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Wednesday, February 28, 2001

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Leaders shower praises on J.H. Patel

By Our Special Correspondent

BANGALORE, FEB. 27. Keeping political differences aside, the Chief Minister, Mr. S.M. Krishna, joined the members in the Legislative Assembly today in appreciating the role played by his predecessor, J.H. Patel, in the development of the power sector and the creation of seven new districts.

The House was making obituary references to the nameless multitude killed in the devastating Gujarat earthquake of January 26; Patel; two other former Ministers and the JD(U) leaders, Lakshminarasimhaiah of Tumkur and Jeevaraj Alva; Kempamma, former Congress MLC; T.S. Mryuthyunjayappa, former JD(U) MLC; R. Venkataramaiah, former CPI(M) MLA from Mulbagal; G.S. Basavaraj, member of the seventh Assembly from Arsikere; Shankaragouda Appannagouda Patil, advocate and member of the fifth Assembly from Hirebagewadi; M. Basappa, freedom fighter from Shimoga district, who was a member of the Mysore Representative Assembly during 1932-33; and A. Ramanna, journalist and former nominated (JD-U) MLC from Mysore.

The Chief Minister described J.H. Patel (who passed away on December 12) as a great thinker and perpetual fighter who was brutally frank in his speech and actions. Mr. Krishna recalled that Patel met and blessed him after he took over as Chief Minister though his (Patel's) own party lay in a shambles after the elections. Patel was also present when he was sworn in as Chief Minister. His contribution to increasing power generation and the creation of new districts was memorable.

Mr. Krishna called Jeevaraj Alva a dreamer and a fighter. He recalled the way he resuscitated the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat. He revealed that he wanted to give Kempamma a certain post and that was why he excluded her from his Ministry. He had known A. Ramanna for the past 50 years. He was always encouraging the youth, especially those who had entered public life. Mr. Krishna said that he was one among those encouraged by Ramanna.

The Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Jagadish Shettar, said that he never used to miss Patel's speeches in the House. They used to be laced with humour and scholarship. Patel was a leader who could laugh and make others to do the same even in the most trying circumstances. Unlike most others in politics who had a dual personality, Patel was straightforward. He stood above caste and community distinctions. Mr. Shettar recalled the way Patel took immediate action to repair the Hubli-Dharwad highway which was in a state of disrepair.

The leader of the JD(U) group, Mr. P.G.R. Sindhia, said that Karnataka rose as one man to help the people of Gujarat. It had done the same when Orissa was lashed by a cyclone in 1999. Karnataka gave the people of Orissa Rs. 40 crores. He suggested to the Chief Minister to send a senior Minister to Gujarat to find out how the donations sent from the State had been utilised.

Mr. Sindhia said that as Chief Minister, Patel gave full liberty to his Ministers and never interfered in their work. He was well- read in religion and philosophy. To some extent, Patel was unhappy that socialism was fading away on account of globalisation. He recalled the way Patel opposed the promulgation of internal Emergency in June 1975 and went to jail. So incensed was Patel that he and some of his comrades wanted to blow up a bridge near Kadur.

Calling Patel a ``mahanayak'', Mr. Sindhia wanted the Government to fulfil his wish of presenting the Basava Award to the former South African President, Mr. Nelson Mandela. The Institute of Social and Economic Change in the City should also be named after him.He said that Lakshminarasimhaiah (also a former deputy speaker of the House) had suffered during the Emergency. Jeevaraj Alva worked underground during Emergency. He should be remembered for holding the Vishwa Kannada Sammelan in Mysore in Dec. 1985.

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