NEW DELHI: With his ear to the bottom and eye on the nationwide politics, Congress veteran Buta Singh was the quintessential politician who sailed by means of essentially the most turbulent years of Indian politics with deftness and diligence, and went on to turn into the digital No. 2 within the Rajiv Gandhi authorities within the late Eighties.
Singh, a outstanding Dalit face of the grand previous social gathering and a staunch loyalist of Rajiv Gandhi, died on the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) right here on Saturday morning after being comatose for a number of weeks. He was 86.
In a chequered political profession spanning over 5 a long time, Singh typically discovered himself on the centre of main controversies, however he at all times discovered a solution to bounce again.
Born right into a humble ‘mazhbi’ Sikh household in Mustafapur in Punjab’s Jalandhar district on March 21, 1934, Singh was a member of Lok Sabha for eight phrases, held a number of positions in diverse ideological dispensations on the Centre and have become the Governor of Bihar in 2004.
He rose to nationwide prominence within the Eighties as he was the lone Sikh face within the Rajiv Gandhi cupboard within the interval after the Operation Blue Star and the anti-Sikh riots of 1984. He succeeded P V Narasimha Rao as the house minister in 1986 and served in that place until 1989 when the Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress misplaced the election.
Before Rajiv Gandhi, Singh was near his mom and predecessor Indira Gandhi and held a number of positions in her authorities. He additionally performed a task in deciding on the Congress’s new ballot image — “hand” — after the social gathering cut up in 1978.
But, Singh needed to pay a value for his shut affiliation with the Gandhis and his positions within the successive Congress governments — he was excommunicated from the socio-religious order of the Sikhs in April 1985 for his function within the Operation Blue Star that triggered injury to the Akal Takht, the very best temporal seat of the Sikhism.
Nearly 10 years after the occasions on the Golden Temple, he sought atonement and returned to the Sikh fold. In March 1994, he was granted pardon.
Pictures of him present process the punishment of dusting footwear, washing dishes and sweeping flooring on the Golden Temple and different gurudwaras, with a plaque round his neck declaring him a sinner, went viral on the time.
He additionally had his fair proportion of controversies — over consecration of bricks for a Ram temple in Ayodhya in 1989 and over dismissal of many state governments throughout his tenure as residence minister.
As the Union residence minister in 1989, Singh had a task within the consecration of bricks inscribed with Lord Ram that have been delivered to Ayodhya for the temple building even when the land was disputed.
Years later, he needed to stop as Bihar Governor after the Supreme Court was important of his function in recommending the dissolution of the state Assembly in 2005. He resigned in 2006.
In his preliminary political life, Singh was related to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). He joined the Congress within the early Sixties. He was first elected to the Lower House of Parliament in 1962 from Punjab. Later, he represented Rajasthan’s Jalore constituency in Lok Sabha.
He converted to the BJP briefly and have become the Minister for Communications within the Atal Bihari Vajpayee cupboard in March 1998.
He was indicted within the JMM bribery case in 1998 and needed to resign because the Union communications minister thereafter.
He, nonetheless, switched again to the Congress and was made the Governor of Bihar.
A outstanding Dalit chief, he began because the convenor of the All India Congress Committee’s (AICC) Harijan cell in 1973-74, after which he grew to become the AICC common secretary in 1978.
Singh grew to become the Union deputy minister, railways in 1974 and the Union deputy minister, commerce in 1976. In 1980, he grew to become the Union minister of state, transport and transport and was additionally given the portfolio of sports activities (impartial cost) in 1982.
In 1983, then prime minister Indira Gandhi elevated him as the cupboard minister for parliamentary affairs, sports activities and works and housing.
In 1984, he was made the Union minister for agriculture and rural improvement and in 1986, the Union residence minister within the Rajiv Gandhi cupboard.
Under P V Narasimha Rao, Singh was the Union minister of civil provides, shopper affairs and public distribution from 1995 to 1996.
He was appointed the chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) by Manmohan Singh in 2007. He held that put up until 2010.
Singh was instrumental in constructing and re-building many gurdwaras within the nation and overseas, particularly the Akal Takht, after Operation Blue Star in 1984. He was concerned within the reconstruction of many gurudwaras in Delhi after the anti-Sikh riots of November, 1984.
He was additionally the chairperson of the Asian Games organising committee when the competitors was held in India in 1982.