From the ultimate leader for the backward classes to the ultimate turn coat, S Bangarappa had an interesting stint in Karnataka politics for 30 years.
The 79 year old Sarekoppa Bangarappa who breathed his last in Bangalore at 1240 am today was born on October 26 1933 at Kubatur in Shimoga district, Karnataka.
When he started out his political career some 30 years back, he was considered to be a fighter. At his constituency in Sorab in Shimoga he was probably one of the most known faces and he won elections just on his name and the party never mattered to the voter.
All through his political career he positioned himself as a leader of the backward classes. However over the past 10 years that image of his changed drastically thanks to his frequent party hopping. From being a charismatic leader who enjoyed a daily game of badminton, he became to be known as the biggest turn coat in Karnataka politics. These frequent changes which he made in politics took the sheen off him and people had stopped considering him seriously.
His critics say that he had become self centred and hungry for power at all times. They also say that he jumped into parties which he thought would come to power either at the centre or the state and this gave the impression that he was power hungry even to the extent that his own party workers never took him seriously. It is also said that he is one of the most suited examples of an Indian politician who are more self centred than having routes of ideologies or principles.
Many have also blamed him for breaking his own family for the sake of power and this was evident during the last elections to the Karnataka Assembly. His son Kumar Bangarappa who was part of the S M Krishna government was forced out of the party for a brief stint to join the BJP when his father joined the same party which had termed him as the most corrupt Chief Minister of Karnataka. However Kumar Bangarappa returned to the Congress thus indicating a major split within the family. The rift widened further when he roped in his son, Madhu Bangarappa to fight the assembly election on a Samajwadi Party ticket in the Soraba constituency against his other son Kumar who contested on a Congress ticket. However this rift was always underplayed by Bangarappa and on being asked by the media he always said that this was just a family matter and the press need not worry about it.
Bangarappa started off his career with the Congress only to be made the Chief Minister of Karnataka in the year 1992. He became the CM under dramatic circumstances when serving Chief Minister of the state, Veerendra Patil was unceremoniously dropped by the Congress at the insistence of Rajiv Gandhi who later stated health reasons for this change. However Bangarappa remained Chief Minister of Karnataka only for a period of two years and was replaced by Veerappa Moily.
Bangarappa has never known to be loyal to any party and has the reputation of changing parties more than he would change his clothes. He had first rebelled in the Congress in the year 1983 and formed the Karnataka Kranthi Ranga. However he returned to the Congress and later became a Chief Minister. During his stint as the Chief Minister, he was known more for his scandals, the most popular one being the Classik Computer case. He was however acquitted in that case following which he maintained a low profile. After his stint as the CM, he remained in the Congress for sometime and when Sonia Gandhi took over the party, he rebelled against her. He went on to form the Karnataka Vikas Party and then the Karnataka Congress Party. However he then joined the Bharatiya Janata Party only to walk out a couple of years later and join the Samajwadi Party.
His stint in the Samajwadi Party was an interesting one. He gave up his pet Soraba constituency to battle against Yeddyurappa in Shikaripura. His candidature was backed by all parties in Karnataka who thought he was the best leader to beat Yeddyurappa who was the Chief Ministerial candidate for the BJP. This move even had the BJP worried and in order to counter this move they put in all their resources in the Shikaripura Constituency. However Bangarappa was trounced by Yeddyurappa in that election. He then tried his luck again against Yeddyurappa’s son, B Y Raghavendra in Shimoga parliamentary seat only to lose once again. Following this he joined the Janata Dal (S) and was a member of his party when he breathed his last.
Despite all odds and criticism, Bangarappa has had a very lucrative career. He first became member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in the year 1967. His first stint as minister was in the year 1977 when he took charge as the Home Minister and then the PWD minister. In the year 1980 he was made the Revenue Minister and four years later he was the opposition leader in Karnataka. He then held the post of Agriculture minister in the year 1989 and went on to become Chief Minister in 1990. In the year 1996 he was elected to the Lok Sabha. He was relected in the year 1999 as well and once again in 2003 but this time on a BJP ticket. He contested the Lok Sabha elections once again in the year 2005 but this time on a Samajwadi Party ticket. After this he left the SP and then joined the Congress once again for a brief period before joining the JD(S).