sons. Interestingly, Mr. Siddaramaiah announced during the run-up to the recent assembly elections that this would be the last election that he would contest and that he will no longer be in electoral politics.
He will be the 22nd Chief Minister of the State and takes charge at a time when the people of the State are looking forward for a stable and credible government and credited with his ability for statecraft , Mr. Siddaramaiah should be successful in providing a good administration, more so, with the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government serving in the Centre. The installation of a Congress government (a single party rule with adequate strength) is expected to augur well for the people of Karnataka and the Congress too in the run-up to the elections to the Lok Sabha.