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Can Sadananda Gowda put railways back on track?

May 27, 2014 15:47 IST

Can Sadananda Gowda put railways back on track?

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Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore

When Sadananda Gowda was sworn in as the chief minister of Karnataka, he had famously said, “I have a million dollar smile and with that I should be able to solve a lot of the state's problems”. Today, Gowda, the newly-appointed Union railway minister in the Narendra Modi Cabinet, will need a lot more than a million dollar smile to sort out the mess in the Indian railway.

“I am happy with the challenge ahead. I know there will be a lot of work, but I am sure with the right mindset and the blessings of all my cabinet colleagues - especially my prime minister - I will be able to do carry out my work to the best of my ability,” Gowda said, in an exclusive interview with Rediff.com.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Gowda, however, did not make any comments on his pre-decessor Mallikarjuna Kharge, who also hails from Karnataka.

He pointed out that the job has just been assigned to him and work will commence as soon as possible.

“There is a need to analyse the situation and there is a lot of work to be done in the railways making it safe and comfortable for the millions who commute in it,” he added.

Gowda, during his short stint as the chief minister, had earned a good reputation. He provided a clean administration, but that was good enough to win the BJP their second term in Karnataka.

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Photographs: Courtesy, BJP

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Gowda started his career with the Jan Sangh in 1970. It has been a long journey ever since and after all these years he made an important debut as a Union minister holding a very crucial portfolio.

He was the blue-eyed boy of former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa until the two fell out. Yeddyurappa, who was forced to quit, installed Gowda as CM. However the two fell out which forced Yeddyurappa to stage a coup to replace Gowda with Jagadish Shettar.

Gowda was elected from the Puttur constituency in 1994. He was made the second in command of the opposition in the Karnataka legislative assembly.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Can Sadananda Gowda put railways back on track?

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His first stint in Parliament was in 2004. He again won in 2009, but had to give up his membership as he was appointed the chief minister.

In the 2014 elections he refused to contest from his earlier seat of Udupi-Chickmagalur. He took the Bangalore North constituency and won it comfortably. His clean image and his will to work is what earned him such an important portfolio.

Those close to him say that he will not let anyone down. “Gowda has the will to work and he is extremely honest. The railways will smile with him”, a friend pointed out. 


Photographs: Reuters

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