Former Prime Minister IK Gujral passes away

PTI | DECEMBER 01, 2012, 07:41 PM IST

Former Prime Minister I K Gujral, who headed a ricketycoalition government in the late 1990s, died on Friday after a brief illness.

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

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

He will be cremated in nearby Delhi on Saturday.

Gujral, who migrated from Pakistan after partition, rose tobecome the Prime Minister with a big slice of luck after he came up through theranks - starting as vice-president in NDMC in the '50s to later become a Unionminister and then India's ambassador to the USSR.

Educated at DAV College, Haily College of Commerce andForman Christian College, Lahore (now in Pakistan), Gujral took active part instudent politics.

After the tumultuous events that rocked the sub-continent inthe wake of partition in August 1947, Gujral crossed over to India.

Braving heavy odds with his perseverance, resilience andnever-say-die attitude, Gujral first became vice-president of the New DelhiMunicipal Committee in 1958. He formally joined Congress and six years later,Indira Gandhi, to whom he said he owed everything, gave him a ticket with whichhe entered Rajya Sabha in April 1964.

This was the beginning of a long innings, both in thenational politics and diplomacy.

He was part of the 'coterie' that helped Indira Gandhibecome Prime Minister in 1966. In Gandhi's government, he held severalportfolios as Union minister for Communications, parliamentary affairs andhousing.

He was the information and broadcasting minister whenEmergency was imposed (on June 25, 1975), which brought in arbitrary presscensorship.

Since he refused to kowtow to the powers-that-be, he wastaken out of the ministry and sent by Indira Gandhi as ambassador to Moscow, apost he handled with tact and finesse. He continued even during the tenures ofher two successors, Morarji Desai and Charan Singh.

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