A grand alliance govt can work: Deve Gowda

Deve Gowda file (File) H.D. Deve Gowda

Former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda on Thursday rejected claims of BJP leaders that a "grand alliance government" will create chaos, and said the multi-party dispensation led by him had proved it can work.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha during a debate on the motion of thanks to the president's address, the 85-year-old JD(S) leader, who was visibly emotional, said he spent 57 years in public life in state and national politics and this was his last speech.

Recalling his days as prime minister, Gowda, who led a coalition government for 10 months between 1996-97, said he had not been keen to occupy the chair given the issues involved in running a multi-party dispensation.

Gowda said his name came up only after former prime minister V.P. Singh and CPI(M) leader and then West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu declined to accept the position.

Listing out measures undertaken by his government in several areas, Gowda said after the World Bank declined to extend monetary assistance, he had decided to use the black money in the country to fund government programmes.

Gowda said he had proposed a voluntary disclosure scheme, which was initially rejected by then finance minister P. Chidambaram.

"Don't unnecessarily talk against grand alliance. Vajpayee started with coalition. Coalition governments can work if there is an understanding. No one should air their differences outside," Gowda said.

Gowda added he initiated work and sanctioned money for the Bogibeel Bridge, India's longest rail-road bridge, connecting the north and south banks of the Brahmaputra, falling in the eastern part of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. He also sanctioned Rs 6,100 crore for the northeast region during his tenure, Gowda said.