Former Madhya Pradesh governor Balram Jakhar who passed away on Wednesday in Delhi would be remembered as one of the governors with the widest public interface in the state.
Jakhar, during his five-year tenure from June 30, 2004 to June 29, 2009, ensured that the doors of the Raj Bhawan remained open to the common people with whom he interacted in his typically gregarious north-Indian warmth and gusto.
An old school Congressman, Jakhar was also witness to the tumultuous phase in Madhya Pradesh politics when the ruling BJP changed two chief ministers -- first Uma Bharti in August 2004 and then Babulal Gaur in November 2005 -- to finally settle on incumbent Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
No stranger to the frequent shifts in power witnessed by him in politics of Haryana which was carved out of his home state of Punjab in November 1966, he enjoyed very cordial relations with successive chief ministers of the state, sometimes to the chagrin of the state Congress unit that expected him to act or write against the state government on various issues.
A four-time MP and two-time Speaker in Lok Sabha, Jakhar handled the demands deftly making the right noises on certain issues but not straining his relation with the then chief minister beyond a point.
He often broke down at public functions, expressing his anguish on myriad issues, even berating the chief ministers for not acting on them but then ended the matter on a word of advice for them.
Jakhar often spoke out against what he termed as an education mafia working in the state, even calling them names and hoping for the worst for them.
He also spoke to chief ministers on transfers and postings of officials, often putting in a word for some who were usually from his home state of Punjab.
While as the governor and chancellor of universities, Jakhar tried to implement certain reforms. He attempted bringing in a unified syllabus and a common examination across universities of the state.
His death was condoled by the CM, state BJP president, ministers, Congress leaders and people from various walks of life.