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A History of the SikhsVolume 2: 1839-2004$

Khushwant Singh

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195673098

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195673098.001.0001

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(p.481) Appendix 8 Key People in Punjab Politics

(p.481) Appendix 8 Key People in Punjab Politics

A History of the Sikhs
Oxford University Press

(p.481) Appendix 8

Key People in Punjab Politics

1. BEANT SINGH (1922–5) born in village Bilaspur, district Ludhiana. Graduated from Government College, Lahore. Served in the Army for two years. After partition of India settled in village Kotli, district Ludhiana. Entered politics in 1950. Elected to the Punjab Assembly in 1969 as an independent candidate and again in 1972 as a Congress party candidate. Re-elected third time in 1980 and became Minister of Revenue, PWD and Technical Education in the Ministry, headed by Darbara Singh. Elected Secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee in 1985 and President in 1986. Elected Chief Minister of Punjab in February 1992. Assassinated outside the Punjab Civil Secretariat, Chandigarh on 31 August 1995.

2. PRAKASH SINGH BADAL: b. 8 December 1927 in village Abul Khurana, district Faridkot. Graduated from Formman Christian College, Lahore. Entered politics in 1947. Elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in 1957, 1969, and 1972 on Akali party ticket. Elected Chief Minister Punjab (March 1970–June 1971). Jailed during the Emergency (1975–6); elected to the Lok Sabha in 1977 and was Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation till 1977. Re-elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and Chief Minister for second time since 1977 to February 1980. Leader of the Opposition, Re-elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in 1980, 1985, 1997, and 2002, and Chief Minister for the third time (1992–97). Active in state as well as Akali party and SGPC politics.

Wife Surinder Kaur managed his lands and business. Two children, son and daughter: son Sukhbir Singh Badal also in politics as Member of the Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha, and presently Rajya Sabha.

(p.482) 3. S. S. BARNALA: b. 21 October 1925 in village Ateli Begpur (Haryana). Law graduate from Lucknow in 1946: practiced law in Nabha and later in Barnala. Elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in 1967 on the Akali party ticket from Barnala. He became Education Minister in 1969. He spent 14 months in jail during the Emergency and was incarcerated in Pachmarhi (Madhya Pradesh) where he taught himself painting. In 1977 he was elected to the Lok Sabha and appointed Agriculture, Food and Irrigation Minister. In 1980 he was back in Punjab Vidhan Sabha. In 1985 he was elected Chief Minister of the state till his government was dismissed in May 1987 and President’s Rule imposed in the state. He was appointed Governor of Tamil Nadu in 1990, but resigned in protest. He was re-elected to the Lok Sabha in 1996 and served as Petrochemicals Minister under the Vajpayee government at New Delhi. He lost in the next election and was appointed the first Governor of newly formed State of Uttaranchal. He is currently Governor of Andhra Pradesh.

4. AMARINDER SINGH: b. 11 March 1942, son of Maharajah Yadvindra Singh of Patiala. Educated at Lawrence School, Sanawar, Doon School, Dehradun, and the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla. Served in the Indian Army and saw action in the 1965 Indo-Pak War, in the rank of a Captain. Entered politics in 1980. Elected to Lok Sabha. Resigned in 1984 in protest against Operation Blue Star, elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in 1985 on Akali ticket and served as Minister of Agriculture, Forests, Rural Development and Panchayats. Resigned in protest against police entry in the Golden Temple, reelected to the Punjab Assembly in 1992. Formed his own Shiromani Akali Dal Panthic which merged with the Congress. In 1998 appointed President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Party. Re-elected Member of the Punjab Assembly and elected Chief Minister of the State in 2002.

5. SURENDRA NATH: b.1926. Joined Indian Police Service, served in Kashmir and Mizoram. Appointed Governor of Punjab in 1992, killed in an aircrash with other members of his family in 1994.

6. BUTA SINGH: b. 21 March 1934 in village Mustafapur, district Jalandhar, Mazhabi scheduled caste. Education: MA, Guru Nanak Khalsa College, Mumbai; PDD, Bundelkhand University, Jhansi. Elected to the Lok Sabha eight times from constituencies reserved for Scheduled Castes from Punjab and Rajasthan on Akali and Congress tickets and an independent candidate. Positions held: Deputy Minister Railways (1994–75); thereafter several cabinet rank posts including Home (p.483) Affairs (1995–9). Excommunicated from the community 1984 following Operation Blue Star; readmitted following apology and penance.

7. RAJINDER KAUR BHATTAL: b. 30 September 1945. Both parents were involved in the freedom struggle. Her mother was in Lahore Central Jail when she was born. Education: BA, BEd from Sangrur. Congress party candidate from Dhanaula in 1972 state elections, lost by a narrow margin. Lost again in 1977 state elections. Won the same seat in 1990 and made Minister of Tourism and Culture. In 1992 she won from Lahra Gaga (Sangrur) and made Minister of Food and Civil Supplies: She was Deputy Chief Minister in H. S. Brar’s Cabinet and on Brar’s removal became the first woman and youngest Chief Minister of Punjab on 21 November 1996.

8. MANMOHAN SINGH: b. 26 September 1932 in Gah (west Punjab) presently in Pakistan. India’s 13th Prime Minister was sworn in on 20 May 2004. Singh, who is universally well regarded, was educated at the University of Punjab, Oxford, and Cambridge. He won Cambridge’s prestigious Adam Smith Prize in 1956. He taught at Punjab University for nine years before being posted for international duty with UNCTAD (1966–9). He then joined the Delhi School of Economics as a professor for two years before joining the government to serve in various capacities.

He first shot into prominence when he successfully engineered the country’s economic recovery in 1991 after a severe balance of payment crisis. His economic reforms as Finance Minister in P. V. Narasimha Rao’s Congress government from 1991–6 changed the face of India in the global comity of nations. He was responsible for altering corporate India’s thinking and with it the life of millions of middle-class Indians by liberalizing the economy His reforms altered the outlook of foreigners towards India. Singh has held several positions, including chief economic advisor and finance secretary, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission and Chairman of UGC in the 1980s and early 1990s. Hardworking, meticulous, and known as a ‘gentleman politician’, this Rajya Sabha member from Assam was welcomed by trade and industry as an instant choice for the coveted post because of his impeccable credentials, bureaucratic experience and intimate knowledge of international economics. He is married to Gursharan Kaur and has three daughters.

9. MONTEK SINGH AHLUWALJA: b. 24 November 1943. Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Government of India. Educated at (p.484) the University of Delhi and Oxford. Considered one of India’s top economists, he began his career with the World Bank and subsequently held several prestigious appointments both with the Government of India and international organizations including the Word Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Dr Ahluwalia served as Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, when India’s reform process was started under Finance Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. He later served as Finance Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, and Member of the Planning Commission, and the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister. Just before taking over as Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission on 4 July 2004 after Dr Manmohan Singh was sworn in as India’s Prime Minister, Dr Ahluwalia was Director of the Independent Evaluation Office of the IMF in Washington DC. A prolific author and economic thinker, Dr Ahluwalia is married to renowned economist Isher Judge Ahluwalia. They have a son and a daughter.