Congress Veteran Buta Singh Passes Away

Senior Congress leader and former Home Minister Buta Singh died at AIIMS, Delhi early on Saturday morning. He was 86 and had been in a coma since October last year after he suffered a brain hemorrhage. He is survived by a daughter and two sons. Mr. Singh started out as a Communist before switching to the Shiromani Akali Dal for a short stint and then joined the Congress in the early 1960s. A prominent Dalit leader in the Congress, he was convenor of the All India Congress Committee’s (AICC) Harijan cell in 1973­74, after which he became the AICC general secretary in 1978. An eighth time Lok Sabha MP, he entered Parliament in 1962 from the Moga Lok Sabha constituency in Punjab. In 1974, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi elevated him to the post of Deputy Minister for Railways.


He was considered her close confidante and was involved in Operation Blue Star, which led to much outrage among the Sikh community. Later, as a Union Minister, he was also involved in the reconstruction of the Golden Temple. But his real career-high came during his working with Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. In 1981, he was made the Chairperson of the Organising Committee for Asian Games, the first major international games to come to India. Under Rajiv Gandhi, Mr. Singh became the country’s Home Minister leaving a legacy of imposing President’s Rule on many State governments. In February 2005, as the Governor of Bihar, Mr. Singh had recommended dissolution of the Bihar Assembly, hoping to stall a JD(U)­BJP government in the State. But within six months, fresh elections gave a clear majority to the JD(U)­ BJP combine. 


Under Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, Mr. Singh held the portfolio of Union Minister of Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs, and Public Distribution from 1995 to 1996 He was appointed the chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2007. He held that post till 2010. His demise was announced by his son Arvinder Singh Lovely Sidhu on Facebook, “My father passed away this morning. May Waheguru bless him."




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