At a recent public meeting in a northern Karnataka town, Siddaramaiah noted with pride that he was going to be the state’s first chief minister in about 40 years to complete full five years in office. Why the distinction is a bit of a Karnataka oddity.
Perhaps you couldn’t begrudge him some indulgence, one might argue, considering that Siddaramaiah’s first couple of years in office did appear shaky with the rumbling among Congressmen about an ‘outsider’ at the wheel. At the moment, however, he’s the face of the party as it girds up for a state election, one that has become all the more crucial after the defeat in Gujarat last week. Barring Punjab, Karnataka is the only other large state the Congress controls. But it’s also the only southern state where the BJP has tasted power. The gloves are off now.