Deve Gowda, H. D.
In the late 1970s Deve Gowda rose in the Janata party and was an important figure in reuniting its successor, the Janata Dal party, after the original group splintered in 1980. Widely regarded as a relatively unsophisticated man but a canny political pragmatist, Deve Gowda was an effective leader and was key in attracting to the party divergent castes and religious groups. When the Congress party was savaged in the 1996 general elections and Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao resigned, Deve Gowda became prime minister of a United Front coalition government after Indian nationalists failed to form a government. It was his first national office. His government collapsed when Congress withdrew its support; a new United Front government was formed under I. K. Gujral .
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