He was the man with the 1000 volt smile and when B S Yeddyurappa made him the chief minister of Karnataka last year that smile only widened. However, this was short lived and the man who mentored him turned out to be the same person who pulled him out of power.
Sadananda Gowda finally became a victim of factional politics in the Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party as a result of which he had to step down, making way for Jagadish Shettar.
Yeddyurappa, who was forced out of his chair following the report on illegal mining by the Lokayukta, chose Sadananda Gowda with a great deal of care. He was fully confident that there would be no revolt whatsoever by his candidate and he would forever remain loyal and indebted to him.
The first few months were fine, but then problems cropped up which led to the falling out between the two. Yeddyurappa's faction accused him of siding with the Janata Dal-Secular in a bid to build up the vote bank of the Vokkaliga community, while Gowda's men accused Yeddyurappa of trying to rule over Gowda so that he could continue to be "a super CM" of the state.
Gowda was under pressure since day one of him assuming charge. He was called a "puppet at the hands of Yeddyurappa" and he tried to do everything to shake that image off.
At first he was loyal to Yeddyurappa but later came the complaints. In private he accused Yeddyurappa of being too interfering and also complained that most of the times he had to go to his mentor's house with the official files and pass them only after clearances were given. Further there were also complaints that Yeddyurappa made him wait for long hours and all this had become too embarrassing for him since he was a CM who had to follow protocol.
Gowda was aware of the clout that Yeddyurappa had within the party. He was saddled with protecting the government and also improving the image of the party which had taken a beating thanks to corruption charges and also rebellion at every given time.
Some in the BJP allege that this was the time that he started cozying up to the JD-S. His intention was to garner the support of the JD-S in case Yeddyurappa tries to pull down the government.
However, the Yeddyurappa faction saw blood and termed Gowda as a traitor. They said that he was trying to build a Vokkaliga lobby with the JD-S in a bid to finish off the Lingayat dominance in BJP.
Since the past five months Gowda has done nothing but face rebellions. He has often been pressured to call for a legislature party meeting. However, he never did so since he was aware that Yeddyurappa's supporters would outnumber him and this would mean that he would have to automatically step down as he does not enjoy the support of the legislators.
Yeddyurappa has made two attempts in the past to pull him down. But the BJP's Delhi leadership has rallied behind him firmly and had put its foot down every time they demanded that Gowda be changed.
However, this time around luck ran out and he had to give way to Jagadish Shettar who is being backed by Yeddyurappa.
For the party's leadership in Delhi the elections in Karnataka next year are something that has been on their mind. They are well aware that Gowda is not their man to pull in the votes and they would need a Shettar or a Yeddyurappa to do so.
Moreover, Yeddyurappa had managed to tell the leadership that they would need a Lingayat leader and there was no point in having a Vokkaliga as their votes would be divided between the Congress and the JD-S.
Hence it is important to capitalise as much as possible on the Lingayat sentiment. It was all these combinations and a mighty show of strength by Yeddyurappa which finally led to the fall of Sadananda Gowda who barely completed a year in office as the CM of Karnataka.
Image: Sadananda Gowda