ENARADA, Bangalore, May 10, 2013;
“Yes I want to become the Chief Minister.. what is wrong in it.. ? It is for the people to decide..” Siddaramaiah used to get aggressive and declare his ambition without hesitation whenever some ruling BJP members tried to taunt him. At that time BJP was in power and Siddaramaiah was leader of the opposition.
The table has turned now. His dreams came true on Friday when he was elected the leader of the Congress legislature party and the Chief Minister-designate. BJP leaders who tried to taunt him are now forced to sit in the opposition benches.
He narrowly missed the pivotal post in 1996 after the incumbent H.D. Deve Gowda went on to become Prime Minister. He was pipped by J.H. Patel. He missed it again in 2004 when Cogress-JDS coalition government was formed.
Siddaramaiah, who comes from Kuruba community, has been a champion of backward and other backward class communities and their rights. He was born on August 12, 1948 in Siddaramanhondi village in Varuna taluka of Mysore district.
He entered politics in his 30s after studying law and practicing as lawyer and dabbling in teaching for few years. He contested for Mysore Taluka board membership on Bhartiya Lok Dal ticket in 1978.
The big leap came in 1983 when he made his debut in the Assembly. After being elected from Chamundeshwari constituency on a Lok Dal party ticket and later joined the then ruling Janata Party.
He was the first chairman of the Kannada Kavalu Samiti, a watchdog committee to supervise implementation of Kannada as official language. In the mid-term elections two years later, he was re-elected and served as Minister for Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services in the Hegde government.
Siddaramaiah has held various portfolios as minister in the governments of Janata Dal headed by Ramakrishna Hegde, H.D. Deve Gowda and J.H. Patel.
Earning his name as a good finance minister, he presented seven Budgets. Siddaramaiah was once considered a lieutenant of Deve Gowda but parted company in 2006, protesting Gowda promoting his family members in the party.
In 1989, he tasted the defeat at the polls and had to wait till 1994 to become minister again. Sacked from the JDS in 2005, Siddaramaiah joined the Congress with his followers in 2006. In 2008 he became leader of opposition in the state assembly.
He and his wife Parvathi have two children, the elder Rakesh helps the father in his political life while the younger Yatindra is a doctor.