Vidya Charan Shukla
|Vidya Charan Shukla|
|Minister of External Affairs|
21 November 1990 – 20 February 1991
|Prime Minister||Chandra Shekhar|
|Preceded by||I. K. Gujral|
|Succeeded by||Madhavsinh Solanki|
|Born||2 August 1929
Raipur, Central Provinces and Berar, British India
now Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India
|Died||11 June 2013
Medanta Medicity, Gurgaon, Haryana
|Political party||Indian National Congress
Vidya Charan Shukla (2 August 1929 – 11 June 2013) was a noted Indian statesman and Minister in a long span of almost six decades in Indian politics. He was a close associate of Indira Gandhi.
Vidya Charan Shukla was born at Raipur, Central Provinces and Berar. His father Pt. Ravishankar Shukla was a lawyer, freedom fighter, veteran Congressman, Premier of Central Provinces and Berar and the first Chief Minister of reorganised Madhya Pradesh. Shyama Charan Shukla, three times Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh was his elder brother.
Vidya Charan Shukla graduated from Morris College, Nagpur in 1951. He started Allwyn Cooper Private Ltd., which was organizing big-game safari and photo expeditions of wildlife in Central Indian forests.
For the general elections in 1957 the Congress Party chose him as their Lok Sabha candidate from Mahasamund constituency. He won with a thumping victory to enter the Parliament of India as one of its youngest Parliamentarians. He returned elected to Lok Sabha 9 times in subsequent elections.
When Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister in 1966, he was chosen as a Minister in the her Cabinet. He was Minister of State under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from 1967 to 1977 including as Minister of State with Independent Charge of Information and Broadcasting. Despite a versatile career, Shukla’s role as Information and Broadcasting Minister during the Emergency period had got him some odium as propagandist for Indira Gandhi’s government. His ministry attracted adverse attention for the media censor policy during that period when Freedom of speech was under attack. The Justice Shah Commission of Inquiry which went into the Emergency excesses,was stunned when V. C. Shukla owned entire responsibility for the functioning of his ministry. He had banned Kishore Kumar’s songs on All India Radio because Kishore Kumar had refused to sing at an Indira Gandhi rally. He was known for his iron-fist handling of the media during the Emergency. He was also a minister in Rajiv Gandhi lead Congress government, but left and joined the revolt against Rajiv Gandhi in the mid-1980s and was one of the founders of Jan Morcha along-with Arun Nehru, V.P. Singh and Arif Mohammad Khan. He later became a minister in the National Front government of 1989-90 under V.P. Singh and switched allegiance to join the subsequent Chandrasekhar government and served as Minister for External Affairs of India during 1990-91 under Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, during the Lok Sabha as a member of Janata Dal. But he again returned to Congress Party and also served as Cabinet Minister under Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao during 1991-96 as Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Minister of Irrigation. In 1999 he left Congress due to his differences with Ajit Jogi and joined Bharatiya Janata Party when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was at helm of affairs and was made a member of BJP's central committee. But in 2003 he shifted to Nationalist Congress Party and headed the Chhattisgarh Unit of NCP. However, he again changed his political allegiance and joined BJP towards end of 2003, but in 2004 after BJP-lead NDA was defeated in elections and he himself lost on BJP ticket from Mahasamund, where his opponent was his own nephew, Amitesh Shukla, who was contesting on a Congress ticket. Both of them lost the elections as their family vote bank got divided. After the defeat he resigned from BJP in 2004. From 2004 he was in political state of limbo and was trying to return to Congress Party till finally in 2007, when Sonia Gandhi, the authoritarian congress leader, approved his return to the Congress party.
Vidya Charan Shukla was close to his 86th birthday and was part of Congress Party's Parivartan Yatra in Chhattisgarh, when he got bullet injuries in Naxal attack on 25 May 2013. He was later shifted to Medanta at Gurgaon, where he succumbed to his injuries on 11 June 2013.
President Pranab Mukherjee in his condolence message said Vidya Charan Shukla was a veteran Parliamentarian, able administrator and an outstanding statesman. Shekhar Dutt, the Chhattisgarh Governor said his death marks the end of an era. Several leaders including Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Lal Krishna Advani and others, cutting across party lines paid tribute to him and many national leaders were present at his last rites.
He is survived by his wife and three daughters.
- "List of Members of 9th Lok Sabha from Madhya Pradesh". loksabha.nic.in. Lok Sabha/National Informatics Centre, New Delhi. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- "President Mukherjee condoles Vidya Charan Shukla's demise". Yahoo.news. 11 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "A memorable evening with Vidya Charan Shukla". Kafila. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "VC Shukla dies of Maoist bullet wounds". The Telegraph, Kolkata. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "VC Shukla to rejoin Congress". hinudustan times. 21 September 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- "V C Shukla to head NCP's Chhattisgarh unit". Rediff.com. 11 April 2003. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- "Veteran Congress leader Vidya Charan Shukla dies of bullet wounds". The Indian Express. 11 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "Leaders unite in their condolence for V C Shukla". Times of India. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- "President, PM express condolence over ex-union minister VC Shukla's death". Post. 12 June 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
Inder Kumar Gujral
|Minister for External Affairs of India