Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today completed one year in office but chose not to mark the milestone with any celebrations as he awaits the results of the Lok Sabha elections in which he would be hoping for a strong showing by Congress in the state to consolidate his position in the party.
After leading Congress to a spectacular victory in the May Assembly polls last year, Siddaramaiah has managed to steer his government by and large without any major controversies that could pose worries for it. But Siddaramaiah nonetheless chose not to hold any big celebrations on the day with indications that it could be because of the anxiety of drought looming large over the state and the Code of Conduct for the polls still being in force.
A day ahead of completing one year, the Chief Minister had made it clear that there would be no grand celebrations as there was "still a lot to be done", although he did admit that he was satisfied with his government's performance. After dethroning the first-ever BJP government in the south, Siddaramaiah started on a pro-poor note with a scheme to provide rice at Re 1/kg and other welfare schemes for backward classes and minorities.
On the flip-side, he faced flak over the induction of controversial ministers DK Shivakumar and Roshan Baig, who face corruption charges, as the Congress had returned to power upon the promise of a clean administration. Siddaramaiah, quintessentially a Janata Parivar man, has come in for criticism from party insiders for his style of functioning, often described as abrasive and heavy-handed.
The Lok Sabha poll outcome is what the Chief Minister is most eagerly looking forward to as a lot is at stake for him and it could have a bearing on his standing within the party.
Siddaramaiah, who led the Congress offensive in the Lok Sabha polls, is looking at a target of about 20 of the 28 seats as that will act as a counter to any possible attempt within his party to undermine his position.
After the heartbreak of defeat in the last Assembly polls, BJP is hoping for a turnaround in its fortunes with the biggest thrust to its campaign having come from Narendra Modi, whose blitzkrieg generated the atmospherics the party was looking for.
In the 2009 polls, BJP, which had been in power at the time, had won 19 seats. Congress had picked up six seats while the remaining three were bagged by JD(S), led by former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda.
Slamming Siddaramaiah over his performance, BJP has said, "This government has not even taken off. There are no signs of its taking off. Even before it may take off, the government is likely to come to a complete halt due to a technical snag." BJP has also charged that the Chief Minister does not have control over his cabinet colleagues.