D K Shivakumar: Congress’s trusted Vokkaliga strategist-strongman
The fact that Congress high command chose Shivakumar to take care of the 42 Gujarat MLAs is proof that he is valued by the party leadership in Delhi.Updated: Aug 02, 2017, 17:15 IST
Karnataka energy minister D K Shivakumar, whose residences were raided by Income Tax department on Wednesday, has for long been one of the key strategists of the Congress in the state and the party leadership’s most trusted.
The fact that Congress high command chose Shivakumar to take care of the 42 Gujarat MLAs, who have been housed in a resort outside Bengaluru to deter defections to BJP ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections, is proof that he is valued by the party leadership in Delhi, close aides of the minister claimed.
Neither chief minister Siddaramaiah nor state Congress president G Parameshwara were informed about the party’s decision regarding the Gujarat MLAs.
Shivakumar, who hails from the Vokkaliga caste, was a protégé of former chief minister and ex-Union minister S M Krishna, who switched to the BJP earlier this year.
His strategic acumen is held in high regard, and he was even part of the campaign in the Assam assembly elections. The leader had famously engineered the defeat of former prime minister H D Deve Gowda of JD(S) in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
Though not part of the state cabinet initially, he was made a minister after he ensured the victory of the Congress in bypolls held for two seats in 2013.
With interests in mining, real estate and education sectors, Shivakumar has never been far away from controversy.
In 2012, the Lokayukta filed a charge sheet against him for holding acres of land in Bengaluru which was illegally denotified during then-Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa’s tenure.
In February, contents of a diary purportedly belonging to a Congress MLC were leaked. It allegedly showed kickbacks sent to the party’s high command.
The diary allegedly has abbreviations of the names of ministers in the Karnataka government. Shivakumar had been summoned by the I-T department in connection with this case.