DK Shivakumar takes charge as Karnataka Congress president, ceremony on Zoom
In a massive show of strength, lakhs of Congress workers across 15,000 locations in the state took part in a ‘Pratijna Divas’ (oath-taking ceremony) over Zoom video app. Incumbent Dinesh Gundu Rao formally handed over the party flag to the new president.Updated: Jul 02, 2020 21:08 IST
More than three months after he was declared as president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee and three failed attempts to hold an event for swearing-in ceremony, Vokkaliga strongman DK Shivakumar on Thursday formally took as the state unit president.
In a massive show of strength, lakhs of Congress workers across 15,000 locations in the state took part in a ‘Pratijna Divas’ (oath-taking ceremony) over Zoom video app. Incumbent Dinesh Gundu Rao formally handed over the party flag to the new president.
Addressing party workers as their state president for the first time, Shivakumar said: “Joining together is the beginning, thinking together is progress, working together is success.”
Fifty eight-year-old DKShi (as he is known within the party) has been intensely loyal to Congress. A six-term MLA, Shivakumar has been a minister in four different cabinets in the state.
His first stint as a minister came when he was all of 28 in the S Bangarappa-led government. But it was his tenure as the urban development minister in the SM Krishna government where he emerged as the right-hand man of the then CM that catapulted him into the spotlight. Incidentally, his daughter recently got engaged to Krishna’s grandson though the former CM is now with the ruling BJP. Shivakumar’s brother DK Suresh is an MP from Bangalore rural.
Shivakumar is one of Karnataka’s richest politicians who during the 2018 assembly polls declared a wealth of Rs 840 crore. He has been accused of involvement in illegal mining, and a housing society scam. Last year, the Enforcement Directorate arrested him in a money laundering case and he was jailed in Tihar. The Congress leader has rejected these charges as political vendetta.
What has endeared Shivakumar to the party high command is his troubleshooting skills. Shivakumar, who has never hid his ambition to become the CM, is hoping that helping the Congress come back to power in the 2023 assembly polls would help him realise that dream.
L Manjunath, a political analyst, noted how Shivakumar sustains his momentum over the next three years and builds relations with other aspiring leaders within his own party will determine how far he goes.
“Nobody can deny his political acumen or dynamism. But he has accumulated a number of enemies both within and outside the party over the years. For now though Congress which had become moribund in the state after the fall of the coalition government has become very active taking on the government and this has been primarily due to Shivakumar’s leadership,” said Manjunath.