City loses another gem: A leader par excellence

Life and death:   Mortal remains of M S Gurupadaswamy being brought to his residence in Mysore on Tuesday.DH photosA lawyer, journalist, socialist, politician, orator, music lover, agriculturist...

Words fall short to describe, M S Gurupadaswamy, the former union minister, who passed away  after a brief illness, at a private hospital in Bangalore on Tuesday. He was 89. His wife Rajashri  predeceased him several years ago. He leaves behind a son M G Prakash, daughters Manjula and Jaswanthi, grandchildren, and a large number of relatives and followers.

Final rites will be conducted with full state honour, on Wednesday at Mallanmoole Mutt on Mysore- Nanjangud Road. Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa is among the dignitaries attending the funeral.

A profile

He was born in 1922 to Shivalingadevru and Marammanni couple in Malangi in T Narsipura taluk in Mysore district. He was the second among nine children.

He completed his early education in Malavalli in Mandya district, before shifting to Marimallappa’s School in Mysore for high school. He obtained BA degree in political science, from Maharaja’s College and LLB from Lucknow University.

He also participated in the freedom struggle in 1942. Gurupadaswamy had served with elan in various fields. He bid goodbye to active politics, when he was at the dizzying heights of his career. A rarity, when compared to netas, who prefer to cling onto power, wielding the baton from wheelchair.

Political life

Gurupadaswamy practiced as a lawyer for a few years, before discovering his tryst with pen. He was the editor of ‘Prajamatha’ a Kannada weekly from 1947 to 53. A year before, in 1952 he became the ‘talk of politics’ defeating the heavyweight in the realm- H C Dasappa in the first parliamentary elections.

A fledgling, Gurupadaswamy, was a 29-year-old youth when he successfully contested as a candidate of Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party (KMPP) against Dasappa of Congress. After the merger of KMPP with Socialist Party in 1953, he became general secretary of the parliamentary party under the leadership of Acharya Kripalani and Ashok Mehta.

He was also the president of Praja Socialist Party (PSP) Karnataka unit from 1956 to 61. He was instrumental in merging one wing of PSP headed by Ashok Mehta with then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

He became Minister of State in the Department of Atomic Energy. He became Minister of Food, Agriculture, Community Development and Cooperation in the government headed by Indira Gandhi, from 1967 to 1969. He was also the first minister to quit following the vertical split in Congress in 1969. He became  Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha from Congress (O). He was founder member of Janata Party and Janata Dal. He was  Minister of Petroleum and Chemicals in the V P Singh Cabinet from 1989 to 1990. He was also leader of Lok Sabha during that period. In 1990, he set a record winning RS elections from Uttar Pradesh. After parliament, he served as a Member of Rajyasabha from 1960 to 1996 with breaks.

A charismatic leader, Gurupadaswamy was also associated with several organisations. He was the president of State Journalists Association and Mysore State Rationalists Association during 1951.

He was a member of Central Citizen’s Council, National Advisory Committee of Youth Congress, National Executive and Central Parliamentary Party Board of PSP, Central Silk Board, National Press Council to name a few. He was currently the founder and co-chairman of Centre for Standards in Public Life along with former Chief Justice of India M N Venkatachalaiah.

Though he enjoyed power to its fullest, he remained true to his principles, maintaining a fool proof career without giving room for any controversies, a rarity again when corruption has pervaded almost all the fields, with politics ranking first.

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