From healer of patients to leader of people

Born to Vidwan Vedanta Shiromani Katte Srinivas Acharya and Krishnaveni Amma in 1939, Vedavyas Srinivas Acharya, after his initial schooling in Udupi, obtained his MBBS degree from Kasturba Medical College (KMC) in Manipal in 1959. He practiced at his ‘Geetha Clinic’ at Kalmady near Malpe till he became the minister.

Simultaneously, he started his illustrious political career as the youngest municipal president of Udupi at the age of 28 in 1968. He joined the Jan Sangh inspired by the speeches of the then top leader of Jan Sangh Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhya. Since then, he remained loyal to BJP and perhaps Acharya is among very few persons whom almost all top BJP leaders including L K Advani and Atal Behari Vajpayee have very high regards.

Quite interestingly, Udupi is the first town in South India to pave way for Jan Sangh (Udupi Town Muncipal Council) and Acharya became its first president.

People say that Udupi developed quickly during the term of Acharya. Swarna drinking water project was his first successful project and he became the minister in 2006 when the second phase of the project was under implementation stage. The first stage was inaugurated in 1974 by the then Governor and the second stage was inaugurated by B S Yeddyurappa in 2010.

Besides, Acharya was instrumental in banning the system of manual scavenging for the first time in Udupi municipal area in the entire country. He introduced underground drainage system and also abolished manual carrying of night soil. He was elected twice for the local body and remained municipal president for eight years. During his tenure, Udupi Municipality got new building and town planning authority was introduced for planned development during his term.

He served as district president of Bharatiya Jana Sangha from 1974 to 1977. He also served as district president of BJP for 10 years from 1977. He was also BJP state vice president for a brief period in the year 1984. He served as the member of National Executive Committee of BJP party for about 20 years.

The major turning point of Acharya’s political career came when he was imprisoned under MISA for 19 months during emergency period from 1975 to 1977.

In 1983, Acharya was elected to the legislative assembly from Udupi constituency. During 1996 he was elected to legislative council and again in 2002 he was re-elected to legislative council. Udupi district was formed in the year 1997. He was assigned the responsibility of district in charge minister during the coalition government of JD(S) and BJP. He remained so until his death.

He worked for abolition of land fragmentation Act, simplification of taxes and land conversion and also he was instrumental in constructing of five high schools and three primary schools in Udupi district.

He was sworn in Minister for Medical Education and Animal Husbandry in 2006. He was sworn in as Home Minister on 30th May, 2008. He was given additional charges of Endowment Department in the year 2010 and in 2011 he was also given additional charge of Information Technology and Bio Technology. In 2011 he was sworn in as Minister for Higher Education, Statistics, Planning, Endowment Department and Information Technology and Biotechnology.

Senior BJP leader and one among the senior most ministers in Chief Minister D V Sadnanda Gowda’s cabinet, Higher Education Minister V S Acharya, who always wore white shirt and white pant, is survived by his wife Shantha Acharya (a social activist), four sons and a daughter and three grand children.

His sons - Dr Raviraj V Acharya and Dr Kiran V Acharya are practising in KMC while his two other sons - Ganesh Prasad and Rajesh Prasad, both software engineers in the US and the only daughter Bharathi M Hebbar is a housewife.    

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