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|Health Minister of India|
March 1977 – January 1979
|President||Basappa Danappa Jatti and Neelam Sanjiva Reddy|
|Prime Minister||Morarji Desai|
|Succeeded by||Rabi Ray|
Raj Narain [November 1917-31 Dec 1986] known as 'Lokbandhu', was an Indian freedom fighter and politician. He won a case against the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, which led to her disqualification and imposition of Emergency in India in 1975. He defeated Indira Gandhi during the 1977 Lok Sabha elections.
Raj Narain was son of Shri Anant Prasad Singh, was born on Kartik Akshaya Navami of 1917 in an affluent Bhumihar Brahmin family in the village named Motikoat, Gangapur in Varanasi. He was from the Royal family of Varanasi and directly associated with the family of Maharaja Chet Singh and Maharaja Balwant Singh, who were kings of Varanasi, over a century back. He was educated at Banaras Hindu University, and did M.A. and LL.B.
Activities during India's Freedom Movement
A Political and Social worker he organized a school for adults, a girls school, a study centre and a labour organization and became member of Congress Socialist Party, in 1934, and National Committee of Students Federation, 1939-44.He was President of the Banaras University Mandal Congress Committee and Member of District Congress Committee(D.C.C.).
He was a great freedom fighter He was president of Student Congress during 1942 revolution, and led the revolution in and around Varanasi district in UP. The protest and revolution under his leadership on 9 August 1942, is considered as one of the best in the country. He was so active in freedom struggle that . Initially he was "underground" for three months and later arrested on 28 September 1942, during Quit India Movement and detained till 1945.
Activities Post Independence
When country got independence Raj Narain joined Socialist Party led by Acharya Narendra Deva, Jayprakash Narayan and Dr Rammanohar Lohia and held many party positions including Secretary Ship, of UP Socialist Party, 1948-51. He was very close to his Guru Acharya Narendra Deva and Dr. Rammanohar Lohia. Dr. Lohia described him as "a person who has heart of a Lion and 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 one of the pillars of Socialist movement in India[according to whom?] and .
He was elected to Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly in 1952. He was first "Leader of Opposition" of Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly after independence, and his second term ended in the year 1962.
He was Member, Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly, 1952-1962.Member National Executive, PSP, 1954-55. Chairman, Socialist Party,1961-64.Member Rajya Sabha, 1966–72 and 1974-77. Associated with CSP,1934–48, Socialist Party, 1948-52, Praja Socialist Party,1952-1955.Socialist Party,1956-64.Samyukta Socialist Party,1964-72.Socialist Party, 1971-72, Socialist Party(Lohia) 1972-74, Bhartiya Lok Dal, 1974-77.Janata Party, 1977–79, Janata Party (S), 1979-80. Democratic Socialist Party, 1981-83.Janata Party, 1983–84, and Socialist Party 1984 till his death in 1986.
Raj Narain who opposed policies and practices of Indira Gandhi, contested against the Prime Minister in 1971 Lok Sabha elections from Rai Bareli, as an SSP Candidate, although he suffered a defeat from her in 1971 elections but he accused Indira Gandhi of corrupt electoral practices 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 to contest Lok Sabha election for next 6 years, which led to the imposition of Emergency in India. Nationwide protest started and streets were flooded with people in the leadership of Loknayak Jai Prakash Narayan and Lokbandhu Raj Narain. This was biggest upset of Indian politics after independence, yet again by Raj Narain.
Known as biggest critique and adversary of Indira Gandhi, Upon Imposition of Emergency, Raj Narain was immediately arrested and imprisoned on the same day along with several premier oppositional leaders including J.P. Narayan, Morarji Desai, Satyendra Narayan Sinha, Chaudhry Charan Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee without any advance notice and confined mostly in undisclosed locations.He was elected to Lok Sabha in 1977 general elections and defeated then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi with the margin of more than fifty thousand votes. Raj Narain chose not to join government in spite of the fact that he defeated Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister in the elections.  . He was imprisoned 58 times for a period totaling about 15 years in connection with students' and socialist movements. As a key artisan of Janata Party, he helped to install Morarji Desai and later Charan Singh as Prime Minister of India. He was also instrumental in defeating two governments viz Indira Gandhi and Morarji Desai. Janata Party (S) members wanted to form the government in Raj Narain’s leadership in 1979, for which they left Janata Party and Morarji Desai, . Earlier, Dr Lohia and Raj Narain installed Chaudhary Charan Singh as Chief Minister in Uttar Pradesh in the year 1967 and when Charan Singh refused to fulfill his promises made to Dr Lohia,[according to whom?] he was asked to resign.
Raj Narain was married and had three sons and one daughter. Narain died on 31 December 1986, at 23:55 hrs at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi; the name which again shared its association with him after his death.
Special interests: Political and social work, yoga, Indian culture and philosophy.
Raj Narain published ‘Janmukh’-a weekly from Varanasi and has been on the editorial board of ‘Jan’ a monthly established by Dr Rammanohar Lohia.
