UK prof: Urs most innovative leader state has ever had

Aug 23, 2017

 Mysuru: Dr James Manor (in pic), emeritus professor of commonwealth studies, School of Advanced Studies, University of London, on Monday said that former chief minister D Devaraj Urs is the most constructive, innovative and imaginative leader Karnataka had ever seen.

Reminiscing his association with Urs and Karnataka, particularly Mysuru, he said: “Urs was kind to me. Mysuru city was a princely state which was utopian in nature. The Press was free, and the university and the administration all worked well here. The maharajas of Mysuru supported all sorts of ideologies while they enjoyed power.”

“Though Urs belonged to the community of Wadiyars, he was against the monarchy. He earned the ire of people from his community for being anti-establishment,” he said, while delivering a lecture on ‘Devaraj Urs: Pioneer of progressive politics’ at Myra School of Business.

Lauding Urs’ political move to bring pro-poor and progressive policies to strengthen the OBCs, he said: “Urs introduced meaningful land reforms and reservations for the backward classes which solidified their support to him. Lingayats and Vokkaligas, who owned large tracts of land, were dominant. Urs identified the poor and landless people from these communities and won them over by introducing policies aimed at helping disadvantaged groups. This was a political masterstroke.”

Elaborating on how Urs was instrumental in changing the rules of politics in Karnataka, he said: “Land-owning communities could no longer dominate the state politics as Urs brought about change in rules of politics, which was later emulated by other states.”

In a critical tone, the professor said: “Urs also made the state more difficult to administer by providing a platform to all social groups by throwing open the administration to all. The expectations from the government increased manifold. He caused a demand overload on the government — which he managed — but successive governments which came to power over the past 37 years could not. They were rejected midway or after the completion of their terms as they were unable to cater to the demands of different social groups which Urs created.”