Bangalore, May 4: The rise of Hartal Halappa from a supplier in a bar at Yeshwantpur in Bangalore to a minister in the BS Yeddyurappa cabinet has come under public scrutiny following the alleged rape case against him.
However, details that are trickling out about the life of Venkatesh Murthy, whose wife Chandravathi accused Halappa of sexual assault, is equally colourful and curious.
Halappa, a BCom graduate, tried his hand in paddy and ginger business in the early 1990s. His dream of becoming a lawyer remained just that as he could not pass the LLB course. But all was not lost as he moved to Bangalore to make it big.
It was a hard beginning as a supplier in a small bar in Yeshwantpur and his close association with S Bangarappa soon changed his fortunes.
Hailing from Bangarappa’s Idiga community, Halappa ventured into liquor trade when the Sorab strongman became the chief minister.
He became an active leader of the Samajwadi Party when Bangarappa joined it. He followed Bangarappa into the BJP when the former joined the saffron party in 2004.
Halappa was fielded as the BJP candidate from Hosanagar and he emerged victorious. His move to abandon Bangarappa when the former chief minister quit the BJP, came as a surprise to political observers.
But Halappa’s move was a master-stroke and the saffron party chose him as its pointsman to take on Bangarappa in Shimoga district.
He defeated Bangarappa’s sons, Madhu and Kumar, in 2008 in Sorab, till then regarded as the family’s bailiwick, and was rewarded with a berth in BS Yeddyurappa’s cabinet.
According to sources, it was not the first time that Halappa was in news for all the wrong reasons. He was once reportedly assaulted in a hotel in Shimoga for his liaisons with a woman. At least one more of his alleged affair with a taluk panchayat member was hushed up.