N Dharam Singh started his political career as a corporator.
A seasoned political leader with decades of administrative acumen, N Dharam Singh was known for his gentle demeanour and Urdu shairis and considered an 'Ajatashatru' (with no enemy) in Karnataka's political circles.
Having risen from the grassroot levels starting his political career as a corporator, Mr Singh had endeared himself to the voters in his Jewargi constituency to such an extent that he is said to have known his voters personally.
The octogenarian leader's strong bond with his voters can be evaluated from the fact that despite hailing from a microscopic Rajput community, he represented Jewargi constituency seven times.
Born on December 25, 1936 in Nelogi village of Kalburgi district to Narayan Singh and Padmavathi, Mr Singh was 17th chief minister of Karnataka as the head of Congress-JD(S) coalition government from May 2004 to February 2006.
Beginning his political innings by participating in the Goa Liberation Movement in 1958, he became an independent corporator of Gulbarga City Municipal Council in the 1960s.
He then went on to become member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly for seven consecutive terms and earned the title 'solillada saradara' (the invincible).
He has also served as member of 14th Lok Sabha from Bidar constituency, but got defeated in 2014 by BJP's Bhagwanth Khuba in 2014 parliamentary polls.
Mr Singh was minister in D Devaraj Urs, R Gundu Rao, Veerappa Moily and S M Krishna governments, holding key portfolios, including home and public works department, and has also worked as the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president.
He remained the staunch loyalist of the Congress party and even gave up the Kalaburgi Lok Sabha seat in 1980 on the directions of Indira Gandhi to accommodate C M Stephen, who was a Union minister in her cabinet.
Mr Singh who holds MA and LLB degrees from Osmania University, Hyderabad was known for his fluent recitation of Urdu shairis.
As the 2004 assembly polls in Karnataka threw up a hung verdict, the Congress had joined hands with the JD(S) and Mr Singh was unanimously chosen as the face of the alliance and made the chief minister.
Current chief minister Siddaramaiah had served as his deputy.
For 20 months in the office, he had to face turbulence in the coalition owing to misunderstanding with JDS on a host of issues.
The government finally fell following a "coup" staged by a section of JD(S) MLAs under the leadership of H D Kumaraswamy who joined hands with BJP to form the government.
Mr Singh was also a member of Lok Sabha for two terms.
Mr Singh is survived by wife Prabhavati, sons Vijay Singh (Bidar MLC), Ajay singh (Jewargi MLA) and daughter Priyadarshini.
His friendship with leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge was well known in Karnataka's political circles as they both are considered "inseparable twins."