Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara on Thursday resigned from the post following the Congress leadership’s decision to continue with him as the party’s state unit chief ahead of the 2018 Assembly polls. A day after the Congress announced structural changes keeping in mind the Assembly polls, Parameshwara submitted his resignation to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
Announcing that Siddaramaiah would be the party’s chief ministerial face in the next Assembly polls, the Congress had on Wednesday asked Parameshwara to resign from the cabinet and devote himself to his duties as the party’s state unit chief. “As per the high command’s decision, I am submitting my resignation,” Parameshwara told reporters in Bengaluru before meeting the chief minister. Parameshwara, a Dalit, was sworn-in as home minister on November 2, 2015. He did not get the deputy chief minister’s post he was aspiring for but held the post of the party’s state unit chief.
Thanking Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi for continuing with him as the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief, he said, “It is a challenge.” Terming the other organisational changes as a “measure to strengthen” the party, Parameshwara said, “We will strive together to ensure that the party retains power in Karnataka.” The Congress had yesterday appointed S R Patil as the working president of its Karnataka unit, along with the present working president, Dinesh Gundurao, and state Power Minister D K Shivakumar as the chairman of the campaign committee.
Adopting a “please all” formula by performing a “balancing act” of accommodating all the castes and communities, it had included MP and former Union minister K H Muniyappa as a special invitee to the Congress Working Committee, the top decision-making body of the party. Another tribal leader, Satish Jarkiholi, was appointed as an All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary. Parameshwara said the organisational restructuring was effected by the high-command keeping the election in mind.
“Yes, I would have continued as the home minister, but I would also have to spend more time in preparing the party workers for the election,” he added. Asked about the “caste balance” maintained in the organisational restructuring, he said, “We do not believe in
it, but everyone needs to get a representation. Everyone needs to get an opportunity to work in a team.” The Congress had always maintained an “inclusive approach”, Parameshwara added. He played down the speculation that he was being demoted in the party with Siddaramaiah being its chief ministerial face and working presidents and a campaign committee president also being present saying, “Everyone has been given a responsibility…it is not a promotion or demotion. “…you have to see that I am still continuing as the (state unit) president. The high-command has reposed its confidence in me.”
Stating that he had not received any indication from the high-command regarding not contesting the Assembly polls, Parameshwara said the matter would be discussed in the days to come. To a question on his chief ministerial aspirations, he said, “There is no need for such discussions now, our only aim is to ensure that the party retains power in the state. As regards who will be the chief minister, a decision will be taken by the high-command when the time comes. “We take it as a big challenge. The 2018 election is an important one for us. The entire country is looking at Karnataka, because we are among the few states where the Congress is in power. It is all the more important because we have done well as a government.”
Parameshwara added that long ago, he had voluntarily expressed his intentions to resign from the cabinet if the party wanted him to focus on strengthening the state unit. Asked about the BJP’s talk of an early election, he said, “We are ready for the polls whenever the dates are decided. But, as per my knowledge, the polls will be held only after the current government completes its term.”
Asked about the call within the party for a Dalit chief minister projecting him, Parameshwara said, “I do not know anything about it. Please do not create confusion…. Now, I am continuing as the party’s state unit president and will work 24×7. It is irrelevant at this moment.”