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HomePoliticsKarnataka Elections 2018In a fractious hung assembly, meet Karnataka’s ‘revolving’ MLA-elect Shankar

In a fractious hung assembly, meet Karnataka’s ‘revolving’ MLA-elect Shankar

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From participating in BJP meeting to appoint Yeddyurappa as chief minister to protesting against his swearing-in with Congress, the KPJP legislator has switched sides thrice already.

Bengaluru: If ever a legislator exemplifies the topsy-turvy nature of politicking around hung verdicts, it would be R. Shankar of the Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP).

On the day of the Karnataka election results on 15 May, Shankar, one of the only three winners from non-established parties, pledged support to the Congress-JD(S) coalition.

But the very next day, he was found at a meeting with senior BJP leader K.S. Eshwarappa, whom he considers his mentor. He even took part in the BJP meeting to elect B.S. Yeddyurappa as the legislative party leader and was also part of the BJP delegation that met the governor to stake claim to form the government.

A few hours and a few phone calls later, he switched sides once again. By Thursday morning, Shankar was outside the Vidhan Soudha along with Congress legislators protesting against the Governor’s decision to allow the swearing-in of Yeddyurappa.

He is now holed up with Congress MLAs at Eagleton Resort outside Bengaluru, where they have been put up to ensure that they are not poached by the BJP.

Giant killer

Before the spotlight fell on him for his constant U-turns, Shankar caused one of the biggest upsets in these Karnataka elections, defeating outgoing speaker, the Congress’ K.B. Koliwad, by 4,338 votes in Ranibennur constituency. The defeat prompted Koliwad to hit out at former chief minister Siddaramaiah, accusing him of ensuring that he lost.

A real estate developer, Shankar has had his fair share of controversies in this election. He was accused of distributing saris to ensure his win in Ranibennur.

A 17-year career

Shankar entered active politics in 2001 when he was elected as the deputy mayor of the then Bangalore Mahanagar Palike. Although a political novice at that time, he was noted for his sharp political acumen and strategy.

Unable to make headway in Bengaluru, he migrated to Ranibennur to test his political fortunes in 2013. His proximity to K.S. Eshwarappa was behind him landing up in the BJP camp but he was soon convinced to join the Congress by the shrewd strategist and senior party leader D.K. Shivakumar.

As soon as he landed at the Congress office he told the media, “I am not with the BJP, I will only align with the Congress.”

पढ़ें हिंदी में: लड़ाइयों में लटकी विधानसभा में, मिलें कर्नाटक के ‘दलबदलू’ विधायक शंकर से

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