PM, political leaders pay homage to IK Gujral

Last Updated: Sat, Dec 01, 2012 07:20 hrs

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and several other political leaders on Saturday paid homage to the former premier Inder Kumar Gujral, who succumbed to lung infection at 92.

Gujral succumbed to lung infection in a private hospital of New Delhi's satellite town of Gurgaon, on Friday (November 30) evening.

Indian soldiers and officers saluted the casket that contained Gujral's body. It was wrapped with the national flag before leaving for his official residence in New Delhi.

On Saturday, Singh along with his wife Gursharan Kaur, Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah and politburo member of Communist Party of India, Sitaram Yechury, and several others paid their tribute to the departed soul.

Born on December 04, 1919, Gujral served as the 12th Prime Minister of India from April 1997 to March 1998.

Mourning his demise, leader of India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, Ananth Kumar described Gujral as a simple person.

"Inder Kumar Gujral was known for his peaceful policies which helped in maintaining cordial relations with India's neighbours. He was a personification of simplicity, gentleness and politeness. I pay my tribute to him," he said.

It was during the days of emergency, when it was imposed in 1975 that Gujral was India's Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

He was also appointed as Ambassador of India to the erstwhile Soviet Union.

It was in the mid-1980s that he left the Congress party and joined the Janata Dal.

Gujral was elected from the Jalandhar parliamentary constituency in northern India's Punjab state in the 1989 elections to the parliament.

He was the Foreign Affairs Minister in the cabinet of former Prime Minister V. P. Singh.

One of the challenging issues with which he dealt during his stint as foreign minister was Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the events that led to the first Gulf War in January 1991.

He personally met Iraq's President Saddam Hussein.

During the 1991 mid-term parliamentary elections, Gujral contested against Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya) candidate and then-Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha from Patna constituency in eastern Bihar state.

However, in wake of reports of large scale irregularities, the elections were cancelled.

Gujral was elected to the upper house of the Indian Parliament, Rajya Sabha in 1992 and was a prominent leader of the Janata Dal.

His second stint as foreign minister took place when when the United Front government was formed at the center under the premiership of H. D. Deve Gowda in 1996.

His 'Gujral Doctrine', became popular as he pressed for cordial relations with neighbouring countries.

He also served as junior minister and held several other portfolios including Communications and Parliamentary Affairs and Information and Broadcasting.

He is survived by two sons, Naresh and Vishal Gujral and his wife Sheila Gujral had died in 2011. (ANI)

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