Death and discrimination
The former union minister died on 31 December 1986. At the time of his death he had a bank balance of Rs 1,450, having been born in a rich Bhumihar Brahmin family, with at least 800 bighas of land, which he had distributed amongst the landless dalits. He has come to be known as the only person to have defeated Indira Gandhi at the hustings. But much before that, socialist Raj Narain was recognised for his "unforgettable contribution to the freedom struggle" — a citation in the Swantrata Sangraam Senani Taamra-Patra given to him by the Indian government.
But his grandson Dharmendra Singh was shocked to receive this reply recently to his RTI query seeking records of Raj Narain's role as a freedom fighter and the time he spent in jail: "The name of Shri Raj Narain is not found either in sanction or rejection register of Uttar Pradesh (of freedom fighters receiving pension)."
Ironically, says Dharmendra Singh, it was the Indira government that had recognised Raj Narain's role as a freedom fighter, giving him the Taamra-Patra in 1972, on the 25th anniversary of Independence. As recently as 23 February 2007, while issuing a first-day cover in his name, the Department of Posts had said Raj Narain played a crucial role in organising the Quit India Movement around Varanasi, and had carried a reward of "Rs 5,000, dead or alive" on his head.
Books by Raj Narain
- Towards a new health policy, by Raj Narain. 1977-8 pages. POPLINE Document Number: 783545. Author(s): NARAIN R. Source citation: New Delhi, India, Department of Family Welfare, www.popline.org/ docs/ 0299/ 783545.html.
- Raj Narain’s Heath policy mentioned in "Practicing health for all", by David Morley, Jon E. Rohde, Glen Williams. Oxford University Press, 1983 - Medical - 333 pages.
- Raj Narain’s Heath policy mentioned in "India: health care patterns and planning", by Rais Akhtar.2004-343 pages. On page no.45 Raj Narain, were ideologically inclined towards de-professionalization, decentralization, and indigenous systems of medicine. The Janata party manifesto mentioned community health workers, and Raj Narain adopted it as a personal commitment (Leslie, 1985).
Books on Raj Narain
- Apaat Kaal Ka Dhoomketu:Raj Narain. Author:Dr.Yugeshwar .
- The New Yorker: Volume 56, Issues 1-8, 1980. Although Raj Narain is married and has four children, he long ago abandoned his family for celibacy and a ... No one is ever sure whether Raj Narain is expressing a genuine belief or saying something merely to attract attention.
- A family affair: India under three prime ministers.Ved Mehta - 1982 - 166 pages. The main project that Raj Narain had put forward as Janata Health Minister was a scheme to have each village select a ... Raj Narain's critics contended that his scheme would not only misappropriate meagre resources but also debase.
- राज नारायण -यादों के झरोखो से -कृष्ण प्रकाश शर्मा
- राज नारायण का समाजवादी ब्यक्तित्व-सुप्रिया राय
Political Associations of Raj Narain
Associated with Congress Socialist Party (CSP), 1934-48. Inspector of Congress Socialist Party, 1946.
District Secretary, Congress Socialist Party (SP), 1946. Member Socialist Party (SP), 1948-52. Secretary, Uttar Pradesh Socialist Party (SP), 1948-51.
Convener, ‘Janvani Diwas’ of Socialist Party in Delhi, on 9 June 1951. Member Praja Socialist Party (PSP), 1952-1955.
Member, Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly and First Leader of Opposition, 1952-1962. Member National Executive, PSP, 1954-55.
Member Socialist Party, 1956-64. (From 1 January 1956 to 9 June 1964) Chairman, Socialist Party, 1961-64. Joined SSP after the merger of PSP and SP.
Member Socialist Party, 1971-72. (After the merger of PSP & SSP) Revived Socialist Party (Lohia), in 1972 and was its Member, 1972-74. Merged SSP (Lohia) into BKD in 1974 and formed Bhartiya Lok Dal Member Bhartiya Lok Dal, 1974–77
Member Rajya Sabha, 1974-77 (As BLD Candidate)
Formed Janata Party in 1977 after the merger of BLD, Bhartiya Jansangh, Congress (O), Socialist Party and Congress for Democracy (CFD) Member Janata Party, 1977–79,
Member 6th Lok Sabha, 1977-79. (Defeated Indira Gandhi in 1977) Member Union Cabinet as Health & Family Welfare Minister. (1977–78),removed from Union Cabinet in January 1979 and later on resigned from Janata Party in 1979. Formed Janata Party (S) as its President and later as Chairman
Joined Democratic Socialist Party, 1981-83 (With H N Bahuguna). Joined Janata Party, 1983-84. With Chandra Shekhar.
Contested against former Prime Minister Charan Singh, in 1984 Lok Sabha elections from Baghpat (U.P.) Formed Socialist Party in 1985, and was associated with this party till his death in 1986.
