Basappa Danappa Jatti

Basappa Danappa Jatti (September 10, 1912–June 7, 2002) was born at Savalgi, Bijapur district of Karnataka. Jatti graduated as a lawyer from Sykes Law College, Kolhapur and became a pleader in Jamakhandi.


Soft-spoken Jatti rose from a humble beginning as a Municipality member to India’s second-highest office during a five-decade-long chequered political career.

Born in Savalgi in Jamakhandi Taluk of Bijapur district, Mr Jatti entered politics as a Municipality member at Jamakhandi in 1940 and later became its President. He was eventually elected to the Jamakhandi State Legislature.

A Law Graduate from Sykes Law College, Kolhapur, he practised for a brief period as a pleader in Jamakhandi. He was appointed minister of Jamakhandi state, and subsequently became its Chief Minister. On March 8, 1948 after Jamakhandi was merged with Bombay state, he returned to legal practice and continued it for 20 months. Jatti was also nominated as member of the Bombay State Legislative Assembly to represent the merged area, and, within a week of his nomination, he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the then Bombay Chief Minister B G Kher. He worked in that capacity for a couple of years.

After the 1952 general elections, he was appointed Minister of Health and Labour of the then Bombay Government and held that post till the reorganisation of states.

Jatti became member of the Mysore Legislative Assembly after the reorganisation and was Chairman of the Land Reforms Committee. He became Chief Minister in 1958 and continued in that office until 1962.

Re-elected from Jamkhandi constituency in the third general elections, Jatti was appointed Finance Minister on July 2, 1962 in the Nijalingappa Ministry. He was re-elected to the fourth Assembly from the same constituency and appointed as Minister of Food and Civil Supplies.

Jatti subsequently moved onto the national scene and was appointed Lt Governor of Pondicherry in 1968. He became Orissa Governor in 1973 and, in 1974, assumed office of Vice-President until 1980. He became acting President for a brief period after the death of Fakruddin Ali Ahmed. After demitting office as Vice-President, Jatti continued to be in the limelight as a keen obserer of the political situation in the country.

Though moved by the violence in Gujarat after the Godhra train carnage, Jatti did not give up democratic values and opposed the sustained national campaign the Congress had undertaken against the continuance of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Such agitations would not help ease the situation, he had stated, and wanted immediate withdrawal of the agitation so that violence did not spread to other states.

A deeply religious man, he was also founder president of the Basava Samithi, which propagated the preachings of 12th century saint philosopher Basaveshwara. He was also involved in various organisations concerned with social activities.


Outside of politics, Jatti was founder president of the Basava Samithi, a religious movement propagated the preachings of 12th century saint philosopher Basaveshwara.

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