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Naming Parameshwara Karnataka’s Dy CM Is a Bid to Win Over Dalits

Kumaraswamy had announced, before the polls had commenced, that he would make a Dalit leader the Deputy CM.

Updated
India
3 min read
Dr G Parameshwara, who is to be sworn is as Karnataka’s new Deputy Chief Minister. 
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Dalit Congress leader Dr G Parameshwara took oath as the Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka on Wednesday, 24 May. The Dalit community in Karnataka makes up for over 20 percent of the state’s population. However, they have been grossly under-represented in the government so far.

This is in comparison to the other minority communities, such as the Lingayats and Vokkaligas, which make up 18 percent and 16 percent of the state’s population respectively and enjoy a higher representation, reports The News Minute.

It is in this backdrop that the Congress-JD(S) alliance picked Dr G Parameshwara – who has been president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) for the past eight years – to be the deputy to the newly-sworn in CM HD Kumaraswamy, a Vokkaliga.

Who is G Parameshwara?

Born on 6 August, 1951 in Siddartha Nagar, Tumakuru, Parameshwara studied at the Government Pre-University College in Tumakuru. He went on to get a degree at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru, and then a PhD from Waite Agricultural Research Centre, University of Adelaide in Plant Physiology, The News Minute report says.

His foray into politics came in 1989, when he contested in the State Assembly Elections and won from the Madhugiri constituency. He even served as the Minister of State for Sericulture in Veerappa Moily's cabinet (1993-1994).

The report adds that he won from the Madhugiri constituency in 1999 again and then served as Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Higher Education and Science and Technology (1999-2004) in the cabinet of SM Krishna.

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He won from Madhugiri and Korategere constituencies in 2004 and 2008 and was later appointed as KPCC president on 27 October 2010. 

In 2013, Parameshwara emerged a popular chief ministerial candidate, but was defeated in Koratagere, as a result of which, he lost the post to Siddaramaiah, Firstpost reports.

Why Did the Alliance Appoint Parameshwara as Deputy CM?

Despite making several promises in the past, the Congress has always failed to appoint a Dalit as a Chief Ministerial or Deputy Chief Ministerial candidate.

As reported by The News Minute, under the SM Krishna-led government, Malikarjun Kharge was a Dalit candidate who had poised to become Deputy Chief Minister, but however, that did not work out.

Recognising the glaring under-representation of the Dalits in the state government Kumaraswamy had announced, before the polls had commenced, that he would make a Dalit leader the Deputy Chief Minister.

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Kumaraswamy wasn’t the only candidate to promise this. While Siddaramaiah, ahead of the polls, had promised a Dalit as the Deputy Chief Minister, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had alleged that the Congress’ inability to do so meant that the party was “anti-Dalit”.

Noted political analyst and Pro Vice-chancellor of Jain University, Sandeep Shastri told The News Minute:

We are now talking of a Dalit Deputy CM. The name which comes up is of Parameshwara as the other two prominent Dalit faces— both Mahadevappa and Anjaneya – lost the elections. 

Adding to this, political analyst and a professor at National Institute of Advanced Studies, Narendar Pani told the media channel: “Now with a Vokkaliga CM, it is relatively easier for a Dalit Deputy CM, except that there are alternative demands for a Lingayat CM too.”

(With inputs from The News Minute and Firstpost)

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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