Source: 
Author: 
Date: 
03.08.2017
City: 
Bengaluru

Karnataka's energy minister Doddallahalli Kempegowda Shivakumar wears many hats. He is the money bag+ , muscle man, crowd mobilizer and, above all, a dependable troubleshooter for the Congress high command. In short, the go-to man for all things and seasons.

Not surprising, given that the 55-year-old is the second richest minister in the country with assets worth Rs 251 crore, according to a survey by the Association for Democratic Reforms in 2016.

Popularly known as 'DK' in political circles, he has as many enemies as supporters. His detractors are mostly the seniors in the party -the main reason he lost the race for the KPCC president's post and instead was made the Congress campaign committee chief for the 2018 assembly polls. "He is brash, does not respect the seniors and shoves his ideas on all," a party functionary said.

An ambitious, self-made man, Kumar has hauled himself up the rungs of the political ladder. He unabashedly admits to being an aspirant for the chief minister's post while claiming in the same breath that he will bide his time and let his seniors complete their turns at the top spot. For now, his aim is to emerge as the Vokkaliga leader of Congress in Karnataka, filling the shoes of his mentor and former state chief minister and Union external affaris minister S M Krishna, who recently joined BJP .

His biggest political adversaries are former prime minister HD Deve Gowda and his son, state JD(S) president HD Kumaraswamy. The reasons are primarily to do with the fact that both belong to the same politically powerful Vokkaliga community in the old Mysore region. Both jostle for political support and business on the same turf-Bengaluru rural district. Both also have family active in politics. Kumar's brother D K Suresh is MP from Bengaluru rural and his cousin S Ravi is an MLC.

Hailing from a middle-class agriculturist family in Sathanur, 30km from Bengaluru, Kumar's early schooling was in the reputed National Public School which he was asked to leave in Class 8 for failing to meet the academic requirements. In 1985, he unsuccessfully contested against Gowda from Sathanur assembly constituency and in 1989 wrested the seat from him. Kumar and controversies go hand in hand and he readily acknowledges getting into them notwithstanding the post he holds. In 2002, a Congress functionary who was asked to notarise the nomination papers signed by MLAs for the party's Rajya Sabha candidates used them to become the candidate himself. On learning about it, Kumar, then a minister, rushed to Vidhana Soudha and caught the functionary by his collar before the returning officer and asked him to withdraw.

A staunch believer in numerology, his favourite number is six, which he says is ruled by the planet Venus and attracts power. The address of his business premises was 303 while another time, he is said to have bid for a shopping mall coming up in Bengaluru by quoting Rs 600 per sqft when the estimated value was Rs 4,000 per sqft. He bagged the order.

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