After his mentor BS Yeddyurappa, Jagadish Shivappa Shettar, is probably the most prominent leader of the Karnataka’s dominant Lingayat community.
But his shot at the state’s top job comes later than expected.
As a Lingayat leader, he was a competitor for Yedyurappa, who did his best to put brakes on Shettar’s career.When Yedyurappa became the CM, he had made Shettar the speaker. And 11 months ago, Yeddyurappa had ditched Shettar in favour of Vokkaliga leader Sadananda Gowda.
Shettar had likening the situation to a semi-final cricket match and stating he had age on his side.
The stand was prescient, for Shettar had cut his teeth on politics. His ties with the saffron brigade go a generation back.
His father SS Shettar was the first Jan Sangh mayor of Hubli and Dharwad. Elected from Hubli, his uncle Sadashiv Shettar was the first Jan Sangh legislator in south India.
Born on December 27, 1955, in Kerur village in Bagalkot district, Shettar practiced law at the Hubli Bar for 20 years. But his political stint began much earlier, with the BJP students’ wing ABVP and the RSS.
In 1994, he was elected to the legislative assembly from the family’s pocket borough Hubli and held the constituency for four successive terms..
In 2005, he was appointed BJP state chief. He was the revenue minister in the BJP-JDS coalition government headed by HD Kumaraswamy in 2006.
“Shettar listens to everyone and never hurts people,” said BJP leader Mallikarjun Sahukar. He is often called the Vajpayee of Hubli.
The man would need every bit of those diplomatic skills, with the BJP needing to put its house in order before the state goes to polls in May.
The Vajpayee of Hubli indeed has his task cut out.