After losing Karnataka Assembly polls from two seats, Somanna becomes minister, thanks to Amit Shah

It is the first time since Independence that an MP from Tumakuru has been made a union minister.
The former member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and a first-timer in the Parliament, V. Somanna takes oath.
The former member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and a first-timer in the Parliament, V. Somanna takes oath. (Photo | YouTube / DD India)

BENGALURU: Amit Shah loyalist and Veerashaiva-Lingayat leader V Somanna, a first-time Lok Sabha member, has been made a minister in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government.

Somanna, who was a minister in Karnataka, was elected from the Tumakuru Lok Sabha seat as an NDA candidate. He was desperate for this victory, coming in the back of humiliating losses in the 2023 Assembly polls from Varuna and Chamarajanagar -- the two seats he had contested on the orders of the party top leadership.

Though Congress was trying to poach him and make him its Lok Sabha candidate, Shah offered him the Tumakuru LS seat to compensate for the Assembly poll defeat.

He is the only Veerashaiva-Lingayat leader in the Modi ministry. While, Yediyurappa’s son and four-time Shivamogga MP BY Raghavendra, former CMs Basavaraj Bommai and Jagadish Shettar, who too are from the same community, were in the race, they lost out.

Somanna, who is 73 and has roots in Janata Dal and Congress, has wellwishers across parties, including DCM DK Shivakumar as they both hail from Kanakapura taluk of Ramanagara district.

It is the first time since Independence that an MP from Tumakuru has been made a union minister. The only other leader from here who reached Delhi’s top power structure was Jan Sangh leader late S Mallikarjunaiah, who was deputy speaker when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister between 1991 and 1996.

‘It’s message that party won’t let down its people’

Here are excerpts from an interview with Somanna:

How do you feel to be in the Modi government?

I am feeling great to work along with a leader like Modi. I hope to get a good portfolio, considering my service to the party and in the state government.

Did your proximity with Shah help you get the post?

The party has given me this opportunity to complete the task it had assigned me. This is also a message that it will not let down those who faced problems for obeying the party’s instructions.

Have you emerged as a parallel leader to Yediyurappa?

That thought has not crossed my mind at all.

After two losses, you won the Lok Sabha election...

It is the victory of the people and I am indebted to my voters.

Who will you give credit for your victory?

The JDS leadership - HD Deve Gowda and HD Kumaraswamy and the BJP’s national and state leaders, including Yediyurappa.

What is your plan for K’taka?

I will look into them later once taking charge as minister.

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