The Dalit face of the Congress in Karnataka and its state unit chief G Parameshwara has finally made it to the deputy chief minister’s post, for which he has been a contender for too long.
The longest-serving state party president since October 2010, Parameshwara has remained a hardcore loyalist of the party ever since his political debut through the Congress.
An educationist born into a well-to-do family, articulate, soft-spoken and suave, Parameshwara had tried his hand in diversified fields before rising to prominence in politics.
Having obtained a PhD in plant physiology from Waite Agriculture Research Centre of the University of Adelaide, he became the administrative officer of the Sri Siddhartha Institute of Technology, a group of institutions his family had built.
He did his BSc and MSc in Agriculture from University of Agriculture Sciences in Bengaluru.
His meeting with Rajiv Gandhi in 1989 changed his fortunes. Parameshwara had gone to meet Gandhi in New Delhi when the latter realised the potential in him and invited him to join politics.
He was then made joint secretary of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee.
Parameshwara always remained unflinching in his loyalty to the Congress, even during the tumultuous phase in the party.
He took the plunge into the electoral politics in 1989 when he defeated his nearest rival from Janata Dal in Madhugiri.
To his credit, he had defeated his nearest rival by a huge margin of 55,802 votes from Madhugiri during the 1999 assembly elections.
His ministerial debut started from 1999 when he served as Minister of State (independent charge) for Higher Education and science and technology in the S M Krishna cabinet.
Three years later, he was elevated to cabinet rank.
In December 2003, he was inducted as minister of information and publicity.
He changed his constituency in 2008 and fought elections from Koratagere in Tumakuru district.
A five-time MLA, Parameshwara had lost the 2013 assembly polls, when he was KPCC president.
He was a contender for the chief minister’s post then and despite losing the elections, was made an MLC and a minister in the Siddaramaiah government.
He had often made no secret of being a contender for the deputy chief minister’s post.
In the recently concluded assembly election, he won from Koratagere again.
Aware of the bumpy roads ahead as the Congress-Janata Dal-Secular coalition takes over the state administration, Parameshwara has said that difficult times are ahead for the coalition, but there was a need to stop the Bharatiya Janata Party from coming to power in the southern state.
He had said he understood the sentiments of many who were averse to a tie-up between the Congress and the JD-S, but the Congress had lent support to Gowda’s party to keep communal forces away from power.