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Friday, November 30, 2012

I K Gujral no more

I K Gujral no more

Gurgaon, Nov 30 (PTI): Former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, who headed a rickety coalition government in the late 1990s, died on Friday after a brief illness.

Gujral, 92, breathed his last at 3.27 PM in a private hospital after a multi-organ failure. He was admitted to the hospital on November 19 with a lung infection, family sources said.

The former Prime Minister, who was ventilator support, had been unwell for sometime. He was on dialysis for over a year and suffered a serious chest infection some days ago.

He will be cremated in nearby Delhi tomorrow.

Gujral, who migrated from Pakistan after partition, rose to become the Prime Minister with a big slice of luck after he came up through the ranks - starting as Vice President in New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) in the '50s to later become a Union Minister and then India's Ambassador to the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Gujral, an intellectual who propounded the 'Gujral Doctrine' of five principles for maintaining good neighbourly relations, left the Congress to join the Janata Dal in the late-1980s.

He became Minister of External Affairs in the V P Singh-led National Front government in 1989. As the External Affairs Minister he handled the fallout of the Kuwait crisis following Iraqi invasion that displaced thousands of Indians.

Gujral had a second stint as External Affairs Minister in the United Front government under H D Deve Gowda, whom he later replaced as Prime Minister after the Congress withdrew support in 1997.

He emerged as the consensus candidate after serious differences developed among the UF leaders including Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mulayam Singh and others as to who will become the Prime Minister.

It was another matter that his government survived only for a few months as Congress again became restive in the wake of Jain Commission report on Rajiv Gandhi's assassination.

I. K. Gujral

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Inder Kumar Gujral
12th Prime Minister of India
In office
21 April 1997 – 19 March 1998
PresidentShankar Dayal Sharma
K. R. Narayanan
Preceded byH. D. Deve Gowda
Succeeded byAtal Bihari Vajpayee
Minister of Finance
In office
21 April 1997 – 19 March 1998
Preceded byP. Chidambaram
Succeeded byYashwant Sinha
Minister of External Affairs
In office
1 June 1996 – 19 March 1998
Prime MinisterH. D. Deve Gowda
Preceded bySikander Bakht
Succeeded byAtal Bihari Vajpayee
In office
5 December 1989 – 10 November 1990
Prime Minister V. P. Singh
Preceded byV. P. Singh
Succeeded byVidya Charan Shukla
Personal details
BornDecember 4, 1919
JhelumPunjabBritish India
(now in Pakistan)
DiedNovember 30, 2012 (aged 92)[1]
Gurgaon, Harayana
Political partyJanata Dal (1988–2012)
Other political
Indian National Congress(Before 1988)
Spouse(s)Shiela Gujral
Alma mater Forman Christian College University

Inder Kumar Gujral (4 December 1919 - 30 November 2012) was an Indian politician who served as the 12th Prime Minister of India from April 1997 to March 1998. Gujral was the second PM to govern exclusively from the Rajya Sabha, first being his immediate predecessor H.D. Deve Gowda.



[edit]Early and personal life

He participated in India's freedom struggle, and was jailed in 1942 during the 'Quit India Movement'.[2]

He spoke Urdu and spent part of his leisure time writing Urdu couplets.[citation needed] His wife, Sheila Gujral, died on 11 July 2011. She was a prominent poet and author of several books in Punjabi, Hindi and English languages.[3] His brother Satish Gujral is a prominent painter and architect. Gujral has two sons, Naresh and Vishal Gujral. His elder son, Naresh, is a Member of the Rajya Sabha.[3] His niece, Medha, is married to Bhajan Samrat Anup Jalota. I.K. Gujral passed away after a prolonged illness on 30th November 2012.[citation needed]

[edit]Minister in Indira Gandhi government

In the tumultuous days of June 1975, he was Minister of Information and Broadcasting. On 12 June 1975, the Allahabad High Court gave a verdict that Prime Minister Indira Gandhiused unfair means in elections of 1971 and termed her election null and void. Later, Gujral was appointed Ambassador of India to the Soviet Union as the Indian envoy to Moscow.[citation needed]

[edit]Janata Dal

Gujral left the Indian National Congress party in the mid-1980s and joined the Janata Dal. The Dal was a third-party with mainly socialist leanings and regional bases. In the 1989 elections, Gujral was elected from the Jalandhar parliamentary constituency in Punjab. He served as Minister of External Affairs in Prime Minister V. P. Singh's cabinet. In 1989, Singh sent him to Srinagar to seal the deal with the kidnappers in the case of the 1989 kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed. The largest issue he had to deal with in this cabinet role was Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent events that led to the first Gulf War of January 1991. As India's representative, he personally met with Saddam Hussein. His hug with Hussein during the meeting remains a matter of controversy. In the 1991 mid-term parliamentary elections, Gujral contested from Patna constituency in Bihar againstSamajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya) candidate and then-Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha. However, the election was countermanded following complaints of large-scale irregularities. In 1992, Gujral was elected to Rajya Sabha and remained a key Janata Dal leader.[citation needed]

After 1996 election, when the United Front government was formed at the center under the premiership of H. D. Deve Gowda, Gujral was again named Minister of External Affairs. During this second tenure, he propounded his 'Gujral Doctrine', which called for better relations with neighbours. He also served as Union Minister or Minister of State of several other portfolios—Communications and Parliamentary Affairs, Information & Broadcasting, Works & Housing and Planning.[citation needed]

The Congress party was supporting the United Front government from outside, but decided to withdraw support, which led to its collapse in April 1997. To avoid mid-term elections, a compromise was reached. The Congress party agreed to support another United Front government under a new leader, provided its concerns—such as not being consulted before taking important decisions and being marginalized—were addressed. The United Front elected Gujral as their new leader and he was sworn in as Prime Minister on 21 April 1997.[citation needed]

[edit]Prime Minister

Gujral inherited the bitterness between the Congress Party and the United Front from his predecessor Deve Gowda. However he maintained good relations with the Congress Party, which supported his government from outside. Within a few weeks in office, Gujral faced trouble, not from the Congress party but within his own Janata Dal. The Central Bureau of Investigation asked for the permission from the Governor of Bihar A. R. Kidwai to prosecute the state Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in a corruption case related to the purchase of cattle-feed, dubbed the Fodder Scam. Subsequently the demand for the resignation of Yadav was raised both from within and out of the United Front. However, Yadav sternly rejected the demand. Prime Minister Gujral just exhorted Yadav to step down without actually taking any action against his government. When Gujral transferred the CBI director Joginder Singh, who was investigating the case against Yadav, many people considered this as an attempt on the part of Prime Minister to protect Yadav. When Yadav felt that he no longer enjoyed a commanding position in Janata Dal, he left the party and formed his own Rashtriya Janata Dal on 3 July 1997. Out of 45 Janata Dal members of parliament, 17 left the party and supported Yadav. However, the new party continued in the United Front and Gujral's government was saved from immediate danger.[citation needed]

Another controversial decision of his government was its recommendation of President's rule in Uttar Pradesh, following unruly scenes in the state assembly on 21 October 1997. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government headed by Kalyan Singh sought vote of confidence when the violence and unruly scenes took place in the assembly. However President K.R. Narayanan refused to sign the recommendation and sent it back to the government for reconsideration. The Allahabad High Court also gave a decision against President's rule in Uttar Pradesh.[citation needed]

In early November 1997, parts of interim report of Jain Commission inquiring into the conspiracy aspects of the Rajiv Gandhiassassination case were leaked to the press. Reportedly, the Jain Commission had indicted the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) for tacitly supporting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), responsible for the former Prime Minister's assassination. The DMK was part of the ruling coalition at the center and had ministers in the Union Cabinet. The Congress first demanded the tabling of the report on the floor of the parliament. The report was tabled on 19 November 1997. When it was confirmed that the Jain Commission had in fact held the DMK responsible for supporting the LTTE, the Congress party demanded that the ministers belonging to the DMK be dropped. There was exchange of letters between Congress president Sitaram Kesri and Prime Minister Gujral. However, Gujral refused to budge. At a public function in Calcutta on 23 November 1997, he gave a hint of what was to follow saying 'mid-term elections are around the corner'.[citation needed] The Congress Party finally withdrew support from his government on 28 November 1997. Gujral resigned following this withdrawal.[4] As no alternative government could be formed, the only option was a snap election.

[edit]Gujral Doctrine

The Gujral Doctrine is a set of five principles to guide the conduct of foreign relations with India's immediate neighbours as spelt out by Gujral, first as India's External Affairs Minister and later as the Prime Minister. Among other factors, these five principles arise from the belief that India's stature and strength cannot be divorced from the quality of its relations with its neighbours. It, thus, recognises the supreme importance of friendly, cordial relations with neighbours. These principles are:

  1. With neighbours like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, India does not ask for reciprocity, but gives and accommodates what it can in good faith and trust.
  2. No South Asian country should allow its territory to be used against the interest of another country of the region.
  3. No country should interfere in the internal affairs of another.
  4. All South Asian countries must respect each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
  5. They should settle all their disputes through peaceful bilateral negotiations.

According to Gujral, these five principles, scrupulously adhered to, would achieve a fundamental recasting of South Asia's regional relationships, including the difficult relationship between India and Pakistan. Further, the implementation of these principles would generate a climate of close and mutually benign cooperation in the region, where the weight and size of India is regarded positively and as an asset by these countries.

Following a series of Pakistan-sponsored terrorist incidents throughout the 2000s, culminating with the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the Gujral Doctrine has been severely criticised. Following the attack, India Today magazine said targeted, covert strikes against Pakistani terrorist outfits such as Lashkar-e-Taiba were a "capability that I.K. Gujral dismantled as prime minister over a decade ago will take over a year to rebuild."[5]

[edit]Snap election

The election was held in February–March 1998. Gujral contested again from Jalandhar constituency in Punjab with the support of Akali Dal. The Akali Dal, though a part of BJP-led coalition, opted to support Gujral because during his Prime Ministerial tenure, Gujral declared that the central government will share the expenses on stamping out terrorism in Punjab during 1980s and early 1990s, along with the state government of Punjab. That eased the strain on economy of Punjab and its ruling class to a great extent and the Akali Dal decided to support Gujral. Gujral defeated Umrao Singh of the Congress by over 131,000 votes.[citation needed]

In the 12th Lok Sabha, Gujral actively opposed the BJP-led coalition government. In a debate in Lok Sabha on 29 May 1998, he pointed out some of the drawbacks of the government in handling of the nuclear tests conducted at Pokhran. He also opposed the government's decision to impose President's rule in Bihar. However Gujral actively supported Prime Minister Vajpayee's visit to Lahore in February 1999 and signing of Lahore Declaration with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. On 19 April 1999, when the BJP-led government sought vote of confidence on the floor of the Lok Sabha after the withdrawal of support by All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam(AIADMK), Gujral opposed the government.[citation needed]

Gujral did not contest the 1999 elections and retired from active politics. In 2004, his son Naresh Gujral unsuccessfully contested with an Shiromani Akali Dal seat from JalandharPunjab constituency in the general election.[citation needed]

[edit]Illness and death

Gujral was admitted at Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon, Haryana, on November 19, 2012, after being diagnosed with lung infection.[6] He had suffered a serious chest infection a few days before.[7] His health deteriorated in the hospital, and was reported to be "very critical". On November 27, he fell unconscious and his urine output system stopped working. After a brief battle with his multiple ailments, he died on 30 November 2012 at 3.27pm.[8][9] He is survived by his sons: Naresh and Vishal Gujral.



  1. ^ "Firstpost Politics India's diplomatic politician and former PM IK Gujral passes away".First Post (India).
  2. ^ McGirk, Jan (22 April 1997). "Indian intrigue on hold as PM is sworn in". London: The Independent. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  3. a b "Sheila Gujral no more". The Indian Express. 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
  4. ^ Burns, John F (29 November 1997). "PREMIER OF INDIA QUITS, DEEPENING POLITICAL BEDLAM". New York Times. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  5. ^’s%20Al%20Qaeda/3/22426.html
  6. ^ "Former PM, IK Gujral admitted to Gurgaon hospital for lung infection". Retrieved 25-11-2012.
  7. ^ "I. K. Gujral stable but critical". Retrieved 35-11-2012.
  8. ^ "Former Prime Minister I.K.Gujral Passes Away". Indiatimes. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
  9. ^ "Former PM I K Gujral passes away". Retrieved 30-11-2012.
Political offices
Preceded by
Vishwanath Pratap Singh
Minister of External Affairs
Succeeded by
Vidya Charan Shukla
Preceded by
Sikander Bakht
Minister of External Affairs
Succeeded by
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded by
Haradanahalli Doddegowda Deve Gowda
Prime Minister of India
Chairperson of the Planning Commission
Preceded by
Palaniappan Chidambaram
Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Yashwant Sinha

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