Having put up a fierce fight in the race to chief ministership of Karnataka, Congress leader DK Shivakumar finally settled for the Deputy CM’s post, after a reported nudge from UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and strong assurances from the party leadership.

Seen as a key person behind the stupendous win of the Congress with 135 seats, Shivakumar, supported by a team of poll experts, launched a sustained campaign against the “corruption-ridden” Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP government, calling them the ‘40%’ Commission Sarkar, while focusing on the five guarantees of the Congress.

Shivakumar is also someone who mobilized resources and galvanised the party for the 2024 general elections, besides strengthening the Vokkaliga support of the Congress.

Before he is sworn in as deputy chief minister today, let’s go down memory lane and trace his political journey.

The Beginnings

Born on May 15, 1962 in Kanakapura, Karnataka, Shivakumar, popularly known as DKS, belongs to the Vokkaliga community.

Eight-time MLA since 1989, he has been appointed as a minister several times. Also, he has never lost an election since 1989.

In 1985, DKS, a Congress party candidate for the Sathanur constituency in the legislative elections, fought against the formidable leader of the Janata Party, HD Deve Gowda. He lost by a small margin.

In 1987, at the age of 27, Shivakumar was elected as MLA after contesting as an Independent from the Sathanur seat.

In 1989, he was elected as a member of the Bangalore Rural Zilla Panchayat, but soon faced a political conspiracy from within the Congress party and was denied a ticket to contest in the 1989 polls.

Minister at the age of 30

In 1991, at the age of 30, he was appointed as Minister of State for Prisons and Home Guards in the S. Bangarappa Cabinet.

Shivakumar held the Urban Development and Cooperation portfolio in the SM Krishna-led Congress government (1999-2004). In this period, his fortunes, in both politics and business, rose.

In 2004, Shivakumar won the Sathanur seat in the Assembly elections.

In 2013, DKS was re-elected as an MLA from Sathanur and represented the constituency until 2018, during which he was appointed as the Minister of Energy in the Siddaramaiah government. It was during his tenure that the building of India’s largest solar power plant in Pavagada, Tumkur, began.

In the 2018 Assembly poll, Shivakumar was re-elected from Kanakapura and went on to hold the position of Minister of Irrigation and Medical Education.

Shivakumar was instrumental in initiating Rajiv Gandhi Yuva Shakthi Sanghatan and empowering youth to take up rural development and social work.

Congress’ trouble shooter

Shivakumar played a critical role in keeping the party’s MLAs together after the 2018 Assembly poll, resulting in the Congress being able to form a post-poll alliance with the JD(S). At that point of time, the BJP, the single largest party with 104 seats, was unable to form the government then.

The Congress linked Shivakumar’s later arrest to this episode, calling it “vendetta” politics.

Under the scrutiny of probe agencies

One of the richest politicians of Karnataka, Shivakumar’s wealth increased 68 per cent in the last five years, the news agency ANI reported citing his 2023 election affidavit.

Shivakumar pegged his total assets and those of his family members at a combined value of Rs 1,414 crore even as he is under the investigation of multiple agencies for his alleged money laundering, income tax evasion and asset disproportionate cases.

In 2013, the Congress leader’s assets were valued at Rs 251 crore which more than doubled in 2018. In the 2018 affidavit, the combined value of the assets held by his family

According to political experts, his rise and domination in Karnataka politics is the result of hard work, assiduous grassroots management and financial power.

Personal Life

In 1993, Shivakumar was married to Usha and the couple has two daughters, Aishwarya and Aabharana, and a son, Aakash.

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