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KS Eshwarappa: How he rose from humble beginnings to become Deputy CM of Karnataka

By Vikas

KS Eshwarappa is a prominent BJP leader from Karnataka who is currently the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council. Last year, there were reports of a rift between Eshwarappa and Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa, who is widely seen as the BJP chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming assembly elections.

File photo of KS Eshwarappa

Eshwarappa had voiced reservations over Yeddyurappa "making announcements" about preparing the list of candidates for the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections, hinting at not only differences over selections but also a widening rift between the two.

Eshwarappa, born on 10 July 1948, was the Deputy Chief Minister in the BJP government headed by Jagadish Shettar from 2012 to 2013. He was born in Bellary. His father Sharanappa moved to Shimoga in the early 1950s. His parents worked in the Bhoopalam Areca Mandi as daily wage workers. When young Eshwarappa also tried to go to work with his parents, his mother opposed the move and urged him to concentrate on his education and earn a good name in society. This inspiration that he got in his childhood, eventually led him to become a social worker.

During Emergency (1975-77), he was arrested and detained in the Bellary Jail. After the removal of emergency, he became very active in politics. In 1989, he contested the Karnataka assembly elections as a BJP candidate from Shimoga and defeated a heavyweight, the then health Minister K. H. Srinivas by a margin of 1,304 votes. He became popular with this victory and went on to win four more times from this constituency, losing only once in 1999. In 1992, he became the President of the State unit of BJP and was instrumental in his party's good performance in the 1994 state assembly elections. In 2000, he was appointed as the Chairman of the Central Silk Board when the NDA government was in power.

In the BJP-JDS coalition Government headed by H. D. Kumaraswamy, he was Minister for Water Resources. Following the historic victory of the BJP in the Karnataka state elections in 2008, he became the minister for Power in the B.S. Yeddyurappa government.

In January 2010, he resigned as minister and was unanimously elected as the President of the Karnataka state unit of the ruling BJP. This move was seen as BJP's strategy to tackle opposition leader in the assembly Siddaramaiah, who also belongs to the same community.

In July 2012, following the resignation of D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Jagadish Shettar was appointed the Chief Minister and Eshwarappa became Deputy Chief Minister. He was also entrusted with the Revenue and Rural development portfolios. He then stepped down as the State BJP president and was succeeded by Prahlad Joshi.

In the 2013 Assembly elections, Eshwarappa contested again from the Shimoga assembly constituency and lost to K. B. Prasanna Kumar of the Congress by a margin of nearly 6,000 votes.

However, he was nominated by his party to the Karnataka Legislative Council in 2014 and became the Leader of the Opposition in the council.

Karnataka Assembly Election dates
Date of notification April 17
Last date to file nominations April 24
Last date to withdraw nominations April 27
Date of polling May 12
Date of counting May 15

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