HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Siddaramaiah faces an uphill task in Karnataka

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Bengaluru, May 11, 2013
First Published: 00:33 IST(11/5/2013) | Last Updated: 15:48 IST(11/5/2013)

Karnataka’s chief minister elect Siddaramaiah  appears to have his task cut out. The massive mandate for the Congress reflects the people’s aspirations, but revitalising a moribund administration and providing a corruption-free government are not the only challenges he faces.

As an “outsider”, Siddaramaiah‘s biggest problem would be carrying along the various factions in a party riddled with caste equations and groupism.

Currently, there are only 34 cabinet berths, but cabinet expansion will not be easy. And with more than 50 senior legislators, ensuring all-round satisfaction would involve a tough balancing act.

There are also the Lok Sabha elections to be considered – where he would have to ensure a big win for the party.

What works against Siddaramaiah is also that with just five years in the Congress, he is a relative newcomer.

Heavyweights like SM Krishna, Mallikarjuna Kharge, M Veerappa Moily and Kagodu Timmappa have been around for the last four decades.

Under the circumstances, taking into confidence the legislators from north Karnataka would not be easy.

That the government machinery is not “working properly” is a further worry.

“It would be a priority to bring back on track,” Siddaramaiah said. The economy of the state has suffered during the BJP government. Investors have moved out and policies need to be reworked to being them back, he added.

As of now, the only thing in Siddaramaiah‘s favour is the hotline to party chief Sonia Gandhi’s political s ecretary Ahmed Patel and defence minister AK Antony.

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