Veteran Congress leader Balram Jakhar breathed his last in New Delhi after battling a brief period of illness on Wednesday morning. As soon the news broke, people started gathering at the Jakhars’ house at their native village Pajhkosi near Abohar, about 30km from the district headquarters of Fazilka. A towering figure, Jakhar was out of active politics for a while now.
Here are five things that you must know about him:
Where he came from
Son of Chaudhary Rajaram Jakhar and Patodevi Jakhar, he was born on August 23, 1923. He was a Sanskrit graduate from Christian College, Lahore.
Rising through the village level and from a noted farmers’ family, Jakhar was elected to the Punjab assembly in 1972 and then re-elected in 1977, when he was made Leader of the Opposition.
He entered the Lok Sabha later from Ferozepur in 1980 and then re-elected to the eighth Lok Sabha from Sikar in Rajasthan in 1984. He was known to be close to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Known as Speaker
The Congress veteran, nationally, is mostly remembered for his tenure as speaker of the Lok Sabha from 1980 to 1989.
As the speaker, he was instrumental in the start of automation and computerisation of parliamentary works.
Also cabinet minister
He was appointed cabinet minister in the PV Narasimha Rao government in 1991, and later also served as governor of Madhya Pradesh from 2004 to 2009.
Abohar, his home ground
Abohar remained Jakhar’s political bastion and his elder son Sajjan Kumar Jakhar was a minister in the Beant Singh-led Congress government in Punjab; his youngest son, Sunil Jakhar, is a three-time MLA from Abohar, and also remained Leader of the Opposition in Punjab.