Congress president Sonia Gandhi wants the new Karnataka government to adopt a “balanced approach, fiscal prudence and quick delivery” on governance and address concerns of all sections, particularly Dalits.
When new chief minister Siddaramaiah and PCC chief G Parameshwar met her on ministry formation, she is understood to have taken note of reports of sporadic protests in parts of Karnataka over Parameshwar, who is a dalit, not being made the chief minister of Karnataka.
Gandhi told Parameshwar that the party high command was fully aware of the dalit community’s support to the Congress and that all their issues should be addressed by the new government under Siddaramaiah. She wanted Parameshwar and the other dalit leaders to assuage the community in this regard.
Parameshwar, a senior dalit leader, told HT that the Congress’ next plan was to ensure quality governance and avoid the pitfalls of the previous BJP regime. “Power, irrigation and infrastructure are our priorities. We will not tolerate corruption. The new government’s performance would be very important in this regard.”
Parameshwar, who is credited alongwith Siddaramaiah for the Congress’ success in Karnataka, said he had explained to the party chief about his own defeat though he had worked hard for the party’s success all over the state.
The Congress is looking at bagging at least 20 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party had won 19 seats.
As for Siddaramaiah’s professed brand of social engineering that is loaded in favour of the minorities, other backward classes and dalits, Parameshwar drew attention to the fact that 29 of 44 lingayat candidates had won and 18 of 44 vokkaliga candidates were elected. “We have 47 candidates belonging to two major sections and we will address all concerns,” he said.
Parameshwar said, “The chief minister and the Congress do care for all sections, including dalits. That is the approach of the Congress party. As the chief minister, Siddaramaiah will be caring for all people. He has to deliver. The Congress president is clear on what our approach should be.”
On Siddaramaiah’s announcement of Rs. 4,000 crore worth sops before the ministry has been formed, Parameshwar said, “the CM’s announcement is in tune with the promises made by the Congress. Some leaders thought that it could have come after the new cabinet met. But that is no issue.”
The party high command, which is finalising the list of ministers, will bring balanced and adequate representation to all sections and regions, the Pradesh Congress Committee chief said. At least 22 ministers will take oath on Saturday.
State Congress leaders, including Siddaramaiah, will also meet Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.
On the Gandhi scion’s decision on keeping out tainted MLAs, Siddaramaiah said, “All decisions would be taken as per the guidance of the high command.”