DEVARAGUNDA Venkappa Sadananda Gowda (DVS), 58 (born on March 18,1953), a vokkaliga and a law-graduate who represents Udupi – Chikmagalur in the Lok Sabha was sworn in as Karnataka’s 27th Chief Minister of Karnataka on August 4. DVS was Karnataka BJP president from 2006 to 2009 and was instrumental in strengthening the party from grass root level and had led the party to power in May 2008. He is only the second person from the coastal Dakshin Kannada district to become CM after M Veerappa Moily, now in the United Cabinet who ruled the state between 1992 to1994.
Few days after assuming office of the Chief Minister, DVS managed to form a 21-member ministry as a first installment on August 8, with a promise of inducting few prominent fresh faces later to his cabinet in the second round of expansion. Soon after the swearing-in-ceremony of new ministers, CM DV Sadanada Gowda addressed a press meet and expressed happiness over inducting almost all the previous ministers. He felt his ministry is set to provide good governance and take new initiatives to serve the people of Karnataka. “I got elephantine strength with these ministers joining the cabinet” he told representatives of media. Barring Reddy brothers, Sreeramulu, CH Vijaya Shankar and Mumtaz Ali Khan who were the ministers in BS Yeddyurappa Government, every other ministers found a place in the DV Sadananda Gowda Government.
DVS hails from a Kodagu Gowda family of Mandekolu village of Sullia taluk. He did his schooling at Kayyur, in Puttur taluk and also in Sullia. He graduated in science from St Philomena’s college, Puttur. He secured his degree in Law from the Udupi Vaikunta Baliga College of Law. He was a public prosecutor and made his political debut at the age of 36. Gowda was elected to the Legislative assembly in 1994 and 1999 from Puttur Constituency. He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 2004 from the Mangalore Constituency and then from Udupi-Chikmagalur in 2009.
For Sada-ananda (Always smiling) Gowda Luck may have favoured him in public life but he has faced many tragedies in his personal life. His eldest son Kaushik was killed in a road accident in May 2003 at Sullia. In the same year, he was critically ill when he was Mangalore MP and recovered miraculously. His other son Karthik, met with an accident in 2008, however, Karthik survived after intensive treatment. A few years ago, thieves broke into Gowda’s Puttur house and decamped with gold and valuables.
The Bharatiya Janata Party legislators elected DVS as their leader on August 3 through a secret voting as there were two aspirants for the CM’s post, one DV Sadananda Gowda, MP backed by Yeddyurappa camp and Jagadish Shetter, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister backed by KS Eshwarappa and Ananth Kumar camp. Following the resignation of first ever BJP Chief Minister in the south BS Yeddyurappa over Mining report submitted by Karnataka Lokayukta which accused him and his cabinet colleagues including Reddy brothers of blatant irregularities, the BJP state unit failed to select another leader unanimously prompting BJP High Command to conduct the election through the secret ballot after learning that compromise formula could not be worked out. Each MLA was asked to write the name of the candidate of their choice on a white paper given to them which had signatures of central leaders to drop it in the box. Observers Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and Karnataka BJP incharge Dharmendra Pradhan took this box to the adjacent room along with both candidates for counting the secret ballots. Little later, BJP announced the victory of DVS. Though number of votes polled by each candidate was not announced officially by the party, sources said that DVS secured 62 votes, while Jagadish Shetter got 56. It is learnt that a few MLAs including a Speaker did not vote thus in a total strength of 121 votes, 118 MLAs exercised their rights.
Soon after winning the elections, Sadananda Gowda said “There is no dissidence in the party. We are united as a family and work together for the welfare of the people of Karnataka. Priority will be given to speed up the popular welfare programs started by the outgoing CM. I will take all the legislatures along and ensure friendly atmosphere within the party”. Jagadish Shetter too agreed that there is no dissidence in the party and all are putting a united efforts to give a good governance in the state. He said “The decision of the High command is final and I will whole heartedly congratulate Sadananda Gowda”. On being asked whether he has put pressure on high command for a Deputy Chief Minister’s post , he replied negative.
According to sources DVS may not immediately resign his membership of the Lok Sabha since Gowda has time upto six months to become a member of either the legislative assembly or council and exploring the option of making him an MLC or making him contesting the by-election from Koppal assembly constituency is being worked out.