Cong Man Friday has a Che­quered Ca­reer

Though many cases have fol­lowed 6-time MLA, he has been the go-to man dur­ing cri­sis

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Sowmya.Aji@ times­group.com

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

ARINDAM

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