Bengaluru: Call it irony or lady luck smiling a tad late, but KPCC president Dr G Parameshwar will get the post he strove for over the last five years: Deputy Chief Minister.
Dr Parameshwar, set to take oath along with his JD (S) counterpart and Chief Minister-elect H D Kumaraswamy, was chosen by the party over other contenders for the post at the end of a joint meeting of leaders of both parties on Tuesday. Mr Kumaraswamy too pleaded successfully with Congress leaders to restrict the number of deputy chief ministers to one. And with Dr Parameshwar chosen for the deputy chief minister's, one of JD (S) pre-poll promises would be fulfilled on Day-One of the new government.
The KPCC chief who holds a record of leading the state unit of Congress for almost eight years, had served as home minister between 2015 and 2017, but had set his sights on the post of DCM and lobbied through several leaders including former external affairs minister S M Krishna. He, however, could not make it during the five-year reign of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah as Mrs Sonia Gandhi was against the creation of two power centres and even told Mr Krishna about it in as many words. Besides, Mrs Gandhi told Mr Krishna that Dr Parameshwar had lost the Assembly election from Koratagere constituency in 2013, and therefore it would be inappropriate to elect him the deputy chief minister, according to sources in Congress.
Differences between him and Mr Siddaramaiah on several issues meant he would not make it as DCM. On a couple of occasions, central leaders of Congress stepped in to counsel these leaders not to air their differences in public. Mr Siddaramaiah, who repeatedly chanted that he would return for a second term, changed tack a day after polling, adopting a new stand that he would back the candidature of a Dalit for Chief Minister's post but did not name any leader.
In the past, Dr Parameshwar's supporters had espoused the cause of their leader, demanding that he be given the opportunity to head the government much to the chagrin of Mr Siddaramaiah, who was attempting to block the KPCC's chief's induction by proposing his acolytes MB.Patil and S.R. Patil's names. Dr Parameshwar had served as minister of state for sericulture in the government headed by Chief Minister M Veerappa Moily in 1990s, and held higher education and medical education portfolios during Mr Krishna's tenure.
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