Udupi, Jul 15: It is a moment of pride not only for Udupi district but also for the Gowda Saraswat Brahmin community of Karnataka. Padmanabha Balakrishna Acharya from the town, who is popularly known with the name, P B Acharya, has been appointed as the governor of north-eastern state of Nagaland. He also has been given the additional charge of Tripura.
Acharya is a senior leader, having served Rashriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, and BJP. He happens to be the second person from coastal Karnataka to have been picked up for this gubernatorial post after Margaret Alva, and first ever from GSB community.
Acharya was a student belonging to the first batch that studied in M G M College here (1948-50) when Prof Sundar Rao was the college principal, and Prof Ku Shi Haridas Bhat, a lecturer. Acharya recollects that the first batch of the college had to study in the zilla panchayat higher primary school building which now stands opposite municipality building. Acharya used to stay at Kadekoppa near Lord Venkataramana Temple then.
Acharya came into contact with RSS here. He had served as the head of RSS Vidyaranya unit in Kadabettu in the town. Former municipal president, Somashekhar Bhat, happens to be one of the personalities who bloomed under Acharya’s training. Acharya, who was an active worker of RSS, had been kept behind bars for over six months by the government in 1948, after RSS was banned. His brothers, Badarinathacharya and Janardana Acharya, had been jailed after joining Satyagraha protest in Udupi, while another brother, Yashwant Acharya, was jailed in Mumbai for holding similar protest.
Padmanabha Acharya had served as national secretary of BJP when Narendra Modi was functioning as the national general secretary of the party, between 1995 and 2001. During that period, Modi was in charge of five north Indian states, while Padmanabha Acharya was entrusted with north-eastern states.
After completing his degree course here, Acharya went to Mumbai and started business. He had served as a senate member of Mumbai University for 30 years. He also had shown his mettle in the capacity of the national president of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. Acharya, who thereafter emerged as a prominent national level leader of BJP, continued as the member of BJP’s national executive. The mother tongue of Acharya, who presently lives at Juhu Beach in Mumbai, is Konkani. However, he is fluent in Tulu, Kannada, English, Hindi, and some other languages.