Dalit bodies up the ante, want Parameshwara as CM

Dalit bodies up the ante, want Parameshwara as CM

34 organisations form action panel, set March-end deadline

Dalit bodies up the ante, want Parameshwara as CM

The demand for a dalit chief minister grew shriller on Tuesday with a number of dalit organisations coming together to demand that State Congress chief G Parameshwara  be made the chief minister.

As many as 34 dalit organisations, including Dalit Sangharsha Samiti (DSS), Samata Sainika Dala, Madiga Dandora and Dalit Sena, held a meeting at a star hotel in Bengaluru to air their demand.

Consolidation of dalits took place a day after Congress leader Meira Kumar hailed Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in the city.

She had said that the post of chief minister was not vacant and that Siddaramaiah was sensitive to the grievances of dalits. Her open support to the chief minister is seen as a well-planned strategy by the supporters of Siddaramaiah.

Tuesday’s meeting unanimously decided to demand that the Congress leadership replace Siddaramaiah with Parameshwara. They want Parameshwara to be made the chief minister for the next two and a half years and they have set March-end as the deadline for the party to take a concrete step in this regard.

Dalit organisations coming together shunning their differences is seen as a significant development in the State politics. Several dalit leaders, including some in the Siddaramaiah Cabinet, had recently expressed their desire to see a dalit as the chief minister. But it is for the first time a group of dalit organisations have openly backed Parameshwara for the post.

It is speculated in Congress circles that Parameshwara is behind these organisations coming together.

 The presence of one of the close aides of Parameshwara at the meeting only added credence to it. Retired IAS officers K Shivaram and Siddaiah also attended the meeting. Parameshwara’s term as KPCC chief ends in June this year.

These dalit organisations have set up the Dalit Mukhya Mantri Janandolana Action Committee to chalk out plans to mount pressure on the party in this regard.

 “Parameshwara was defeated in the 2013 Assembly elections due to a political conspiracy. He should be made chief minister for the next two and a half years and Siddaramaiah should become the State party chief. It will be the real social justice,” N Murthy of DSS told reporters.

He said Siddaramaiah was a Ahinda (Kannada acronym for minorities, backward classes and dalits) leader, but a dalit leader such as Parameshwara too deserves an opportunity. The Congress will be wiped out in Karnataka if the demand was not fulfilled.

Dalits form 40 per cent of the State’s population and they would reject the Congress in the next elections if Parameshwara was not made the chief minister, Murthy warned.

 KPCC chief to meet Rahul Gandhi

Sources in the State Congress said Parameshwara will meet Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday in Delhi to apprise him about the ongoing membership drive and the political situation in the State. The KPCC chief had sought an appointment with Rahul, the sources said.

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