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The 'Ajathshatru' of Karnataka
May 28, 2004 17:17 IST
For Narayan Singh Dharam Singh, occupying the post of Karnataka chief minister is a dream come true.
A sober man who has been in politics for four decades, the 68-year-old Singh has earned the sobriquet 'Ajathshatru' (a man without enemies).
Hailing from the microscopic Rajput community in the state, Singh is one of the most senior leaders in north Karnataka and has won from the Jewargi assembly constituency eight times in a row.
He missed the CM's chair by a whisker in 1999, when the Congress chose to install the then Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president S M Krishna.
As KPCC president earlier, Singh played a key role in reviving the fortunes of the Congress, which was then headed at the national level by the late Sitaram Kesri.
In fact, Singh was said to be a favourite of Kesri.
Throughout his career, which began as an independent corporator, Singh has scrupulously avoided getting entangled in controversies.
In the late 1960s, he joined the Congress and remained a staunch loyalist.
He did not follow in the footsteps of his mentor and former CM, the late D Devaraj Urs, when he broke away from the Congress and floated his own outfit, nor when his close friend and another former CM, S Bangarappa, resigned from the party.
After the Congress was voted to power with a comfortable majority in 1999, Singh, unlike his close friend and senior minister Mallikarjun Kharge, did not throw his hat into the ring when the issue of who would be CM came up.
"If everyone elects me unanimously, I will take up the post. I don't want to engage in competition," he had said then.
Without showing any signs of disappointment, Singh joined the Krishna ministry and handled the public works department portfolio.
On earlier occasions as a minister, he deftly managed the portfolios of home, excise, social welfare, urban development and revenue.
Singh was also a Lok Sabha member once from the Gulbarga constituency in 1980.
He gave up the seat to accommodate C M Stephen, the then Union home minister in the Indira Gandhi cabinet, after he lost the election.
Born on December 25, 1936, Singh is a product of the Osmania University in Hyderabad and was an advocate.
He is the second leader from Gulbarga to become CM after the late Veerendra Patil.
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