The rough and the suave

The men who will lead the State Cong are fraternal, not identical, twins

Siddaramaiah, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly receiving newly-appointed KPCC president Parameshwara, at his house in Bangalore on Wednesday.  DH PHOTO

Though both are on the same page as far as the party’s future plans are concerned, Leader of the Congress Legislature Party Siddaramaiah is high profile, brusque and at times rustic in his demeanour, Parameshwara is polite, urbane and soft-spoken.

Siddaramaiah’s combative mood was well on display on the day when Chief Minister Yeddyurappa won the vote of confidence in the Assembly. The Congress leader went to the extent of climbing on to a table to criticise the Speaker over the manner in which the House was conducted.

Earlier, he got into a major argument with City Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari. Though Parameshwara was present in the House and joined in the protest, none noticed him.

Siddaramaiah is widely recognised as the leader of his community - Kurubas. But Parameshwara, though a dalit, can’t be considered the leader of the community. He is not known for his oratory.  

Siddaramaiah continues to bear the tag of a ‘migrant’, having joined the Congress three years ago, while Parameshwara has grown up in the party. But the latter has debunked the debate about ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’, promising a united effort to revive the party’s fortunes.

Both Kurubas and dalits are traditional vote base of the Congress, and if these two leaders team up, the party may reap the benefits in the elections.

A day after getting appointed as KPCC chief, Parameshwara tried to send a right message to the party cadre by visiting the houses of Siddaramaiah, the outgoing KPCC President R V Deshpande, D K Shivakumar and Mallikarjun Kharge among others. He also visited the Siddaganga Mutt in his home town Tumkur and Adichunchungiri Mutt in Bangalore. His bungalow in Sadashivanagar in the City was a beehive of activity, with party workers and his followers pouring in to greet him.

Interacting with mediapersons, Parameshwara reiterated that the Congress is as strong as it was though it has suffered defeat in some elections. He said he would travel extensively to interact with the party workers and instill confidence in them. The exercise would help in retaining the MLAs, he added.

Asked whether his ‘compromising nature’ would cause him to be considered as a ‘rubber stamp’, the wellknown educationist said compromise was part of politics. “If an MLA wants to quit, leaders would have to convince him the advantages of staying back. So, compromise is essential.”  

He said the high command will soon be appointing office-bearers in preparation for the elections to taluk and zilla panchayats. Terming the BJP government as “highly corrupt,” Parameshwara said the BJP has projected politicians as “liars and cheats”. The Congress will expose the misdeeds of the ruling party, he promised.

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