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Haradanahalli Doddegowda Deve Gowda
Haradanahalli Doddegowda Deve Gowda

Haradanahalli Doddegowda Deve Gowda (born 18 May 1933) was the 14th Prime Minister of the Republic of India (1996–1997) and the 14th chief minister of the state of Karnataka (1994–1996).

Born into a farming family, he won his first seat in the Karnataka state assembly in 1962, rising to become Karnataka's chief minister. In the late 1970s Deve Gowda rose in the Janata Party and was an important figure in reuniting its successor, the Janata Dal party, after the original group splintered in 1980. Deve Gowda was instrumental in attracting to the party divergent castes. When the Congress party was defeated in the 1996 general elections and Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao resigned, Deve Gowda became prime minister of the United Front coalition government after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failed to form a government.

Deve Gowda was born in 1933 in Haradanahalli village of Holenarasipura taluk, Hassan District in Karnataka.

A Civil Engineering diploma holder, he plunged into politics at an early age when he joined the Indian National Congress Party in 1953 and remained a member till 1962. He was the President of Anjaneya Co-operative Society and later as a member of Taluk Development Board, Holenarasipura.

Jaswant Singh is also the most influential person in the BJP not from a RSS background.

In 1962, Deve Gowda contested from Holenarasipur constituency as an independent candidate for Karnataka Legislative Assembly elections and became a MLA. Later he was elected from the same constituency for three more consecutive terms: the fourth (1967-71), the fifth (1972-77), and the sixth (1978-83) Assemblies.

Later he resigned his membership of the sixth Assembly on 22 November 1982. As a member of the seventh and the eighth Assemblies, he served as the Minister of Public Works and Irrigation. He resigned from the Cabinet in 1987 in protest against insufficient allocation of funds for irrigation.

He became the President of Janata Party twice at state level and president of the state Janata Dal in 1994. He was elected the leader of the Janata Dal Legislative Party and on 11 December 1994 he assumed office as the 14th Chief Minister of Karnataka. He then contested as a candidate from Ramanagar constituency and won by a thumping majority.

His leadership of the Third Front (a group of regional parties and Non-Congress and Non-BJP combine) led to his Prime Minister's job. Deve Gowda resigned as the Chief Minister of Karnataka on 30 May 1996 to be sworn in as the 11th Prime Minister of India.

He is the president of the Janata Dal (Secular) (JD-S) political party in India and currently a member of Parliament (MP) representing his home town Hassan district in Karnataka. The JD-S had formed a coalition with the Congress party government led by Dharam Singh. There are allegations of nepotism owing to his two children H.D. Revanna and H.D. Kumaraswamy being powerful in this government. Revanna had served as a minister in that government.

In January 2006, H.D. Kumaraswamy, son of Deve Gowda took support of around 40 JD(S) MLAs and the BJP to bring down the Dharam Singh led coalition government. This prompted Devegowda to resign from his post as party president owing moral responsibilities for failing to save the Dharam Singh government.

However, in February 2006, he withdrew his resignation and suspended 40 JD(S) MLAs of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, including his son and Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, from the primary membership of the party. It was speculated that the entire political fiasco was orchestrated by Deve Gowda to elevate his son to the political summit. Recently, Mr. Gowda has openly supported his son's move to align with the BJP, provided it stuck to a common development agenda. He has also suggested that he would be willing to coordinate the BJP-led alliance on a national level, going against his previous adamant stance against dealing with the BJP. The stance led a split in his party, the Janata Dal.