Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda has often championed farmers’ causes and as a tribute to his commitment and initiatives to the community, peasants in Punjab have named one of the finest varieties of paddy after him, according to a biography of him.
Gowda is known to have never violated the decorum of the House as a lawmaker and parliamentarian. But only once in his long career has he violated this self-imposed principle, and that is when the well-being of his loyal farming constituency has been “threatened”, writes journalist Sugata Srinivasaraju in his book “Sillons in a field: the unexplored life of HD Deve Gowda “.
Referring to the incidents of July 31 and August 1, 1991 in Lok Sabha, the book recalls how during a heated discussion about Manmohan Singh’s first budget, Gowda rushed to the house well to pressure the government. to reverse his decision to end subsidies for the agricultural sector for a period of three years.
“I am a farmer and the son of a plowman and I will not allow it. I will sit on a dharna. I will not leave this house. It is not to advertise that I am doing it”, had- he declares.
In 2002, when farm suicides were reported in large numbers across India, Gowda took a delegation of nearly 2,000 farmers from Karnataka by train to Delhi and secured them an audience with the Prime Minister of India. era, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
“It was unprecedented, especially for a former prime minister to demonstrate in this way. The people of Delhi were stunned,” says the book published by Penguin Random House India.
“In tribute to Gowda’s long-standing commitment to the cause of farmers, and for his policy initiatives towards the peasant community, and the stellar pro-farmer budget of 1996-97, the farmers of Punjab named one of the better varieties of paddy like ‘Dev Gowda’ (sic) after stepping down as prime minister, “Srinivasaraju writes in the book.
“The paddy variety is said to have been very popular for over two decades. Farmers who could not converse with Gowda in Punjabi, Hindi, Kannada or English understood and recognized the human intention. Ironically, this tribute has also remained little known and unrecognized like everything else associated with Gowda, ”he writes.
“A generally knowledgeable Gowda himself was not privy to this variety of paddy until Chiranjiv Singh, an IAS officer of the Karnataka cadres from Punjab, wrote it down in his Kannada newspaper column in 2014 “, he adds.
The association with the paddy, the association with the soil, the association with the basic food of a people were the most magical and original metaphors that one could imagine for Deve Gowda, says the author.
The book also recounts how in 1996 Mahendra Singh Tikait, chief farmer in the same western belt of Uttar Pradesh as Charan Singh, hailed Deve Gowda as the “Choudhary Charan Singh of the south” at a meeting in Muzaffarnagar. .
Deve Gowda has been in public life for almost seven decades. He started at the bottom, as a member of the Holenarasipur Taluk Development Board and reached the top as the 11th Prime Minister of India, in 1996.
In the meantime, he was an independent lawmaker, spent long years leading the opposition in the Karnataka Legislature, was an effective Minister of Irrigation and Public Works, and Chief Minister in 1994 after many missed opportunities.
Even 25 years after leaving his post as Prime Minister, he remained relevant in Indian politics.
The book also describes in detail the interactions between Deve Gowda and Vajpayee among several other things.
The two wouldn’t have interacted so much if they hadn’t been prime ministers and former prime ministers, and if one hadn’t preceded and succeeded the other, he says.
Gowda took over from Vajpayee immediately after his first 13-day contact with power, and there was the confidence motion in which the two came face to face for the first time on the parliamentary floor.
“Gowda and Vajpayee were two very different people. Vajpayee was primarily a Hindi person, Gowda used English to communicate, which in reality was far above the bliss of Vajpayee. If Vajpayee was full of rhetoric, fulfillment and gripping silences, Gowda was always secluded from details, documents and a sort of dragging accent, ”says the author.
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