He was believed to be the lucky mascot of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state. After leading the state unit of the party to power for the first time south of the Vindhyas, DV Sadananda Gowda, inexplicably, was suddenly marginalised.
A two-time MLA and MP — currently, he represents Udupi-Chikmagalur constituency in the Lok Sabha — Gowda, however, has now emerged as the dark horse who could be the next chief minister of Karnataka.
Ironically, he is neither a sitting MLA nor an office-bearer of the state unit of the party. When he was the state BJP president, Gowda was, in fact, denied an opportunity of helming the Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF), after the party promised him the post. A miffed Gowda later quit as a director of KMF.
It was said that the party had promised to rehabilitate Gowda, then director of KMF, as its managing director after he completed his term as state party chief in January 2010.
However, the stranglehold exercised by the Reddy brothers over the party resulted in one of them, Somashekara Reddy, walking away with the post of KMF MD.
Earlier, Gowda was president of the state BJP for two terms during 2006-10. The party rode to power in Karnataka when he was at the helm of its affairs. Born in 1953 at Mandekoli in Sullia taluk in the Tulu-speaking Kodava Gowda family of Venkappa and Kamala, Gowda holds a bachelors degree in science and a law degree. He married his collegemate, Dotiya. The couple had two sons, one of whom died in a motorcycle accident.
After a failed attempt in 1989, he was elected MLA from Puttur constituency in 1994 and 1999. During his second term, he was the deputy leader of the opposition in the assembly. He later moved to the national politics and was elected from Mangalore to the Lok Sabha in 2004.
In 2009, the party shifted him to Udupi-Chikmagalur constituency to accommodate RSS hardliner Naleen Kumar Kateel in Mangalore. Gowda wrested the constituency from the Congress. The BJP has deputed him to Goa and Kerala and he has lived up to the party’s expectations on these missions.
People who know Gowda closely say that he has never aspired for political power, and has remained content with organising the party and monitoring the party-RSS relations, ensuring harmony there.