SHUKLA WAS born on February 27, 1925, in Raipur. Son of the first chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Pandit Ravishankar Shukla, a freedom fighter, he was a Science and Law graduate.
Shukla was the chief minister of undivided Madhya Pradesh thrice – 1) 26 March, 1969 – 23 Jan 1972; 2) 23 Dec 1975 – 30 April 1977; 3) 9 Dec 1989 for three months. He was elected legislator for seven times and represented Mahasamund Lok Sabha in 1999. Was elected to the MP Vidhan Sabha for the first time in 1957. His role and contribution in the development of irrigation and agriculture is noteworthy.
According to hospital sources, he regained consciousness only twice and in that state had expressed a deep desire to offer darshan at the Rajiv Lochan Temple at Rajim where the Chhattisgarh Ardh Kumbh festival is presently on.
But due to his deteriorating condition the doctors had advised against taking him there.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh, his cabinet colleagues and leaders from all parties paid rich tributes to the departed leader.
The death of the politician, elder brother of nine-time Congress Member of Parliament and former Union minister Vidyacharan Shukla, shocked political circles in central India.
Raman Singh, Congress leader and former chief minister Ajit Jogi, Congress treasurer Motilal Vora and several other politicians cutting across party lines mourned Shukla’s death.
Shukla had laboured hard to take Mahanadi’s run-off waters to the state’s rice fields. Paying tributes, leaders including Ajit Jogi recalled the veteran Congress leader’s efforts in channeling water to Chhattisgarh’s paddy fields, where 80 per cent of the people depended on agriculture.
Shukla symbolised five decades of history of Chhattisgarh region and was synonymous with Raipur because of his family’s dominance in politics of the area. ‘Shyama Bhaiya’, as he was fondly called, is the only person from Chhattisgarh region to occupy the chief ministership of undivided Madhya Pradesh three times.
“No one can match Shukla’s personality. He was so down to earth and believed in simple living - a rarity in today’s world”, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said.
Shukla’s active political career began as an MLA from the underdeveloped, interior and forest-covered Bindranawagarh assembly constituency of Raipur district in 1957. He also represented the Mahasamund Lok Sabha seat in Lok Sabha in 1999.
Shukla was also the founder editor of Chhattisgarh’s first newspaper Dainik Mahakaushal and wrote with passion till the end. He had edited Mahakaushal from 1948 to 1969.
(With inputs from agencies)