Arjun Singh (politician, born 1930)

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Arjun Singh
Arjun Singh 237.jpg
Arjun Singh in 1984
Minister of Human Resource Development
In office
Preceded byMurli Manohar Joshi
Succeeded byKapil Sibal
12th Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh
In office
8 June 1980 – 10 March 1985
Preceded byPresident's rule
Succeeded byMotilal Vora
In office
14 February 1988 – 24 January 1989
Preceded byMotilal Vora
Succeeded byMotilal Vora
Personal details
Born(1930-11-05)5 November 1930
Churhat, Central Provinces, British India
Died4 March 2011(2011-03-04) (aged 80)
New Delhi, India
Spouse(s)Saroj Kumari
Alma materAllahabad University

Arjun Singh (5 November 1930 – 4 March 2011) was an Indian politician from the Indian National Congress party, who served two terms as the 12th Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh in the 1980s. He later became Union Minister of Human Resource Development in the Manmohan Singh cabinet from 2004 to 2009.


Arjun Singh was born in a Baghel Rajput family. His father was Rao Shiv Bahadur Singh of Churhat thikana. His son Ajay Singh aka Rahul Bhaiya is former leader of opposition in Madhya pradesh assembly. His grandson Kunwar Aishwarya Singh is married to Devyani Rana, great-granddaughter of Shree Tin Maharaja Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, former Prime Minister of Nepal. She is daughter of Nepalese politician Pashupati Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana and Usharaje Scindia, daughter of Gwalior King Jivajirao Scindia.

His another grandson through Ajay Singh is Bollywood actor Arunoday Singh.


Singh died on 4 March 2011, at the age of 80. He had been admitted in Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences a few days previously with chest neurological problems and died of a heart attack.[1] He was cremated at his home town of Churhat, Madhya Pradesh.[2][3]


Arjun Singh assumes the charge of Union Minister for Human Resource Development in New Delhi on 24 May 2004

He was a minister in the P.V. Narasimha Rao cabinet but he resigned after the Babri Masjid demolition. At the time, he formed the All India Indira Congress (Tiwari) along with Narayan Dutt Tiwari, former Union minister and ex-CM of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand (formerly Uttaranchal) as President, but he lost in the 1996 Loksabha elections from Satna in Madhya Pradesh and the Congress too lost power at the center.

Later he returned to Congress and lost again from Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh. He served as Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh three times, Union minister and Governor of Punjab once for a short period. As Governor of Punjab, he worked for the Rajiv-Longowal Accord for peace in Punjab. He was awarded the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 2000.


Bhopal Incident[edit]

Arjun Singh was the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh when the deadly gas leak from the Union Carbide factory occurred. It is widely alleged that on the fateful night between 2 and 3 December 1984, when the gas leak occurred, Arjun Singh fled to his Kerwa Dam Palace (outside Bhopal) to save himself from deadly effects of leaked gas and was not available to manage the crisis or lead the administration.[4]

Subsequently, the Arjun Singh government's mishandling was criticised by the court in the verdict on Bhopal incident pronounced by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bhopal on 7 June 2010. The media raised serious questions about his role in the release of Warren Anderson.[5]

In particular, the pilot of the aircraft in which Warren Anderson flew out of India after the gas leak, has recorded that the final sanction to permit the flight came from Arjun Singh's office.[6]

Churhat lottery case and Kerwa Dam palace[edit]

While Arjun Singh was the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, he was involved in the scandal which was called by some the Churhat Lottery case. The Churhat Children Welfare Society was floated in 1982 by relatives of Singh, and permitted to raise funds via lottery, and also given tax relief as a charity.[7] However, there were widespread allegations[8] that a substantial sums were siphoned off and used to construct the lavish Kerwa Dam palace near Bhopal. The donations to the society included a Rs 150,000 donation from Union Carbide,[6] whose chief Warren Anderson was permitted to leave the country after the gas leak, allegedly by Arjun Singh's office.

At a public litigation hearing the high court observed that "Arjun Singh owed an explanation to the nation about the costs and sources of construction of the palatial mansion in Bhopal".[9] While Singh had claimed the value of the palace was Rs 1.8 million, the IT Department estimated the cost at above Rs one crore.[10] However, a one-judge commission investigating the scandal gave a clean chit to Arjun Singh.[11] The case was re-opened however, after the Jain Hawala case,[9] and Singh was asked to submit fresh re-estimates of the palace cost. In court, the case was argued by Kapil Sibal and the order for re-examination was squashed on the grounds that it had been issued in a haste and "had not applied his mind".[9]

Other controversies[edit]

After the Mumbai train bombings of 2006, he reportedly quoted at a Cabinet meeting the statements of a former judge of the Maharashtra High Court that an earlier attempt on the headquarters of the Hindu revivalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in Nagpur had been a plot set into motion by the Sangh itself. This followed his denouncement of the Ekal Vidyalayas, one-teacher schools run for the benefit of the tribals of India by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.,[12] as communal.[13]

A case under the Anti-Dowry Act has been registered against Arjun Singh.[14] Mayawati government has decided to seek CBI inquiry into dowry harassment case.[15]

Arjun Singh was accused of irregularities and corruption in the grant of Deemed University status to private for-profit educational institutions which did not meet requisite educational standards, during his tenure as Minister for Human Resources Development. The Government of India initiated proceedings to repeal the "Deemed University" status of 44 such institutions in Jan 2010.[16]

Positions held[edit]

He was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh without opposition on 20 March 2006.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Veteran Congress leader Arjun Singh dies
  2. ^ Veteran Congress leader Arjun Singh dies
  3. ^ "Arjun Singh to be cremated tomorrow in Churhat". APN News. 5 March 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  4. ^ Arjun Singh, the missing MP Chief Minister during Bhopal Gas tragedy
  5. ^ "How Anderson came and left", The Bhopal Post, 9 June 2010.
  6. ^ a b "NATIONAL POLITICS: BJP loses appetite for dinner, not pact | News from Darjeeling, Dooars & Sikkim". 13 June 2010. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  7. ^ O. P. Ralhan (1998). Encyclopaedia of political parties : India, Pakistan, Bangladesh; national, regional, local. Anmol Publications. ISBN 81-7488-865-9. p. 89
  8. ^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Main News". Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  9. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 June 2006. Retrieved 27 July 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ Singh, N. K. (15 December 1986). "Police fortify Arjun Singh's mansion to prevent 'undesirable elements' from entering". India Today. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 October 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 June 2006. Retrieved 30 July 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 November 2006. Retrieved 27 July 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 4 August 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "44 Deemed Universities To Be De-Recognised By Govt". The Times of India. 19 January 2010.
  17. ^ CV at Indian Parliament website Archived 28 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ "Arjun, Bhardwaj, Shinde elected unopposed to Rajya Sabha",, 20 March 2006.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Rajmangal Pandey
Union Human Resources Development Minister
Succeeded by
P. V. Narasimha Rao
Preceded by
Murli Manohar Joshi
Union Human Resources Development Minister
Succeeded by
Kapil Sibal