Raj Narain

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Raj Narain
Lok-bandhu raj narain.jpg
Raj Narain
Health Minister of India
In office
March 1977 – January 1979
President Basappa Danappa Jatti and Neelam Sanjiva Reddy
Prime Minister Morarji Desai
Succeeded by Rabi Ray
Constituency Rai Bareli

Lokbandhu Raj Narain (1917 – December 31, 1986) was an Indian politician who, as a candidate of Janata Party for the Lok Sabha in 1977, ran for office in Rae Bareli constituency and defeated Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India.[1] Raj Narain, also called 'Lok Bandhu', had defeated former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in her own pocket borough soon after Emergency, had also played an active role in 1942 Quit India Movement.[2] He was the Minister of Health during Morarji Desai's ministry and a commemorative stamp was released in his honor by the former Vice President of India, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.[3] Raj Narain was the only politician who defeated Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, in the 1977 Lok Sabha elections in Rai Bareli[citation needed]. (Although he was defeated by her in 1971 elections.) Raj Narain accused Indira Gandhi of election fraud and filed an election petition against her. The Allahabad High Court, on 12 June 1975, upheld the accusations and set aside the election of Indira Gandhi and also disqualified her from running in the Lok Sabha elections for next 6 years. The present Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav unveiled a statue in his memory at Chandrabhanu Gupta Agriculture college which is close to the state capital Lucknow.[4][5]

Raj Narain was born in 1917 in a Bhumihar Brahmin family in Uttar Pradesh and studied M.A and LLB. He was born in a village named Motikoat, Gangapur in Varanasi. He was directly associated with the family of Maharaja Chet Singh and Maharaja Balwant Singh, who were kings of Varanasi over a century back.

Narain joined Socialist Party and held many party positions. He was very close to Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, who described him as "A person who has [the] heart of a lion and [the] practices of Gandhi". Dr. Lohia admired him a lot, and even said that "if in India there could be just three or four persons like him, dictatorship can never shadow the democracy". He was elected to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly in 1952 and was the first opposition leader in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly after India's independence. He was in Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly for two terms, serving from 1952 to 1962. He was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1966 to 1972 and from 1974 to 1976. He was Minister of Health in Morarji Desai's Government from 1977 to 1980.

He is one of the pillars of Socialist movement in India along with Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia.

Narain was the President of Student Congress during the 1942 revolution, and he led the revolution in and around Varanasi district. The revolution under his leadership on August 9, 1942 is renowned in India. He was so active in the independence movement that the British government wanted to arrest him and in 1942, a prize of Rs. 5000 was offered to anybody who could apprehend him.

Narain was jailed 80 times, spending a total of nearly 17 years in jail of which 3 years was under British rule & 14 years under Congress rule (anti-government protests) during his life of 69 years.[citation needed]

He died on December 31, 1986 at 11:55PM at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi.


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