Aiming to douse the Dalit fire over the denial of the chief minister’s post to Congress leader Mallikarjun M Kharge, Karnataka CM-elect Siddaramaiah professed that he is actually in agreement with the views of the protestors.
Siddaramaiah will take oath as the state’s 22nd CM at the Sri Kanteerava Stadium here on Monday.
Calling himself one among the oppressed classes, Siddaramaiah, who has been the face of the ahinda (Kannada for minorities, backward classes and Dalits) movement, said in Mysore on Sunday: “I am also a Dalit. Yes, Kharge should have become CM but the high command chose me. I am obeying the decision of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. I’m committed to the development of Dalits and will ensure their protection. I will run my government on social justice. I request the Dalits to extend their cooperation.”
After calling on the state’s seniormost litterateurs G S Shivarudrappa, U R Ananthamurthy and Chandrashekar Kambar on Saturday, Siddaramaiah made it a point to visit senior Dalit writer and his old friend, Devanuru Mahadeva, in Mysore. While Siddaramaiah was coming out of his house in Kuvempu Nagar, Mahadeva told Siddaramaiah: “I will give you the book ‘Small is Beautiful’. One day. you go outside the city and read it in one sitting when you’re alone. It will give you a new vision of life.” Siddaramaiah nodded his acquiescence.
Siddaramaiah is perhaps feeling the pressure of the political and administrative hot seat, particularly in view of the looming drought. He began the day with prayers to goddess Chamundeswari, despite being an avowed atheist. “I prayed for blessings from the deity, for good showers, grains, prosperity and harmony in the state,” he said.
Siddaramaiah said there will be a major revamp of the system immediately after he takes oath. Explaining his top three priorities, he said: “I will put the administration on track by insisting on people-friendly services. The second is fulfillment of promises made in the manifesto, and the third is to bring back financial discipline and economic reforms.”