Bengaluru, (DHNS): With barely five months left for the Assembly elections, Siddaramaiah is all set to create a record of being the first chief minister in the last four decades to complete the full five-year term.
The last chief minister who was in the office for the entire five years was the late D Devaraj Urs (1972-77), who too was a backward classes leader like Siddaramaiah. Incidentally, both belong to the Mysuru district. Since 1978, no chief minister has been able to complete the term, mainly on account of infighting within the ruling party or charges of irregularities. Since 1978, Karnataka has seen 19 governments and had President's rule imposed four times.
In fact, the trend of a chief minister not completing the full term started with Urs himself, who became the chief minister for the second time in 1978. He was ousted from his post in just two years in 1980 due to dissident activities in the ruling Congress party. Though S M Krishna had provided a stable government â€“ 1999 and 2004, he did not complete the full term as he decided to go to polls five months in advance.
In the past four years and seven months as the chief minister, Siddaramaiah has proved himself an astute politician: He has not only managed to successfully wriggle out of difficult situations, but also consolidated his position in the party by carefully playing his cards. Though a section of the leaders, especially those who claim to have remained loyal to the party, have been upset with Siddaramaiah for sidelining them, the 'new convert to the Congress' has not allowed them to gang up against him and stage a coup.
Siddaramaiah either carefully got rid of his adversaries or ingratiated himself with them. His adversaries such as former ministers V Srinivas Prasad and A H Vishwanath quit the Congress, while party veterans such as B Janardhana Poojary and C K Jaffer Sharief who used to openly criticise his style of functioning were silenced. He managed to keep Dalit leader and Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikharjun Kharge in good humour by inducting his son Priyank Kharge into the Cabinet.
So much so that, Siddaramaiah is now eying a second term as the chief minister. He has, on many occasions, claimed that he will continue in the post if the party comes back to power in the 2018 Assembly polls. The Congress high command, which is making all-out efforts to retain power in Karnataka, too, has declared that Siddaramaiah will lead the party campaign in the Assembly elections.
Interestingly, Siddaramaiah has also broken two jinxes: First, visiting Chamarajanagar town and second, using 'Kaveri' as his official residence in Bengaluru. Chief ministers over the past many years had been avoiding both of them, fearing that they would lose their post. Siddaramaiah not only visited Chamarajanagar town many times, but he continues to stay in 'Kaveri.'
Political analyst Harish Ramaswamy said stability is the prerequisite for providing good governance. Siddaramaiah has managed to provide it despite many challenges. "He has proved that he is a seasoned politician. Moreover, he took advantage of the lack of clarity in the Congress high command and emerged as a strong leader," he added.
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