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I couldn't be CM because I'm a Dalit: Parameshwara

Karnataka deputy chief Minister G Parameshwara has raised a political storm with his comments that he was denied the chief minister's chair in the state thrice because he belonged to the Dalit community. Parameshwara, a senior Congress leader, said there were attempts by some people in the Congress to stop the rise of Dalit leaders.

Speaking at a programme in Davangere on Sunday, Parameshwara pointed out a caste bias while deciding on a chief minister. "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 much dilemma they made me the deputy CM," Parameshwara was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

Senior Congress leader and former CM Siddaramaiah denied Parameshwara's allegation and insisted that the Congress has done the most for the Dalit community, ANI reported. 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 Kumaraswamy occupying the CM's chair and Parameshwara his deputy.

The alliance between the Congress and the JD(S) has been an uneasy one. Last month, HD Kumaraswamy had offered to quit at accusing Congress MLAs of 'crossing the line'. He was reacting to a Congress lawmaker saying that they still consider Siddaramaiah as the CM of Karnataka.

Kumaraswamy's father and JD(S) chief Deve Gowda has also spoken out on the differences with the Congress. "It has been six months since Kumaraswamy became Chief Minister. All kinds of things have happened in these 6 months, till now I have not opened my mouth but I can't keep quiet now," Deve Gowda had said.

The BJP has often trained its guns on the Congress-JD(S) government with party chief Amit Shah calling it an "unholy alliance".

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