The award will be given out on the occasion of Maharishi Valmiki Jayanti, which will be held at the Vidhana Soudha on October 24.
The Maharishi Valmiki Award for 2018-19 has been conferred on former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda for his work in uplifting SC/ ST communities, the Karnataka government led by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, HD Deve Gowda’s son, said on Tuesday. The announcement was made by Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge who met the veteran politician at his Padmanabha Nagar residence to invite him to accept the award. The state government’s decision was based on the recommendation by a government-appointed committee led by retired Karnataka High Court Judge Justice HN Nagamohan Das.
The award will be given out on the occasion of Maharishi Valmiki Jayanti, which will be held at Banquet Hall of the Vidhana Soudha on October 24. The state government celebrates the day to honour the legendary Sanskrit poet and author of the Ramayana. He is also worshiped by the Valimiki community, which is said to be one of the largest ethnic group in the state.
HD Deve Gowda, a former freedom fighter and a Congress man became the 11th Prime Minister of India in June 1996 and held his position till April 1997. Prior to this, he was the 14th Chief Minister of Karnataka. He is currently a member of Lok Sabha from Hassan constituency and is the national president of the Janata Dal (Secular), the party he founded after breaking away from the erstwhile Janata Dal.
In his long political career he has also held the role of the Leader of the Rajya Sajbha and was elected as the MLA seven times.
In 2017, then-CM Siddaramaiah unveiled the bust of Valmiki at Vidhana Soudha on October 5 to mark the occasion and announced multiple social welfare schemes. Former Minister Thippeswamy, who was part of the erstwhile Janata Dal government, was given the award which comes with a citation and cheque for Rs 5 lakh.
The celebration of Valmiki Jayanti in Karnataka was initiated by Leader of Opposition BS Yeddyurappa during his tenure as the Chief Minister in 2008. The day is also celebrated across districts and is also a state government holiday.