Chandra Shekhar

Chandra Shekhar

Chandra Shekhar

Date of Birth : July 1, 1927
Date of Death : July 8, 2007

Mini Biography :

Shri Chandra Shekhar was born on July 1, 1927, in a farmer’s family in village Ibrahimpatti in District Ballia, Uttar Pradesh. He was President of the Janata Party from 1977 to 1988.

Shri Chandra Shekhar was attracted to politics from his student days and was known as a fire-brand idealist with revolutionary fervour. After his Master’s Degree in Political Science from Allahabad University (1950-51), he joined the Socialist Movement. He had the privilege of having been associated very closely with Acharya Narendra Dev. He was elected Secretary of the District Praja Socialist Party, Ballia. Within a year, he was elected Joint Secretary of the U.P. State Praja Socialist Party. In 1955-56 he took over as General Secretary of the U.P., State Praja Socialist Party.

From 1962 to 1967, Shekhar belonged to the Rajya Sabha, the Upper house of the Parliament of India. He had a nationwide padayatra in 1984 to know the country better, which he claimed gave the jitters to Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister. He was called a “Young Turk”.

As a Member of Parliament he made a mark by taking keen interest in espousing the cause of the downtrodden and pleading for policies for rapid social change. In this context, when he attacked the disproportionate growth of monopoly houses with State patronage, he came in conflict with the centres of power.

Shri Chandra Sekhar has always stood against politics of personalities and has favoured politics of ideology and social change. This propelled him more towards Shri Jayaprakash Narayan and his idealist view of life during the turbulant days of 1973-75. He soon became a focal point of dissent within the Congress Party.

When Emergency was declared on June 25, 1975, he was arrested under Maintenance of Internal Security Act inspite of the fact that he was a member of the Central Election Committee and Working Committee, top bodies of the Indian National Congress.

Shri Chandra Sekhar was among the few individuals in the then ruling party who was imprisoned during the Emergency.

He has established about fifteen Bharat Yatra Centres in various parts of the country including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to train social and political workers for mass education and grassroot work in backward pockets of the country.

He has been a Member of Parliament since 1962 except for a brief period from 1984 to 1989. In 1989 he successfully contested both from his home constituency, Ballia, and the adjoining Maharajganj constituency in Bihar. He vacated the latter.

After his predecessor, V.P. Singh, resigned, he led a breakaway faction of the Janata Dal, known as the Samajwadi Janata Party. The Indian National Congress decided to extend outside support to his government to avoid snap elections, and Shekhar held a bare majority in a coalition with both the Communist parties and the BJP. The relationship crumbled quickly, as the Congress party accused him of spying on Rajiv Gandhi, their leader at that time. The Congress Party then boycotted Parliament and as Shekhar’s faction only had about 60 MPs, he resigned in a nationally televised address on March 6, 1991. He remained in office until national elections could be held later that year.

On May 3, 2007, he was hospitalised in critical condition after his condition had deteriorated.Shekhar died at the age of 80 in New Delhi on July 8, 2007.

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