D. Devaraj Urs

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D. Devaraj Urs ( Kannada : ಡಿ.ದೇವರಾಜ ಅರಸ ) (1915 -1982) dominated Karnataka politics for many years and was twice Chief Minister of the state. Originally from Mysore, he was a member of what came to be known as the 'Syndicate' of powerful regional leaders, though he never went as far as, for example, Kamaraj, in opposition to Indira Gandhi. He is particularly remembered for his reforms that targeted the scheduled castes and the OBCs of Karnataka, and for his constant pipe-smoking.

Urs had practically retired from politics when the first Congress split took place in 1969, and the Syndicate formed the Congress while Mrs. Gandhi formed the Congress . The Congress (O), under S. Nijalingappa, Veerendra Patil, Ramakrishna Hegde and Deve Gowda dominated Karnataka electorally and had a majority in the state assembly, but Urs declined the invitation to join it. Instead, he agreed to lead the Congress (I) in the state and successfully won the state for Mrs. Gandhi in 1971.

In response to Mrs. Gandhi's declaration that poverty was her first priority (Garibi Hatao) and her Twenty-Point Programme, he formed a state Cabinet dominated by technocrats and academics.His first priority was land reform, and his slogan was "land to the tiller"; under him a sustained effort was made to equalize the land distribution through much of the state. Karnataka, thus, other than the Communist bastions of Kerala and West Bengal, has had one of the most successful land...
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