Nanaji Deshmukh, one of the founder members of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, social worker and former member of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, died at a hospital in Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh on Saturday afternoon.
He was 93.
A prominent leader of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, the precursor to the Bharatiya Janata Party, Deshmukh campaigned against the Emergency imposed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1975.
He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1977 and nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1999.
A Padma Vibhushan awardee, Deshmukh established the Deendayal Research Institute, Chitrakoot in 1969 to find innovative, eco-friendly and sustainable models of development for society.
He worked to transform society through people’s participation, in several villages in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra.
Born on October 11, 1916, at Kadoli in Parbhani district in Maharashtra, Deshmukh got associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in 1928.
He founded the Saraswati Shishu Mandir chain of pre-primary and primary schools spread across India, in 1950, and was the brain behind the Chitrakoot Gramodaya Vishwavidyalaya started in 1991.
A leader of the movement started by Jai Prakash Narayan in Bihar in 1974, Deshmukh became senior general secretary of the Janata Party but declined to accept a berth in Morarji Desai’s cabinet in 1977.