Ram Sundar Das

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Ram Sundar Das
15th Chief Minister of Bihar
In office
21 April 1979 – 17 February 1980
Preceded byKarpuri Thakur
Succeeded byJagannath Mishra
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
Preceded byRam Vilas Paswan
Succeeded byRam Vilas Paswan
In office
Preceded byRam Vilas Paswan
Succeeded byRam Vilas Paswan
ConstituencyHajipur, Bihar
Personal details
Born(1921-01-09)9 January 1921
Gangajal, Bihar and Orissa Province, British India
Died6 March 2015(2015-03-06) (aged 94)
Patna, Bihar, India
Political partyJanata Dal (United)
Other political
Janata Dal, Janata Party
SpouseSavita Devi
Children2 Sons and 1 daughter
As of 6 March, 2015
Source: [1]

Ram Sundar Das (9 January 1921 – 6 March 2015) was an Indian politician and former Chief Minister of Bihar state. He was a two-time Member of Parliament from Hajipur constituency.

Early life and family[edit]

Das was born on 9 January 1921 into Chamar caste in Gangajal near Sonpur, Saran District in Bihar.[1][2] He matriculated from a school in Sonpur and attended Vidyasagar College in Calcutta. He dropped out of college to join the Indian freedom movement. He was married to Savita Devi in 1956 and had three children, two sons and one daughter.[1][3]

Political career[edit]

He played an active role in 1942 Quit India Movement.[1] Das served as a functionary in Congress Socialist Party in his native place Sonpur. The Congress Socialist Party, through a series of mergers became a part of the Praja Socialist Party (PSP). Das served as member of PSP's Bihar Provincial Executive Council. In 1957 Lok Sabha elections, he was Socialists' losing candidate from Hajipur. Later he would win the seat twice. In 1968, he was elected as a Member of Bihar's legislative council and continued in this role until 1977.[3]

In the 1977 Bihar Legislative Assembly election, that led to a decisive defeat of the ruling Indian National Congress at the hands of Janata party, Das was elected as the MLA for Sonpur. Janata Party was a recent amalgam of disparate groups including Indian National Congress (O), Bharatiya Lok Dal, Socialists and Jana Sangh.[3][4]

In fight in the party broke over the question of Chief Minister, Karpoori Thakur's decision to implement the Mungeri Lal Commission report, that recommended the institution of reservations for Backward Castes in government jobs. Upper caste members of Janata Party tried to water down the reservation policy by unseating Thakur as Chief Minister. To wean away Dalit MLAs, Das, a Dalit himself, was nominated as the candidate. Though Das and Thakur were both Socialist, Das was considered more moderate and accommodative than the Chief Minister.[citation needed] Thakur resigned and Das became the Chief Minister of Bihar on 21 April 1979.[1] The reservation law was weakened by allowing upper castes to obtain a greater percentage of government jobs. The internal tensions in Janata Party caused it to split into multiple factions which led to Congress returning to power in 1980.[4][5]

In the late 1980s, some of the remnants of Janata Party had come together to form Janata Dal, which formed a coalition government at the national level following the 1989 Indian general election.[citation needed] In 1990 Bihar Legislative Assembly election, Janata Dal won the largest number of seats and sought to form government with the outside support of BJP and Communists. Das was a contender for Chief Ministership pitted against Raghunath Jha and Lalu Prasad Yadav. Yadav was supported by Devi Lal and Nitish Kumar, Jha by Chandra Shekhar and Das by Prime Minister, VP Singh.[citation needed]

Lalu Yadav had campaigned vastly in favour for implementing Mandal Commission, which sought to reserve government jobs for backward castes in Central government jobs. Das was less keen on this. VP Singh's support of Das was interpreted as a lack of enthusiasm for this form of social engineering. Nitish Kumar rallied backward caste MLAs towards Yadav. In the election, Yadav won narrowly over Das by a vote of 59 to 56. Jha won 12, mostly upper caste MLAs.[4]

Ironically he joined Chandra Shekhar's Samajwadi Janata Party around 1995 though Chandra Shekhar had opposed his candidature for CM's post. Ram Sundar Das remained with that party until 2008, and in another twist joined Janata Dal (United) that time, though those people had also opposed his candidature for CM's post back in 1990.[6] He died on 6 March 2015 at the age of 94.[7]

Electoral record[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Former Bihar Chief Minister Ram Sundar Das passes away at 95". India Today. India Today. 7 March 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  2. ^ Farz, Ahmed (15 May 1996). "Elections 1996: Ram Vilas Paswan may find the going tough this time". India Today. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "Members Bioprofile". Parliament of India. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Sanjay Kumar (2018). Post-Mandal Politics in Bihar: Changing Electoral Patterns. SAGE Publications. ISBN 9789352805860.
  5. ^ "State mourns death of ex-CM on festival day". Daily Telegraph. 7 March 2015.
  6. ^ Faizan Ahmad (30 December 2008). "Ram Sundar Das, supporters join JD(U) | Patna News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  7. ^ "Former Bihar Chief Minister Ram Sundar Das passes away". The Economics Times. 6 March 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  8. ^ "A victory after 32 years of trying". Hindustan Times. 22 May 2009. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  9. ^ "Bihar Assembly Election Results in 1977". Elections in India. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  10. ^ "Sonepur Assembly Constituency Election Result - Legislative Assembly Constituency". resultuniversity.com. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  11. ^ "Bihar Assembly Election Results in 1990". Elections in India. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  12. ^ "1991 India General (10th Lok Sabha) Elections Results". www.elections.in. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  13. ^ "Flaming torch a free symbol, EC can allot it to any other party: Delhi HC dismisses Samata Party's appeal". The Indian Express. 19 November 2022. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  14. ^ "Hajipur Lok Sabha Election Result - Parliamentary Constituency". resultuniversity.com. Retrieved 25 September 2021.

External links[edit]

Lok Sabha
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Hajipur

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Hajipur

Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Leader of the Janata Dal (United) Party in the 16th Lok Sabha
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Chief Minister of Bihar
21 April 1979 – 17 February 1980
Succeeded by