Rao Birender Singh

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For the contemporary Haryana politician by the same name see Ch. Birender Singh
Rao Birender Singh
2nd Chief Minister of Haryana
In office
24 March 1967 - 2 November 1967
Preceded by Bhagwat Dayal Sharma
Succeeded by President's rule
Personal details
Political party Vishal Haryana Party

Rao Birender Singh (b 20 February 1921 - died: 30 September 2009) was an Indian politician. He served first as a minister in the state government of Punjab. He served as Chief Minister of Haryana for a few months (March to November) in 1967, and also served as a minister in Punjab state, Haryana state and the Union cabinet. He also served as the first speaker of Haryana state assembly in 1966-67.

Early life[edit]

Birendra Singh was born in the village of Nangal Pathani in present-day Haryana as the son of Bahal Singh, an affluent land-owner who belonged to a branch of the royal family of Rewari. At a relatively young age, he was given in adoption by his father to Rao Balbir Singh, the titular ruler of Rewari, who did not have a son or heir of his own. Rao Balbir Singh was the son of Rao Yudhishthir Singh, who was the eldest son and heir of Rao Tula Ram, last actual ruler of Rewari. Rao Tula Ram had fought against the British during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and had thereby lost his lands after the British forces had prevailed over the rebels. The dynasty belongs to the Yadav caste.

After his adoption, Birendra Singh was taken away from the village where he grew up and sent to boarding school in Dehradun, to receive an education appropriate to his new status and future responsibilities. He attended the Col. Brown Cambridge School in Dehradun and graduated from St. Stephen's College, Delhi. He also enrolled in the Territorial Army during the Second World War.

Career[edit]

East Punjab[edit]

The years that Birendra Singh spent at St. Stephan's college were the early years of India's independence. The college was situated in New Delhi, the very hub of political activity, and Birendra Singh was drawn to politics by the environment. The first elections in free India were held in 1952 and Birendra Singh contested as an independent candidate from his native Ahirwal region, of which the city of Rewari is the urban center. He lost that election because there were many twists and turns of the politics in the Ahirwal region.

Birendra Singh then joined the Congress Party. Rather than contest elections to the State Legislative Assembly, he managed to get himself nominated to the State Legislative Council, which is the upper house of the state legislature. He managed this feat by ingratiating himself with Nehru on the basis of his clipped accent and very 'progressive' views on any subject, all of which resonated with Nehru. His royal background could also prove useful to Nehru while dealing with more recalcitrant royals from the princely states. Thus, Birendra Singh became a member of the State Legislature of the Indian state of undivided Punjab, known informally as East Punjab, without winning an election. He would serve as a nominated member for two successive terms (a total of 12 years) until 1966. During these years, he was made a minister in the Pratap Singh Kairon government and held charge, at various times, of several important ministries like PWD, Irrigation, Power, Revenue and Consolidation, etc.

Creation of Haryana[edit]

A few words regarding the development of state boundaries in northern India would not be out of place here. When India became independent in 1947, the old province of Punjab was partitioned and East Punjab was retained by India. Several Princely states located in the plains of East Punjab were merged to create the state of PEPSU. Several other princely states in the hills of East Punjab were similarly merged to create the Chief Commissioners' Province of Himachal. The portion which had been directly ruled by the British (rather than by the Maharajas of various princely states) became a third, separate state and received the name Punjab. The Ahirwal region and Rewari lay within this state of Punjab (India), and Birendra Singh was a minister in this state. In the period 1956-66, the three political entities described above were merged and de-merged so that finally, in 1966, the political map of the region as it stands today emerged.

The final step in this process of re-organization was the separation of the Hindi-speaking areas of Punjab into the new state of Haryana, and the creation of the Union Territory of Chandigarh to serve as the common capital of both states. This was accomplished after some acrimony and political maneuvering. Rao Birendra Singh played a prominent role in this process of division. He did so because Ahirwal/Rewari was a Hindi-speaking area in the near vicinity of Delhi and he felt that the Hindi-speaking people of undivided Punjab were not getting their just due in the political dispensation. Therefore, beginning 1962, he spearheaded the campaign for division and achieved success when the state of Haryana was born in November 1966.

Defection from Congress[edit]

After the formation of Haryana in November 1966, Bhagwat Dayal Sharma became Haryana's first Chief Minister, and Birendra Singh was elected the first speaker of the Haryana assembly which was a spin-off from the Punjab Assembly. The first ever poll to Haryana Vidhan Sabha was held in March 1967. Birender Singh was elected a member of the Haryana Legislative Assembly from the Pataudi assembly constituency as Congress Party's candidate. But he established the Vishal Haryana Party immediately by defecting from Congress with many MLAs; on 23 March 1967, he became the Chief Minister of Haryana with his newly formed VHP assuming power.

But the assembly was dissolved, and Haryana placed under President's rule, in November 1967. Congress won the Vidhan Sabha election in 1968 and Bansi Lal became Chief Minister. Birender Singh's VHP came creditable second to Congress in the election.

He was elected to the 5th Lok Sabha in 1971 from the Mahendragarh on the Vishal Haryana Party ticket.

Later career[edit]

In September 1978 he merged this party with the Congress. In 1980, he was re-elected to the 7th Lok Sabha and he played a prominent role in the formation of the Congress Government in the centre. He served as Cabinet Minister of Food, Agriculture, Rural development, Irrigation, Civil supply. In 1984, he was re-elected to the 8th Lok Sabha from Mahendragarh and became a part of The Rajiv Gandhi's ministry. He later resigned from both the Congress party and the Lok Sabha in 1989 on the issue of Boffors Top. He joined Janta dal and was elected to 9th Loksabha in 1989, and became Cabinet minister in the Chander Shekhar's Govt. He left the active politics after 1996. Rao Birender Singh died on 30 September 2009 in the age of 89.

Contribution to Rewari[edit]

By his efforts Rewari was made a separate district in 1989.

Education and welfare of Ahirwal areas[edit]

Apart from his political service to the Nation Rao Birender Singh also served the backward areas of Ahirwal by establishing many educational institutions like Ahir College Rewari, RBS School-Rewari, Rao Tula Ram School- Rewari, Rao Tula Ram Technical College- Delhi. He is the founder of RBS College of Education- Rampura, Rewari.

Death[edit]

He died of cardiac arrest in Gurgaon on 30 September 2009.[1]

Legacy[edit]

He was the direct descendant of Rao Tula Ram (a most important figure from Haryana in 1857 revolt) and his son Inderjit Singh is currently a member of parliament from Gurgaon constituency of Haryana state.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Birender Singh, second CM of Haryana, passes away". Indian Express. 1 October 2009. Retrieved 14 March 2011.