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Karnataka Politics Patriarch Deve Gowda Now Deals With Gen Next of His Contemporaries

Gowda, who was senior to Dinesh Gundurao’s father by 10 years in the assembly, is still considered a formidable force at the age of 86.

D P Satish | News18dp_satish

Updated:August 5, 2018, 8:08 AM IST
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Karnataka Politics Patriarch Deve Gowda Now Deals With Gen Next of His Contemporaries
File photo of HD Deve Gowda.
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Bengaluru: On Saturday evening, newly appointed Karnataka state Congress president Dinesh Gundurao drove from his house in posh Dollars Colony to the residence of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda in south Bengaluru for a courtesy call.

Gundurao was meeting Gowda for the first time since taking charge of the party’s state unit. Since the Congress is backing his son HD Kumaraswamy’s government in the state, not much importance was given to the visit.

gowda-gundarao
Former PM HD Deve Gowda (left) with newly appointed Karnataka state Congress president Dinesh Gundurao.

However, a few political pundits did not miss the historical significance of the meeting.

It was the same Gowda-led Janata Party that had ended the rule of the state Congress chief’s father R Gundurao in Karnataka in 1983 and installed the first non-Congress government in the state. However, he had to sacrifice the chief minister’s chair to “outsider” Ramakrishna Hegde because of political intrigues.

The late R Gundurao entered the assembly in 1972, when Deve Gowda was already a three-time MLA, 10 years his senior in the legislature and more importantly, the leader of opposition.

R Gundurao became a minister in the then Devaraj Urs government when Deve Gowda led the fiercest attack on it between 1972 and 1980.

In 1980, R Gundurao became Karnataka’s youngest chief minister at the age of 40 by toppling the Urs government. Between 1980 and ‘83, Gowda took on the government both in the assembly and outside.

The Gowda-led opposition finally brought an end to the 36-year-long uninterrupted rule of the Congress in Karnataka. When his father first won as an MLA in 1972, Dinesh was just a 3-year-old and when he lost to Gowda, he was 13.

R Gundurao died in 1993 at the age of 53. A year later, Deve Gowda became the chief minister and went on to become the prime minister in 1996.

In his mid-20s, Dinesh Gundurao was the president of the Karnataka Youth Congress and was busy organising protests against the Janata Dal rule when Gowda was at his zenith. He entered the assembly from Gandhinagara in Bengaluru in 1999 and has won from there five times at a stretch.

Gowda, who was senior to Dinesh Gundurao’s father by 10 years in the assembly, is still considered a formidable force at the age of 86.

Junior Gundurao, 48, has been entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring the JDS-Congress government stays afloat by keeping Gowda happy.

For Deve Gowda, who was elected to the assembly and Parliament seven times each, life has come full circle. In Karnataka’s ever-changing political landscape, the only constant is the JD(S) supremo, who is now rubbing shoulders with the children of his contemporaries about 40 years ago.

Gowda, M Karunanidhi, Parkash Singh Badal and Virbhadra Singh are the only four leaders who were lawmakers in 1962 and have continued in that position even today.
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