Name : I. K.GujralFull Name : Inder Kumar Gujral13th Prime Minister of India Prime minister in office 21 April 1997 – 19 March 1998 Date of birth : 4 December 1919Place of birth : Jhelum (now in Pakistan)Nationality : Indian Gender : Male Spouse : Sheila GujralFather : Shri Avtar Narain Gujral Mother : Smt. Pushpa GujralPolitical party : Janata Dal
This is the Jalandhari to reach the most powerful position in the biggest democracy in the world. It is the matter of honour for any city to have such a jewel. Though he was Born in the town of Jhelum now in Western Punjab which is now in Pakistan but he and his family have made Jalandhar their home for a long time. He and his family took active part in freedom struggle. As a PM minister of India he sanctioned Science City(named after his mother Pushpa Gujral) and Medical College in Jalandhar. He is M.A., B.Com. Ph.D. & D.Litt. (Hons. Causa). Gujral and Smt. Shiela Gujral were married on May 26, 1945. He sworn in as the 12th Prime Minister of India on Monday, the 21st of April, 1997.
Inder Kumar Gujral belongs to a family of freedom fighters both his parents participated in the freedom struggle in Punjab. He actively took part in India’s freedom struggle, and was jailed in 1942 during ‘Quit India Movement’.
Gujral was the Minister of External Affairs from June 1, 1996 and held additional charge of the Ministry of Water Resources from June 28, 1996. He was the Minister of External Affairs earlier during 1989-1990.
He was Ambassador of India to U.S.S.R. (Cabinet Rank) from 1976-1980. He was the Minister of Communications & Parliamentary Affairs; Minister of Information & Broadcasting and Communications; Minister of Works & Housing; Minister of information & Broadcasting; Minister of Planning. Minister in Indira Gandhi governmentIn the tumultuous days of June 1975, he was minister of Information and Broadcasting. On June 12,1975, the Allahabad high court gave a verdict that Prime Minister Indira Gandhi used unfair means in elections of 1971 and termed her election null and void. There were reports that her son, Sanjay Gandhi brought people from neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh in a number of trucks to Delhi and held massive demonstrations in support of the Prime Minister. It was also reported that Sanjay wanted Gujral to give coverage of the rallies on state run television and radio. However Gujral refused to obey Sanjay Gandhi, who did not hold any constitutional post. Many people believe that it was the reason why Gujral was replaced by Vidya Charan Shukla as minister of Information and Broadcasting.
Later, Gujral was appointed India’s ambassador to Russia. By the time of Indira Gandhi’s return to power in 1980,as the Indian envoy to Moscow.
In Janata DalGujral left the 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 1989 elections, Gujral was elected from Jallandhar parliamentary constituency of Punjab. He served as Minister of External Affairs in V.P.Singh cabinet. The issue he had to deal with as External Affairs Minister was Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent events that led to first gulf war of January 1991.In 1989 V P Singh sent him to Srinagar to seal the deal with the kidnappers in case of 1989 kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed . As India’s representative, he personally met with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. His hug with Hussein during the meeting remains a matter of controversy. In 1991 mid-term parliamentary elections, Gujral contested from Patna constituency in Bihar against Janata Dal(S) 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.
After 1996 elections, when United Front government was formed at the center under the leadership of H.D.Deve Gowda, he was again named Minister of External Affairs of India. During his second tenure as Minister of External Affairs, he propounded his ‘Gujral Doctrine’ which called for better relations with neighbors.
Before becoming the Prime Minister of India in April 1997, he served the country as Union Minister or Minister of State holding different portfolios in the Ministries of Communications and Parliamentary Affairs, Information & Broadcasting, Works & Housing, Planning and Ministry of External Affairs.
Prime MinisterThe Congress party, which was supporting the United Front government from outside decided to withdraw support, which led to the collapse of the government in April 1997.In order to avoid elections, compromise was reached and the Congress party agreed to support another United Front government under new leader, provided its concerns like 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 April 21,1997.
Gujral inherited the bitterness between Congress party and the United Front from his predecessor, HD Deve Gowda. However he maintained good relations with the Congress party that was supporting his government from outside. Within a few weeks in office, Prime Minister Gujral faced a trouble, not from the Congress party but within his own Janata Dal. The CBI 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 with 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 Laloo Prasad 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 Laloo Prasad Yadav felt that he no longer enjoyed commanding position in Janata Dal, he left the party and formed his own ‘Rashtriya Janata Dal’ (RJD) on July 3, 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 October 21,1997. The 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 aspect of Rajiv Gandhi assassination case were leaked to the press. Reportedly, the Jain Commission had indicted the political party, DMK (Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam) for tacitly supporting the 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 November 23,1997, he gave a hint of what was to follow saying ‘mid-term elections are around the corner’.The Congress party finally withdrew support to his government on November 28,1997. Gujral resigned following the withdrawal of support by the congress party. As no alternative government could be formed, the only alternative was mid-term elections, as Gujral had foreseen.
The Gujral Government was in the mire of a very fractious, chaotic stage in the evolution of democracy in India. It failed to achieve any particular goal towards national progress and public welfare.
The elections were held in February-March 1998.Gujral contested again from Jallandhar 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 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 May 29,1998, 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 Pakistan Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif. On April 19,1999, when the BJP-led government sought vote of confidence on the floor of the Lok Sabha after the withdrawal of support by AIADMK, Gujral opposed the government.
Gujral DoctrineThe Gujral Doctrine is a set of five principles to guide the conduct of foreign relations with India’s immediate neighbours as spelt out by I.K. Gujral, first as India’s foreign 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 difficultrelationship 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.
He did not contest 1999 elections and retired from active politics.
He speaks fluent Urdu, and spends part of his leisure time writing Urdu couplets, a poetic form that traces back to India’s Mogul emperors. His brother Satish Gujral is a prominent painter and architect. Gujral and his wife Sheila Gujral, a poet and the author of several books have two sons; Naresh and Vishal Gujral. He has two granddaughters; Deeksha and Diva Gujral and a grandson; Anichya Gujral.
In 2004, his son Naresh Gujral unsuccessfully contested with an Shiromani Akali Dal seat from Jalandhar, Punjab constituency in the Indian General Elections.Source Wiki and pers.