Cong Man Friday has a Chequered Career
Though many cases have followed 6-time MLA, he has been the go-to man during crisis
Bengaluru: At a Congress plenary session in 2001 when SM Krishna, then a staunch Sonia Gandhi loyalist, was the chief minister of Karnataka, a VVIP ‘dinning enclosure’ was set up for the Congress president and other top party leaders. The entrance to the Palace Grounds on the city outskirts was swarming with party workers and fans, all hell-bent on catching another glimpse of their national president. Two men — one in his late 30s and the other in mid-40s, both had entered politics through the rough and tumble of student unions — stood guard.Theyensured order by “throwing out” anyone who dared to cross the line. The one in his late 30s was DK Shivakumar, currently Karnataka energy minister and Congress state unit’s campaign committee chairman. The other was BKHariprasad,one of the longest serving general secretaries of the party. S i nc e t he n, Doddalahal l i Kempegowda Shivakumar’s reputation has only grown. As urban development minister in the Krishna government, he was accused of political skulduggery, land grabbing, illegal granite mining and amassing huge wealth. Several cases have followed the six-time MLA — from Sathnur and later Kanakapura — all through his career, the most recent being a land denotification issueontheoutskirtsof Bengaluruin which BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa is a fellow accused. They have ensured that the ‘Tiger of Sathnur’ wouldn’t become PCC chief, though he has been party working president. CM Siddaramaiah initially refused to give him a Cabinet berth due to the lack of a clean image and yielded only after pressure from the high command.
Lately,Siddaramaiahhasreliedon Shivakumar to use his skills to turn elections in Congress’ favour in several crucial bypolls, beginning with the Bellary Rural assembly seat in August 2014. Shivakumar won a pitched battle against BJP, getting hiscandidateelectedagainstBellary MP B Sriramulu, the closest associate of the infamous illegal mining baronGJanardhanReddy.
“I look at local issues and locall e ve l s o c i a l e n g i n e e r i n g , ” Shivakumar once told ET, while explaining his trick of winning “impossible” elections. “I address each problem at its own level. That is how we can win.”
Shivakumar’s skills as well as his strategic prowess have been put to extensive use by Congress. Every time there is a crisis in the party, includingthecurrentonetosafeguard 44 Gujarat MLAs, he is the go-to man. He has never rebelled against either the state leadership or the high command. His ambitions of heading the party or becoming the CM face have been consistently thwarted due to his ‘image’, but Shivakumar has always obliged his leadershipanddeliveredtheresults.
Most recent case against him relates to land denotification on outskirts of Bengaluru in which Yeddy is a fellow accused