Veerendra Patil
5th Chief Minister of Karnataka
In office
30 November 1989 – 10 October 1990
Preceded byS. R. Bommai
Succeeded byS. Bangarappa
7th Chief Minister of Mysore State
In office
29 May 1968 – 18 March 1971
Preceded byS. Nijalingappa
Succeeded byPresident's rule
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
Preceded byC. M. Stephen
Succeeded byB. G. Jawali
In office
Preceded bySanganagouda Basanagouda Patil
Succeeded byPatil Hanmantagouda Bhimanagouda
Minister of Public Works and Transport Department of Karnataka
In office
14 March 1962 – 20 June 1962
Minister of Labour and Employment of India
In office
2 September 1982 – 31 December 1984
Personal details
Born(1924-02-28)28 February 1924
Chincholi, Hyderabad State, British India
(now in Karnataka, India)
Died14 March 1997(1997-03-14) (aged 73)[1]
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Political partyIndian National Congress

Veerendra Basappa Patil (Kannada: ವೀರೇಂದ್ರ ಪಾಟೀಲ್; 28 February 1924 – 14 March 1997)[2] was a senior Indian politician and was twice, the Chief Minister of Karnataka. He became Chief Minister for the first time from 1968–1971 and the second time was almost 18 years later, from 1989–1990.


Born in a middle-class family in Chincholi in Kalaburagi district, Patil belonged to the dominant Banajiga Lingayat community.[3] He was first made a Deputy minister for Home in the S. Nijalingappa government in 1957. He was elected several times from Chincholi assembly constituency of Gulbarga district to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly. In his youth, Patil teamed up with Ramakrishna Hegde and took control of the Congress organisation in the state. Being young and charismatic ministers in Nijalingappa cabinet, they both were referred as 'Lava-Kusha'. When he moved to federal politics, Nijalingappa chose Patil as his successor.[4]

Patil's first innings as Chief minister lasted 33 months and 10 days. His control over the state administration dispelled the impression that he was just a dummy for his mentor, Nijalingappa, then the president of the All India Congress Committee.[5]

It was during his tenure that the century-old Cauvery water dispute gained ground as Tamil Nadu objected to the irrigation projects in the Cauvery basin. Patil went ahead with the projects even though the Central Water Commission refused to clear them, to protect the interests of the farmers of the south Karnataka region who were heavily dependent on irrigation from Cauvery. Also, It was he who promoted the Karnataka Power Corporation and separated the state electricity board from the responsibility of generating power.[5]

However, Patil was also charged with favouring his Lingayat (Banajiga) community.[3] After the Congress split in 1969, Patil's Congress (O) party remained in power in the state until 1971 and crashed to a dismal defeat in the state assembly election in 1972 at the hands of Congress (I).

Later, Patil returned to the hub of state politics as chief of the Janata Party's Karnataka state unit. He sacrified in the 1978 Lok Sabha by-election in Chikmagalur which featured Indira Gandhi in the fray. Through the often acrimonious campaign, Patil, who was the candidate of the Janata Party, refused to indulge in personal attacks on Indira Gandhi. The same year, he lost his Rajya Sabha seat to Hegde. When he lost the state Janata Party presidency to H.D. Deve Gowda, Patil moved over to Indira Gandhi's Congress-I.[5]

The twin defections of Veerendra Patil in Karnataka & Hitendra Desai in Gujarat turned around the fortunes of Congress(I), which otherwise had a spate of allegations against it. Winning election to the Lok Sabha from Bagalkot, he became Union Labour and Petroleum minister. However, he was later dropped from the Cabinet.

He won Gulbarga seat in 1984 Indian general elections by defeating Vidyadhar Guruji, a former MLA from Gurmitkal.[6]

With none of the state congress leaders able to draw the masses, the state leadership fell onto Veerendra Patil's shoulders. As state party chief in Rajiv Gandhi's time, Patil reinvigorated the Congress in the state. The anti incumbency wave and the split in the Janata party resulted in a landslide victory for the Congress in November 1989. Veerendra Patil had led the election campaign on twin promises: Water & Transport facility to every village. Congress won 178 out of 224 MLA seats, which is its largest victory to-date (2020).[5][7]

With fiscal deficit reigning high & diminishing returns, Veerendra Patil took charge at a difficult time.[8] He appointed M. Rajasekara Murthy as finance minister. The duo attacked the seconds liquor lobby by hiking the export duty by 10 times, from 2% to 20%. This had the dual-effect of reducing seconds-liquor consumption and also boosting the revenue of state government. It is to Patil's credit that he summoned the courage to take on the liquor lobby, at the risk of angering many benefactors of his party. He stuck to the line that his duty was first to the state and then, next to his party. This honesty proved dearly to him, though he became widely popular among the woman-folk of the state.[5]

His efforts to streamline the administration and stem the rot in the secretariat was acclaimed by many.[9] However, in October 1990 communal riots broke out in some parts of the state due to newly emerged BJP's rath yatras and communal politics. He was removed by the then Congress President Rajiv Gandhi and succeeded by Sarekoppa Bangarappa.

Patil never recouped after this incident. His health failed him and he decided against contesting the 1994 Karnataka Legislative Assembly election. Congress lost miserably and could not even become the main opposition party in that election.

He died on 14 March 1997 in Bangalore.[1][5]


  1. ^ a b "Veerendra Patil Is Dead". Business Standard. 15 March 1997. Archived from the original on 5 May 2017. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  2. ^ "States after 1947 A-L". Rulers: India. Archived from the original on 22 June 2010.
  3. ^ a b Thomas Blom Hansen; Christophe Jaffrelot (2001). The BJP and the compulsions of politics in India. p. 176. The Lingayat votes had been important to the Janata Dal since 1978. Without Veerendra Patil (a member of the Banajiga jati), the long-standing difficulties of the national party president S. R. Bommai in appealing to voters beyond his Sadar jati (which had earned the resentment of other jatis by gaining a disproportionate share of spoils) became especially serious
  4. ^ "Veerendra Patil- Biography". Veethi. Archived from the original on 21 April 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Veerendra Patil, Karnataka politician, dies at 73". Rediff on the net. Archived from the original on 30 May 2010.
  6. ^ Para, Praveen B. (30 July 2017). "Freedom fighter Vidyadhar Guruji dies aged 105". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 9 November 2020.
  7. ^ "Highlights of 1989 Karnataka Assembly Elections". Party Analyst. Archived from the original on 6 February 2013.
  8. ^ "Chief Minister Veerendra Patil, taking oath". Raj bhavan, Karnataka. Archived from the original on 21 March 2007.
  9. ^ "Veerendra Patil had just 13 ministers". The Times of India. 16 February 2012. Archived from the original on 4 January 2013.
Political offices Preceded byS.Nijalingappa Chief Minister of Karnataka 29 May 1968 – 18 March 1971 Succeeded byPresident's rule Preceded byPresident's Rule Chief Minister of Karnataka 30 November 1989 – 10 October 1990 Succeeded byS.Bangarappa