Devi Lal (politician)

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Devi Lal
Chaudhary Devi Lal 2001 stamp of India.jpg
Chaudhary Devi Lal on a 2001 stamp of India
6th Deputy Prime Minister of India
In office
2 December 1989 – 21 June 1991
Prime MinisterV. P. Singh
Chandra Shekhar
Preceded byYashwantrao Chavan
Succeeded byL. K. Advani
5th Chief Minister of Haryana
In office
17 July 1987 – 2 December 1989
GovernorMuzaffar Husain Burney
Hara Anand Barari
Preceded byBansi Lal
Succeeded byOm Prakash Chautala
In office
21 June 1977 – 28 June 1979
GovernorJaisukh Lal Hathi
Harcharan Singh Brar
Preceded byBanarsi Das Gupta
Succeeded byBhajan Lal
Personal details
Devi Dayal Sihag

(1915-09-25)25 September 1915
Teja Khera, Punjab, British India
(now in Haryana, India)
Died6 April 2001(2001-04-06) (aged 85)
New Delhi, India
Political partyIndian National Lok Dal (1996–2001)
Other political
Indian National Congress (before 1971)
Independent (1971–1977)
Janata Party (1977–1987)
Janata Dal (1988–1990)
Samajwadi Janata Party (1990–1996)

Chaudhary Devi Lal (born Devi Dayal; 25 September 1915 – 6 April 2001) was an Indian politician who served as 6th Deputy Prime Minister of India from 1989–91 in the governments of V. P. Singh and Chandra Shekhar. He also twice served as Chief Minister of Haryana, first in 1977–79 and then in 1987–89.

Personal life[edit]

Devi Lal was born in Teja Khera village of Sirsa district in present-day Haryana. His mother's name was Shugna Devi and father's name was Lekh Ram Sihag. Lekh Ram was a Jat of Chautala village and he owned 2750 bighas of land. He received education up to middle-school.[1] His son Om Prakash Chautala has also served as Haryana's chief minister four times.

Devi Lal's ancestral roots lie in Bikaner, Rajasthan, from where his great-grandfather Tejaram had migrated. Devi Lal's father Lekhram relocated to Chautala village in 1919 when Devi Lal was five years old. In 1928 at the age of 16 Devi Lal participated in demonstration by Lala Lajpat Rai. He was a student of "Dev Samaj Public High School Moga" in Moga during his 10th class, at that time was arrested at Congress office in 1930, he quit studies and joined freedom movement. He also a wrestling Akhara at Badal village in Punjab where he became close to the Dhillon clan of Parkash Singh Badal. He was first elected MLA in 1952.[2]

Devi Lal comes from a prolific political dynasty of Haryana. His elder brother Sahib Ram Sihag was the first politician from the family who became Congress MLA from Hisar in 1938 and 1947.[3] Devi Lal had four sons, Partap Singh, Om Prakash Chautala, Ranjit Singh and Jagdish Chander. All joined politics except Jagdish who died at a young age.[4] His eldest son, Partap Singh, was an MLA from Indian National Lok Dal in the 1960s.[4]

Independence movement[edit]

Chaudhary Devi Lal was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and was involved in the struggle for India's independence from the British Raj. Both he and his elder brother, Sahib Ram, left their studies unfinished to take part in the freedom movement.[citation needed]

For this, he was sentenced to one year rigorous imprisonment and sent to Hissar jail on 8 October 1930. He took part in the movement of 1932 and was kept in Sadar Delhi Thana. In 1938 he was selected delegate of All-India Congress Committee. In March 1938 his elder brother was elected a Member of the Legislative Assembly in a by-election on the Congress party ticket. In January 1940, Sahib Ram courted arrest as a satyagrahi in the presence of Devi Lal and over ten thousand people. He was fined Rs 100 and sentenced to 9 months imprisonment.[citation needed]

Devi Lal was arrested on 5 October 1942 and kept in jail for two years for taking part in the 1942 Quit India movement. He was released from prison in October 1943 and he negotiated parole for his elder brother. In August 1944, Chhotu Ram, the then Revenue Minister, visited Chautala village. He, along with Lajpat Rai Alakhpura, made efforts to woo both Sahib Ram and Devi Lal to desert Congress and join the Unionist Party. But both workers, being dedicated freedom fighters, refused to leave the Congress Party.[citation needed]

Post independence[edit]

After independence, he emerged as a popular leader of farmers in India and Devi Lal started a farmer's movement and was arrested along with his 500 workers. After some time, then Chief Minister, Gopi Chand Bhargava, made an agreement and the Muzzara Act was amended. He was elected a member of the Punjab Assembly in 1952 and President of the Punjab Congress in 1956.[citation needed]

He played an active and decisive role in the formation of Haryana as a separate state. In 1958, he was elected from Sirsa. In 1971 he left Congress and in 1974 successfully contested against it in the Rori constituency. In 1975, Indira Gandhi declared the Emergency and Devi Lal along with all opposition leaders were jailed for 19 months. In 1977, the emergency ended and general elections were held. He was elected on the Janata Party ticket and became the Chief Minister of Haryana. For his steadfast opposition to emergency and dictatorial misrule, he became known as Sher-e-Haryana (Lion of Haryana).[citation needed]

He remained a Member of Parliament from 1980–82 and was a member of State assembly between 1982 and 1987. He formed Lok Dal and started Nyaya Yuddh (en. battle for justice), under the banner of Haryana Sangharsh Samiti, and became hugely popular among masses. In the 1987 state elections, the alliance led by Devi Lal won a record victory winning 85 seats in the 90 member house. Congress won the other five seats. Devi Lal became the Chief Minister of Haryana for the second time. In the 1989 parliamentary election, he was simultaneously elected, both from Sikar, Rajasthan and Rohtak, Haryana.

He twice became Deputy Prime Minister of India in two different governments.

He was elected to Rajya Sabha in August 1998. Later his son Om Prakash Chautala also became the Chief Minister of Haryana.[5]

After India independence in 1947, Devi Lal emerged as a leader of farmers. During his two tenures as chief minister of Haryana he made several decisions benefiting farmers and rural people. His popularity among farmers and rural people, earned him the title of 'Tau' (Elder Uncle). Devi Lal died on 6 April 2001 at the age of 85. He was cremated at Sangarsh Sthal on the banks of the river Yamuna in New Delhi. "Kisan Ghat" is the samadhi of another popular leader of the farmers, Charan Singh, fifth Prime Minister of India.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ History of Sirsa Town. Atlantic Publishers & Distri. p. 241.
  2. ^ "Om Prakash Chautala's ancestors came from Rajasthan". The Times of India. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  3. ^ "Bahu Naina broke glass ceiling of Chautala family politics]". The Indian Express. 24 January 2019. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  4. ^ a b "In Chautala, villagers say family feud no surprise". The Indian Express. 15 November 2018. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  5. ^ Sukumar Muralidharan (April 2001). "The Jat patriarch". Frontline. 18 (9).

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Banarsi Das Gupta
Chief Minister of Haryana
Succeeded by
Bhajan Lal
Preceded by
Bansi Lal
Chief Minister of Haryana
Succeeded by
Om Prakash Chautala
Preceded by
Yashwantrao Chavan
Deputy Prime Minister of India
Succeeded by
Lal Krishna Advani