A discussion on the biography of the former Prime Minister of India HD Deve Gowda by journalist and author Sugata Srinivasaraju at the Bengaluru Literature Festival, highlighted his deep engagement with democracy.
"Deve Gowda allowed reporters to every part of Kashmir in his tenure as Prime Minister. He also called ambassadors from other countries to work as special observers of an election and file reports for their respective countries," Sugata Srinivasaraju said, contrasting Deve Gowda's decisions with those of current Prime Minister Narendra Modi in relation to Kashmir.
The author was discussing his biography of the Janata Dal (Secular) leader titled 'Furrows in a Field: The Unexplored Life of HD Deve Gowda'. He was in discussion with Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed, senior reporter with Frontline Magazine and Karthik Venkatesh, Senior Editor, Westland Books.
Early on in the conversation, Sugata was asked why Deve Gowda's legacy needed to be preserved. "Even though Deve Gowda has been in politics for 70 years, he held executive power only for seven years in this time. He spent far more time in the Opposition than he was in power and he survived for very long despite that. He is seen through the prism of caste in Karnataka but his contributions are much more beyond that and that is discussed in the book," says Sugata.
In particular, he highlighted Deve Gowda's work in relation with the Krishna basin in Karnataka. He was referring to the irrigation works taken up in the Krishna basin in 1994 when the Janata Dal government led by Deve Gowda came to power in Karnataka "He was the leader who negotiated World Bank loans and revived this project when it was dead in the water before he arrived," explains Sugata.
Deve Gowda became the 12th Prime Minister of India in June 1996 but he relinquished power less than a year later in April 1997 and has since referred to himself as an 'accidental Prime Minister' chosen after CPI(M)'s Jyoti Basu declined the post.