Acharya was man Friday for two CMs

Acharya was man Friday for two CMs

Dr Vedayas Srinivas Acharya was one minister who did not avoid phone calls from the media though he never had a long conversation as such.

  Shoot him any question, he never hesitated to make his stand clear. 

Be it in the Padmapriya suicide case or attacks on churches or rave party in St Mary’s island, he minced no words while expressing his views.   

Perhaps, he was the only Cabinet minister to keep his cellphone on round-the-clock.

Though he wasn’t the Information Minister, Acharya used to brief the media about the Cabinet meetings since 2008. His ill-health made him skip Cabinet meetings on a couple of occasions in recent times. The positive spirited Acharya always tried to project himself as a healthy person.

In his death, the State Cabinet headed by Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda has lost its senior most member.

A soft-spoken and approachable person, Acharya donned the role of an advisor to both Yeddyurappa and Gowda on administrative matters. He was also a key trouble-shooter for the BJP government. When Yeddyurappa was the chief minister, Acharya used to accompany him to all important public functions.

Being a MBBS doctor, he had no problems speaking English fluently. His four-decade stint in politics also gave him the ability to understand subjects well.

Many a time, Acharya ended up representing Karnataka in meetings convened by the Centre, including the annual Planning Commission meetings. When he was the Home Minister, he used to regularly interact with the governor.

Acharya has had his cabinet colleagues worried for a while now. A diabetic and hypertensive, he had, on one occasion, faltered at the Vidhana Soudha. He, however, gathered himself after a couple of minutes.

Sadananda Gowda, who was on his way out, had rushed back to enquire about Acharya’s health. Despite Minister Suresh Kumar requesting him to rest, Acharya had said he was alright and began the briefing about the Cabinet meeting.

Acharya later told the media that he had stopped taking some medicines and was feeling weak. Even at the recent Legislature session, Acharya looked a bit pale.

He was first elected as MLA from Udupi Assembly constituency in 1983. He was an MLC since 1996.

Acharya had held many portfolios in the Cabinet. He was first sworn-in as the Medical Education and Animal Husbandry Minister in the JD(S)-BJP government in 2006. He became Home Minister in the BJP government in 2008.

He was entrusted with the additional charge of Muzrai and Medical Education in 2010. He was made Minister for Higher Education and Planning and Statistics in 2010, after a Cabinet reshuffle. Subsequently, he was given additional charge of Muzrai, IT and BT.

Despite handling many portfolios, Acharya maintained a clean image and never faced any allegation of corruption.

He, however, had come under criticism following a series of attacks on churches across the State and attack on youth in a Mangalore pub when he was the Home minister. His straightforward nature had also landed him in trouble on many occasions. For instance, he had advocated appointment of an ombudsman for the media, drawing criticism from all quarters.

Loss to BJP

His demise has come at a time when the ruling BJP is making a vain bid to salvage its image. There are just a few ministers in the Cabinet whose image is not dented either because of scams or scandals. Acharya was not vocal when the land scams of Yeddyurappa or the mining report findings became public.

But he stood solidly by the party without identifying with any faction in the party. None in the Cabinet or party questioned his decision, knowing well that he had no personal agenda to promote.