The mild and soft spoken Gowda, popularly known as ''DVS'' in party circles, is a seasoned politician and is considered as a deft crisis manager.
From humble origins as an ordinary member of the erstwhile Jan Sangh to occupying the hot seat of the chief minister, he has come a long way.
A law graduate, a former public prosecutor-turned- politician, Gowda, 58, who now represents Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha constituency, was the ultimate choice of Yeddyurappa because of his good equations with him.
Born in 1953, Gowda, a science graduate, had a brief stint as an advocate before plunging headlong into politics through Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Jan Sangh.
Gowda, who headed BJP's Karnataka unit in 2006 and was later re-elected in 2007, was the man behind the party's victory in the 2008 assembly elections.
An otherwise low-profile leader, Gowda is a shrewd politician who felt the pulse of the people in his constituency and was all ears to their problems.
A beleaguered B S Yeddyurappa, who had to face the axe and quit chief ministership following a Lokayukta report which indicted him in the illegal mining probe, made a hard bargain to install Gowda as his successor, frustrating other strong contenders like Yeddyurappa's bitter rival H N Ananth Kumar, Jagadish Shettar and state unit president K S Eswarappa.
Gowda's work among party workers in the region paid rich dividends when he was elected MP from Mangalore in 2004. He was subsequently made BJP national secretary and was given charge of managing the party affairs in Goa.
He was elected state Assembly member twice, in 1994 and 1999, and was Deputy Leader of the Opposition in his second tenure as MLA. In 2005, he was appointed one of the directors of the Coffee Board.
When BJP bestowed on him presidentship of Karnataka unit in March 2006, he shot to the limelight, especially after uniting the party, a move that helped him get re-elected as MP in 2009 from Udupi-Chikmagalur constituency.
Married to his college-mate Datty, the couple have a son Karthik. The veteran leader who has a keen interest in Yakshagana and Folk Arts of Dakshina Kannada, is also a sports buff who plays badminton and tennis.