Veteran Congress leader, former Union minister and ex-governor of Sikkim and Kerala, Punjala Shiv Shankar passed away at his residence in Jubilee Hills here on Monday after a brief illness.
He was 87 and is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.
Born on August 10, 1929, at Mamidipalli in Ranga Reddy district, Shiv Shankar did his Bachelors in Law from Osmania University and practised as an advocate for a long time before being elevated as Andhra Pradesh high court judge in 1974.
Later, he entered politics through Congress and got elected to Lok Sabha from Secunderabad in 1978. He got re-elected to Lok Sabha again in 1980 and became a Union minister in the Indira Gandhi cabinet, taking care of the Law and Justice portfolio.
In 1985, Shiv Shankar got elected to Rajya Sabha from Gujarat and completed two terms till 1993. He was inducted into the Rajiv Gandhi cabinet first as minister of state for external affairs and then as minister of state for human resources development.
He was also the deputy chairman of Planning Commission between 1987 and 1988. During his tenure, he was first leader of the house in Rajya Sabha till 1989 and after Rajiv Gandhi lost power, he was the leader of the opposition in the upper house till 1991.
On September 21, 1994, Shiv Shankar was made the Governor of Sikkim, a post which he had held till November 11, 1995. Later, he was shifted to Kerala, where he was Governor till 1996.
In 1998, Shiv Shankar was back into active politics, contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Tenali in Guntur district and winning the seat. In 2004 elections, he was not given the ticket by the Congress high command and in protest, he quit the party. In 2008, he joined Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) floated by Telugu film hero Chiranjeevi, but remained inactive.
PRP was subsequently merged with the Congress in August 2011. Since then, Shiv Shankar has been keeping away from politics.
His son P Sudhir Kumar was a Congress MLA, who shot into news when Naxalites kidnapped him from his Himayatnagar residence in the heart of Hyderabad in 1991, demanding the release of their senior comrades. Sudhir was later released, but he died of serious illness in 2002.
Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao expressed his shock over Shiv Shankar’s death and expressed sympathies to the bereaved family.
Recalling his services as a BC leader, Union minister, judge and governor, KCR instructed the officials to make arrangements for the official funeral of the departed leader.