Ramakrishna Hegde bigraphy, stories - Ministers

Ramakrishna Hegde : biography

August 29, 1926 - January 12, 2004

Ramakrishna Mahabaleshwar Hegde () (August 29, 1926 – January 12, 2004) was an Indian politician who served as the Chief Minister of Karnataka for three terms and as Minister of Commerce and Industry in the Union government.

Early life

Hegde was born on 9 August 1926 at Siddapura in Uttara Kannada district. His parents were Mahabaleshwar Hegde and Saraswati Hegde, who hailed from a Havyaka Brahmin family. He completed a part of his studies at the Kashi Vidyapeeth in Varanasi and later obtained a degree in law from Allahabad university. A lawyer by profession, he participated in the Quit India Movement of 1942 and was an active member of the Congress Party.

Political career

Hegde became the president of the Uttara Kannada District Congress Committee from 1954 to 1957 and rose to become the general secretary of the Mysore Pradesh Congress Committee in 1958, a post he held until 1962. Much of his early administrative experience was built up during the governments of S. Nijalingappa (1956–58 and 1962–68) and Veerendra Patil (1968–71) in Karnataka. He was first elected to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in 1957 and was appointed a deputy minister. He was later promoted as a cabinet minister and held diverse portfolios such as Youth welfare and Sports, Cooperation, Industries, Planning, Panchayat Raj, Development, Information and Publicity, Excise and Finance between 1962-71.

During the famous split in the Congress in 1969, Hegde followed in the footsteps of his mentor Nijalingappa and joined the Congress (O). He was Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Council for a few years until 1974. The 1975 Emergency crackdown on opposition leaders saw his arrest along with several other state and national level leaders. When the emergency was lifted, he joined the Janata Party and became the first general secretary of its state unit. He was a member of the Rajya Sabha during 1978-83.

Chief minister

When the Janata Partycame to power by emerging as the single largest party in the 1983 State elections, he emerged as a consensus candidate between the powerful Lingayat and Vokkaliga lobbies. Thus, He became the first non-Congress chief minister of Karnataka. A master strategist, he cobbled up a two-thirds majority for his government by an arrangement of outside support from other parties. His government secured the outside support of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), left parties and 16 Independents.

Following the poor performance of the Janata Party in the 1984 Lok Sabha elections (it won only 4 out of the 28 seats from Karnataka), Hegde resigned on the grounds that his party had lost its popular mandate and sought a fresh mandate for his government. In the 1985 elections, the Janata Party came to power on its own with a comfortable majority.

As Chief Minister between 1983 and 1985 and again between 1985 and 1988, he became an active votary of State rights within a federal set-up, but one who made no concession to regional or linguistic chauvinism. Secondly, he took innovative initiatives in expanding the federal principle within the State, primarily in the area of devolving power to local bodies and in trying to enforce accountability. During his Chief Ministership, Karnataka pioneered legislation on Panchayat raj that devolved a substantial degree of financial and administrative powers to a three-tiered structure of local government. In 1984 he introduced legislation to deal with official and administrative corruption through the institution of the Lokayukta. Also, he started the 'Kannada watchdog panel' to oversee the implementation of Kannada in administration. He has the rare distinction of presenting thirteen finance budgets in the State assembly.

As Chief minister, Hegde enjoyed immense personal popularity and was acknowledged as an efficient administrator. However, as days passed by, his rule was mirred with several scams involving alleged corruption on the part of his own family. His son was accused of taking money for a medical seat. There were allegations made by the Congress (I) against him in a case involving the transfer of shares by the NGEF company.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine