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  • Jalandhar

Shane e Jalandhar(I K Gujral)

Inder Kumar Gujral(born 4 December 1919) served as the 12th Prime Minister of India. Gujral was the second PM to govern exclusively from the Rajya Sabha, first being his predecessor H.D. Deve Gowda.

Early life

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

Prime minister

The Congress party was supporting the United Front government from outside, but decided to withdraw support, which led to the collapse of the government in April 1997. In order to avoid elections, a compromise was reached. The Congress party agreed to support another United Front government under 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 new leader and he was sworn in as Prime Minister on 21 April 1997. Gujral inherited the bitterness between the Congress Party and the United Front from his predecessor, H.D. 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 fodder for the cattle (see Fodder Scam). The state governor granted the permission for the prosecution of the chief minister and 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' (RJD) 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. Prime Minister Gujral continued in the office for over 11 months, including 3 months as caretaker Prime Minister. During this time, he attempted to improve relations with Pakistan. One of the most controversial decisions of his government was 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. In early November 1997, parts of interim report of Jain Commission inquiring into the conspiracy aspects of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case were leaked to the press. Reportedly, the Jain Commission had indicted the political party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), for tacitly supporting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which was responsible for Rajiv Gandhi's assassination. The DMK was part of the ruling coalition at the center and the Union Cabinet had ministers belonging to the DMK. The Congress Party 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. In 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'. The Congress Party finally withdrew support from his government on 28 November 1997. Gujral resigned following this withdrawal. As no alternative government could be formed, the only alternative was mid-term elections, as Gujral had foreseen. The elections were 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 Party by over 131,000 votes. 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, Gujral opposed the government.

Aftermath

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 Jalandhar, Punjab constituency in the Indian General Elections.He is currently a member of the Club of Madrid, an independent non-profit organization composed of 81 democratic former Presidents and Prime Ministers from 57 different countries.

Personal life

Gujral speaks fluent Urdu, and spends part of his leisure time writing Urdu couplets. 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.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. He has two granddaughters, Deeksha and Diva Gujral, and a grandson, Anichya Gujral. He also has many grandnephews grandneices like Neeraj Shah and Neha Shah. His niece, Medha, is married to Bhajan Samrat Anup Jalota.)