Shivakumar, the Congress warlord of K’taka set to play DyCM

Bengaluru: Karnataka Congress President D.K. Shivakumar is set to take oath as the Deputy Chief Minister on May 20 here after the party high command chose Siddaramaiah over him for the state’s top post.

A prominent Vokkaliga leader in the party, Shivakumar is known for unparalleled organisational skills. He is known as the tough taskmaster and a go-getter for the party.

Popular as a warlord for the Congress, Shivakumar was born on May 15, 1962 in Dodda Alahalli of Kanakapura taluk as the first son of Kempe Gowda and Gowramma couple. His father was a landlord and a local leader.He joined NSUI at the age of 18 years and became the president of Bengaluru district Congress from 1981 to 1983.

While studying in Bengaluru RC College, he became the party’s State General Secretary. He gained popularity by organising free medical and blood donation camps in rural areas.

In 1985, when Congress was in search of a formidable candidate against former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda in Sathanur Assembly seat, the party zeroed in on him.

Though Gowda won, it was not a cakewalk for him.

In 1989, Shivakumar was fielded in Sathanur and he ended the monopoly of Janata Dal to emerge a winner. In 1991, when late CM Veerendra Patil took ill, he played an important role in getting late S. Bangarappa, as the CM and in turn was made minister of prisons.

He was denied a ticket and he contested as a rebel candidate to emerge as a winner in 1994,

In 2004, JD(S)-Congress coalition government took shape and Deve Gowda ensured that Shivakumar was kept away from the cabinet.

In 1999, when S.M. Krishna was appointed as the President of Karnataka Congress, Shivakumar stood behind him like a rock and the party won 139 seats. He defeated former CM H.D. Kumaraswamy from Sathanur seat when his father Deve Gowda was the PM.

In the 2006 Lok Sabha elections, Shivakumar fielded Tejaswini Gowda, a journalist, against Deve Gowda and ensured his defeat. When the Vilas Rao Deshmukh coalition government in Maharashtra faced the threat of collapse, Shivakumar hosted Congress MLAs in Bengaluru for 10 to 12 days and saved the government.

He managed to create his own identity in the Vokkaliga community against former PM Deve Gowda. He shot to prominence during the tenure of S.M. Krishna by emerging as one of the prominent Vokkaliga community leaders.

Shivakumar grew to be a mass leader and one among the richest politicians of the country. His Kanakapura constituency is considered as a fortress and he is also known for crushing any opposition against him.

According to an affidavit submitted to the EC, he has 19 criminal and other cases against him. He was arrested and jailed in a disproportionate assets and money laundering case. Shivakumar stood loyal to Sonia Gandhi in extraordinary circumstances.

Built the Congress party from scratch from 2019, when the party faced existential crisis. His brother D.K. Suresh was the only MP to be elected to Lok Sabha from Congress in 2019 parliamentary elections in Karnataka.

He also hosted Congress MLAs from Gujarat in Bengaluru, helping late Ahmad Patel to win Rajya Sabha elections when Amit Shah was making an all out effort to defeat him.

Shivakumar stood as the backbone for the Congress party. Though BJP emerged as a single largest party in 2018, he ensured formation of JD(S)-Congress coalition government. Rahul Gandhi recognized his efforts and stated that his contributions to Congress are unmatchable.

Shivakumar got elected as a MLA from Sathanur seat (non-existent now) in 1994, 1999 and 2004. He won the Kanakapura seat from 2008, 2013, 2018 and 2023. He is working as the President of Karnataka Congress Unit from July 2, 2020.

He was minister for Major Irrigation and Medical Education from 2018 to 2019, AMinister for Energy from 2014 to 2018, Minister for Urban Development from 1994 to 1999 and Minister for Prisons and Home Guards from 1990 to 1992.

Shivakumar is the founding president of the National Education Foundation and runs engineering, management and nursing colleges. He is also running two world-class primary schools.


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