Karnataka's new higher education minister is Class 8 pass

G T Devegowda

Senior JD(S) leader and ‘giant killer’ G T Devegowda is just an 8th class pass. But he is Karnataka’s new higher education minister.

Interestingly, the paradox is entirely lost on Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, who believes that a minister’s qualification has little to do with his/her administrative responsibilities.

“What have I studied? Haven’t I become the chief minister?” said Kumaraswamy on Saturday, dismissing queries on his decision to allot the said portfolio to Devegowda. Kumaraswamy holds a BSc degree. 

Devegowda, in his election affidavit, has declared that he had cleared class 8.

For somebody who struggles to write or spell anything beyond his name in English, the higher education portfolio is seeming like a colossal task.

Devegowda, is said to be deeply distressed over the portfolio allocation. 

He realises the limitations of his incomplete formal education for the job he’s been assigned, Some of the JD(S) leaders that DH spoke to said that Devegowda himself had shared his predicament with them. They said that Devegowda was hoping for either the PWD or Energy portfolio. “But the party refused to allot either of these portfolios. He was at least hoping that he might get the Transpor portfolio. As he does not have a college education, Devegowda is worried whether he will be able to handle the responsibility,” said a leader.

Interestingly, the party has chosen Devegowda over its party MLC Basavaraj Horatti, who had strongly lobbied for the portfolio. A seven-time MLC, Horatti who represents the teachers' constituency had incidentally served as the education minister during Kumaraswamy’s earlier stint as education minister.

When contacted, Horatti said, “I am not saying that Gowda is not an able leader. But the fact remains that he lacks experience in this sector which is plagued by several complex problems and rampant corruption. My worry is that he will be taken advantage of by officials themselves.”
Gowda’s supporters who held protests in front of his house in Mysuru, have demanded that party leadership to give him a different portfolio.

While Gowda made himself scarce, his son Harish told his father’s supporters that he was confident that
Kumaraswamy would yield to their demand.

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