Discarded as a defeated as captain, former chief minister Siddaramaiah rose like a Phoenix, to prove that he was down but not out.
In May he had faced a double whammy when he failed to sail his party through for the second term during the assembly elections and also lost miserably at his home town constituency. His detractors were quick to write him off, claiming that the Kuruba strongman had lost his charisma to lead the party.
However, the resulting fractured mandate at the assembly election came as a blessing. He soon renewed his contacts with his erstwhile party Janata Dal (S) and stitched a post-poll alliance, and scuttled Bharatiya Janata Party’s chances of wresting power.
This shrewd act endeared him to Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who was also impressed by the way this ‘Mysuru man’ had taken on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign blitz during the run up to assembly elections.
His experience of having worked in both JD (S) and Congress parties helped him in winning the confidence of Delhi leaders and he secured the post of CLP leader and head of the coordination committee (unfortunately this panel has hardly met) to ensure the smooth running of the coalition.
Mr Siddaramaiah played a stellar role in pacifying senior leaders, who were miffed after they were being ignored during the first cabinet expansion, and later in quelling the rebellion by the famous Belagavi brothers over a trivial issue. All this has helped him gain the confidence of Congress party high command.
Prackash, a senior Congress leader from Mysuru the Congress will win more than 15 seats in the coming Lok Sabha elections, if he is made in-charge of the party campaign and ticket distribution.
Over the years, Mr Siddaramaiah has also acquired a pan-India stature and Mr Rahul Gandhi makes it a point to consult him first on issue pertaining to welfare of the SCs and the STs, backward classes and minorities.
He also played an active role in the recently held Lok Sabha bypolls that helped the Congress win the prestigious Ballari seat, considered to be BJP’s stronghold.
Even Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has time and again acknowledged that his government was overcoming threats to its survival, thanks to the political acumen of Mr Siddaramaiah.
The former chief minister is likely to play an important role in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls and the BJP sees him as a major threat.
He is also reportedly nursing an ambition of becoming Chief Minister again if the Congress forms a coalition government at the Centre.
To achieve this, he may even go to the extent of engineering a defections from either BJP or JD (S) to grab the sufficient number of legislators to support his second coming.