Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara has triggered a political storm with his comments that he was denied the chief minister's post thrice because he belonged to the Dalit community. He reportedly made the comments while addressing a Chalawadi rally in Karnataka's Davanagere on Sunday, February 24. Chalawadis are a scheduled caste community, which primarily resides in north Karnataka.
Parameshwara is the first Dalit deputy CM of the state.
Addressing a gathering of the Chalavadi community in Davangere, Parameshwara pointed out a caste bias while deciding on a chief minister. Parameshwara felt late Congress leader B Basavalingappa, former KPCC presidents K H Ranganath and Mallikarjun Kharge too should have been made CMs.
"Basavalingappa missed the chief ministerial post and so did K H Ranganath. My elder brother Mallikarjuna Kharge also could not become the CM. I missed it thrice. Somehow after many dilemmas, they made me the deputy CM," Parameshwara was quoted as saying by a news agency.
"The Dalit leaders were not given a chance to be chief minister. Dalits are being discriminated at the government level too. Even though a reservation is facilitated, there has been injustice in promotions," he alleged. He also said seven government officials, who were demoted, had committed suicide. "Our government will come out with rules next week to implement reservation in promotions, he added.
G Parameshwara alleged that some people wanted to overpower him politically. Senior Congress leader and former CM Siddaramaiah did not know in what context G Paramaeshwara had made such a comment.
"It's the Congress party which is taking care of Dalits and other neglected sections of society. I don't know in what context he made a statement like that. It's better you ask him," Siddaramaiah said.
The Congress and the JD(S) are part of an alliance in Karnataka with JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy occupying the CM's chair and Parameshwara as his deputy.
"People of this country know that Congress is always pro-Nehru family. It is not in favour of Dalits. Whatever Parameshwara said is a late realisation. Congress is anti-Dalit and anti-OBC. Congress is pseudo-secular," said BJP leader M Nagaraj.
Karnataka BJP chief and former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa said that he will attend an all Dalit's meeting. "Dalits are not happy with the Congress party. They are cheated in Karnataka," Yeddyurappa stated.