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Karnataka deputy CM G Parameshwara is the man for all seasons

The longest-serving state party president since October 2010, 66-year-old Parameshwara has remained a hardcore loyalist of the party ever since his political debut through the Congress

india Updated: May 23, 2018 23:39 IST
Venkatesha Babu
Venkatesha Babu
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
G Parameshwara,Karnataka,Karnataka Oath ceremony
Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala administers the oath to Congress leader Dr G Parameshwara as Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister during the swearing-in ceremony, in Bengaluru, on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)

In 2013, when the Congress was celebrating a massive victory in Karnataka, the man who steered its campaign as the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president had a bitter-sweet moment. While his party won, in a shock defeat, Dr G Parameshwara lost his Koratagere seat. From being a contender for the chief minister’s post, he was pushed to the sidelines.

Five years later, the suave and soft-spoken Parameshwara had his moment in the sun when he was sworn in as the deputy CM of Karnataka on Wednesday, representing the Congress party in the new coalition government. From being a mere education baron (his family runs a clutch of educational institutions in the state including Siddartha Medical College), Parameshwara has now become the second most powerful man in Karnataka.

What has been a factor in his favour is his unwavering loyalty to the party and its high command. Known for his ability to take everybody along with him, Parameshwara has been the party’s longest serving president in the state. That’s not an easy task in a party which has multiple power centers. Parameshwara, over the years, has emerged as the Congress’s Dalit face in Karnataka along with Mallikarjuna Kharge, the party’s leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha.

He has served as a minister in the cabinets of Veerapa Moily, SM Krishna and Siddaramaiah. He was the home minister in the Siddaramaiah government and shared an uneasy relationship with the CM. The Congress seems to have decided to make him the deputy CM despite the presence of several strong contenders as he shares a smooth working relationship with both Kumaraswamy and Deve Gowda. Both partners will hope that Parameshwara’s affable manner and non-confrontational approach to issues, will ensure the longevity of the coalition arrangement. While not considered to be a mass leader, Parameshwara is respected for his administrative acumen and knowledge he brings to the portfolios he has handled.

Parameshwara holds a doctorate in plant physiology from an Australian university. A believer in Buddha and Buddhist philosophy, he met and married his wife at Gandhi Krishi Vignan Kendra. He has a daughter (born as a son) who now lives in the UK. A well-regarded athlete in his younger days, he had a reputation for being a good runner. Congress will be hoping that he can continue to ensure a good run for the party and coalition government.

First Published: May 23, 2018 19:00 IST