Siddaramaiah (64), leader of the Opposition in the outgoing Karnataka assembly, is a strong contender for the post of chief minister. Siddaramaiah won the election from Varuna assembly constituency in Mysore district by a margin of 29,641 votes against his nearest competitor Kapu Siddalingaswamy of Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP).
Born on August 12, 1948, Siddaramaiah was deputy chief minister on two occasions earlier as a Janata Dal (Secular) leader. He is a leader of the Kuruba Gowdas community.
Siddaramaiah began his political career in 1978 when he was elected to the Mysore Taluk Board. Contesting on a Bharatiya Lok Dal ticket from Chamundeshwari constituency, he entered the 7th Karnataka Legislative Assembly in 1983 and shot to fame thereafter in the Old Mysore region. Later he joined the ruling Janata Party and became the first president of Kannada Watchdog Committee (Kannada Kavalu Samiti) set up to supervise the implementation of Kannada as official language.
He was elected again in the 1994 State Elections and became the Minister for Finance in the Janata Dal government headed by Deve Gowda. He was made Deputy Chief minister when J H Patel became Chief Minister in 1996 following the elevation of Deve Gowda as Prime Minister. After the split in the Janata Dal, he joined the Janata Dal (Secular) faction of Deve Gowda and became the president of its state unit. However, he lost in the 1999 state elections. In 2004, when the Indian National Congress and JDS formed a coalition government with N Dharam Singh as Chief Minister, he was again appointed as Deputy Chief Minister.
In 2006, after differences with his mentor Deve Gowda, Siddaramaiah joined the Congress. He won the Chamundeshwari bypolls by a slender margin of 257 votes against Shivabasappa who was the joint candidate of the BJP and the JD(S).In the 2008 state Assembly elections, he contested from Varuna Constituency and was re-elected for the fifth time.
Siddaramaiah, however, said the decision on chief ministership was left to the Congress high command and the legislature party. “The people had given the mandate to the Congress as they wanted a stable and clean government and were not in favour of a coalition,” he said.
Other probable candidates:
Other candidates that are in the race to become chief minister are Mallikarjun Kharge, Union minister for labour and employment. He represents Gulbarga constituency in north Karnataka and never lost any election till now. Kharge today indicated that he was ready to be considered for the Chief Minister's post following the electoral victory in the state. ”I don’t want the post because of my caste (dalit). I am not interested because of long-standing service to the party. If they think that I am fit for the post, then it is up to them to take a decision. I will abide by any decision the high command takes,” he said answering questions whether he is in the race for Chief Minister's post.
The main competitor to Siddaramaiah was G Parameshwar, KPCC President. He, however lost the election from Koratagere constituency. Meanwhile, the name of another Union minister Veerappa Moily is also making the rounds.