H.D. Deve Gowda
Mr. H.D. Deve Gowda, a farmer's son, was thePrime Minister of Indiafor ten months from June 1, 1996 to April 11, 1997 leading the United Front Government, a coalition of fourteen parties committed to secular democratic principles. During his tenure, he championed the cause of the have-nots, farmers, landless labourers and slum-dwellers and initiated a series of measures aimed at improving their lot and providing basic miflimum services to all sections of the society in the farthest corners of the country.
He initiated a new set of economic reforms leading to the country's economic revival, culminating with the epoch-making budget of 1997-98. His initiatives in resolving the problems in the North - East and Jammu & Kashmir also resulted in significant improvement of the situation and an elected government was established in J&K after eight years. On the external affairs front, he peacefully resolved the long ~ending water-sharing agreement with Bangladesh and the Mahakali Treaty with Nepal, as also resumed talks with Pakistan. He established excellent rapport with world-leaders during his several interactions with them.
On the whole, he successfully held together a loosely held coalition of like-minded parties and the country saw an upswing in its fortune on all fronts. Shri H.D. Deve Gowda, a staunch crusade of socio¬economic development and an ardent admirer of the rich cultural heritage of the state, was born on May 18th, 1933 in Haradanahalli of Holenarasipura Taluk, Hassan District of Karanataka State in Southern India.
Shri H.D. Deve Gowda's parents, Shri Dodde Gowda and Smt. Devamma are from middle class agricultural background. Shri Deve Gowda was exposed to the hardships of farmers' life and it moulded him to become a fighter who would fight for the cause of poor farmer, underprivileged and oppressed.
After becoming a Civil Engineer, Shri Deve Gowda plunged into active politics. He was a member of Congress Party from 1953-1962, and resigned from the Membership of the Congress in 1962. Starting from the lower strata of the democratic setup, Shri Gowda has ascended the rungs of success gradually. He earned himself a niche in the minds of people while serving as the President of Anjaneya Cooperative Society of Holenarasipur and later as a Member of Taluk Development Board, Holenarasipura.
He always hoped to set right the inequalities prevailing in the society and dreamt of an Utopian State. Even though he was very young (he was 29 then) when he first became a Member of Legislative Assembly in 1962, his effective debates on the floor of the Assembly, was acclaimed by his senior colleagues and other politicians. Holenarasipur constituency sent him the Karnataka Legislative Assembly for six consecutive terms i.e., 1962-67, 1967-72, 1972-78,1978-83, 1983-85 and 1985-89. His services, as the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly from March, 1972 to March, 1976 and November 1976 to December 1977 have won him many laurels.
Shri Deve Gowda resigned from his Membership to the Sixth Assembly on 22.11.1982. He was a Member of Seventh and Eighth Assembly and served as the Minister of Public Works and Irrigation in Karnataka. His tenure as Irrigation Minister saw the switching on of many Irrigation projects. He resigned from the Cabinet in 1987 when he was the Irrigation Minister protesting against insufficient allocation of funds in the budget for Irrigation.
It was no wonder that this crusader of freedom and equality - earned the wrath of powers that were at the Centre and he was promptly imprisoned during the days of emergency. Shri Deve Gowda utilised this period of forced rest to enrich his knowledge through exhaustive reading. This and the interaction between him and other stalwarts of Indian politics, who were also jailed during that period, helped him to mould his personality and perspective. He was a much more seasoned and a determined person when he emerged out of his confinement.
Shri Deve Gowda had entered the Parliament through Hassan Constituency of Karnataka State and was instrumental in bringing the woes of the State to the forefront, specially of farmers and aptly became a respected Parliamentarian. He is known for practicing and upholding the Praliamentary prestige and dignity in his conduct both inside and outside the House.
Shri Deve Gowda, was twice the President of Janata Party. He became the President of Janata Dal in 1994, and was the driving force in bringing the Janata Dal to power in the State. He contested as a candidate from Ramanagar constituency and won with a thumping majority. He was elected as the Leader of the Legislative Party and on December, 1994 assumed offices as the 14th Chief Minister of Karnataka and resigned on 1st June 1996 on becoming the Prime Minister of India.
He took over as Prime Minister of India on 1st June 1996 and continued until 11th April 1997. He was the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the United Front, the policy making apex body of all the partners of the ruling front.