SHRI RAJ NARAIN vs. SMT. INDIRA NEHRU GANDHI AND ANR. It was a 1975 case heard by the Allahabad High Court that found the then-Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi guilty of electoral malpractices. Ruling on the case that had been filed by the defeated opposition candidate Raj Narain, Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha invalidated Indira's win and barred her from holding elected office for six years.
In view of my findings on issue no. 3 (first set) issue no. 1 (first sd) read with Additional Issue no. 1, Additional Issue no. 2 and Additional Issue no. 3, this petition is allowed and the election of Srimati Indira Nehru Gandhi, respondent no 1, to the Lok Sabha is declared void.The respondent no. 1 has been found guilty of having committed a corrupt practice under section 123(7) of the Representation of the People Act by having obtained the assistance of the Gazetted Officers of the State Government of U. P. viz. the District Magistrate, Rae Barell, the Superintendent of Police, Rae Bareli, the Executive Engineer, P.W. D., Rae Bareli, Engineer, Hydel Department, Rae Bareli, in furtherance of her election prospects in the manner indicated my finding on issue no. 2. She has further been found guilty of having committed another corrupt practice under section 123(7) of the Representation of the People Act by having obtained the assistance of Sri Yashpal Kapur, a Gazetted Officer in the Government of India, holding the post of Officer on Special Duty in the Prime Minister's Secretariat, for the furtherance of her election prospects in the manner indicated in my finding on Issue no. 1 read with Additional Issue no. 1. The respondent no. 1 accordingly stands disqualified for a period of six years from the date of this order, as provided in section 8-A of the Representation of the People Act. The petitioner shall get his costs of the election petition from the respondent no. 1. A table of costs shall be prepared by the officer accordance with rule 30 Chapter XV of the Rules of Court.
As already pointed out while recording my findings on Issue no. 9, the petitioner has not been able to lay any foundation on facts to compel an inquiry into the constitutionality of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Ordinance 1974 (No.XIII of 1974) or that of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 1974 (Act no. 58 of 1974).
The writ petition no. 3761 of 1975 is accordingly rejected. The parties shall bear their own costs in the writ petition. Petition allowed. The decision caused a political crisis in India that led to the imposition of a state of emergency by Indira's government from 1975 to 1977.
Raj Narain had contested the Indian general election, 1971 against Indira Gandhi, who represented the constituency of Rae Bareilly in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament. Indira was re-elected from Rae Bareilly by a two-to-one margin of the popular vote, and her Indian National Congress (R) party won a sweeping majority in the Indian Parliament. Raj Narain filed a petition to appeal the verdict, alleging that Indira Gandhi used bribery, government machinery and resources to gain an unfair advantage in contesting the election. Narain specifically charged Indira of using government employees as election agents and for organising campaign activities in the constituency while still on the payroll of the government. On 12 June 1975 Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha found Indira Gandhi guilty of electoral malpractices. Sinha declared the election verdict in the Rae Bareilly constituency "null and void," and barred Indira from holding elected office for six years. While Sinha had dismissed charges of bribery, he had found Indira guilty of misusing government machinery as a government employee herself. The court order gave the Congress (R) twenty days to make arrangements to replace Indira in her official posts. Indira appealed the verdict to the Supreme Court of India, which granted a conditional stay of execution on the ruling on 24 June 1975.On 7 November 1975 the Supreme Court of India formally overturned the conviction.
The verdict was criticized by many. The Congress (R) also staged numerous protests across the country in support of Indira. However, the verdict helped galvanize the opposition political parties, who demanded that Indira Gandhi resign from office immediately. Jayaprakash Narayan, the leader of the Janata Morcha, a coalition of opposition political parties, called for a campaign of civil disobedience to oust Indira's government. In response to the Allahabad High Court verdict against her, on 26 June 1975 a state of emergency was declared, upon the advice of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The government argued that the political disorder was a threat to national security. Using the sweeping powers granted by the Emergency decree, thousands of opposition leaders and activists were arrested, press censorship was introduced and elections were postponed. During this period, Indira Gandhi's Congress (R) used its parliamentary majority to amend the Indian Constitution and overwrite the law that she had been found guilty of violating. When the government finally called elections in 1977, the opposition Janata Party alliance defeated Indira Gandhi's Congress (R) party. Raj Narain defeated Indira Gandhi in the Rae Bareilly constituency by a margin of 55,200 votes.
State of Uttar Pradesh v. Raj Narain Smt Indira Nehru Gandhi Vs Shri Raj Narain SHRI RAJ NARAIN Vs. SMT. INDIRA NEHRU GANDHI AND ANR
- Seema Chisti (2011-09-07). "Raj Narain vanishes from UP freedom fighters' register". The Indian Express. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
- Swati Mathur (5 August 2012). "Akhilesh scales rooftop to address masses; proves he is not called young and dynamic without reason". The Times of India. Retrieved 2012-08-22.
- TNN (6 August 2012). "Akhilesh Yadav promises development for Bakshi ka Talaab, announces bonanza". The Times of India. Retrieved 2012-08-22.