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 worshipped by the Valmiki community, which is said to be one of the largest ethnic groups in the state.
Gowda, a former freedom fighter and a Congressman 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 Sabha 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. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).