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Chaudhary Bansi Lal

(26 August 1927 – 28 March 2006)

Bansi Lal Legha was an Indian independence activist, senior Congress leader, former Chief Minister of Haryana and considered by many to be the architect of modern Haryana. Lal was elected to the Haryana State Assembly seven times, the first time in 1967. He served three separate terms as Chief Minister of Haryana: 1968–75, 1985–87, and 1996–99. Bansi Lal was considered a close confidante of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay Gandhi during the Emergency era of 1975 -1977. He served as the Defence Minister from December 1975 to March 1977, and had a brief stint as a Minister without Portfolio in the Union government in 1975. He also held the Railways and Transport portfolios. He set up Haryana Vikas Party after parting ways with the Indian National Congress in 1996.

Political Career

  • Lal was secretary of Parja mandal in the Loharu State, from 1943 to 1944.
  • Lal was president of the Bar Association, Bhiwani from 1957 to 1958. He was president of the District Congress Committee, Hisar, from 1959 to 1962 and later became a member of the Congress Working Committee and Congress Parliamentary Board.
  • He was a member of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee between 1958 and 1962.
  • He was Haryana’s Chief Minister: from 1968 to 1975 (Congress), 1985 to 1987 (Congress), and 1996 to 1999 with Haryana Vikas Party.
  • He was the Defence minister of India from December 1975 to March 1977.
  • He was also the chairman of the Committee of Parliament and Committee on Public Undertakings, 1980–82, and the Committee on Estimates, 1982–84.
  • He became railways minister on 31 December 1984 in Rajiv Gandhi’s ministry and later minister for transport.
  • He was elected to the Haryana State Assembly five times from Tosham (1967, 1972, 1986 bye-poll, 1991, 1996). He lost once from Tosham in 1987 Devi Lal wave, just a few months after winning the seat with more than 80,000 votes in 1986.
  • He was a Rajya Sabha member from 1960 to 1966 and 1976 to 1980. He was a Lok Sabha member from Bhiwani three times: 1980 to 1984, 1985 to 1986, and 1989 to 1991. He lost from Bhiwani in 1977 Janata wave.
  • After he parted company with Congress in 1996, Bansi Lal set up the Haryana Vikas Party and his campaign against prohibition propelled him to power in the assembly polls the same year.
  • Chronologically : Rajya Sabha MP (1960-1966), Haryana MLA (1967-1975), Rajya Sabha (1976-1980 but lost Bhiwani Lok Sabha election in 1977), Lok Sabha MP from 1980-1984, 1984-1986, Haryana MLA 1986-1987, lost assembly election in 1987, became Lok Sabha MP 1989-1991, Haryana MLA 1991-1996 and 1996 to 2000.

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