If Delhi residents are asked to name the state’s first chief minister, most would perhaps name Madan Lal Khurana. But not many would know that Delhi got its first chief minister way back in 1952, 41 years before Khurana.
In 1952 when Delhi became a Part-C state of the Indian union, Chaudhary Brahm Prakash of the Congress was elected its first chief minister, apart from holding the portfolio of minister in charge of planning and development.
A popular leader of Delhi, Chaudhary Brahm Prakash was just 34 years old when chosen for the top post. He was noted for his organizational and administrative skills.
India's first prime minster Jawaharlal Nehru with Delhi's first chief minister Chaudhary Brahm Prakash. (Bhawan Singh/ HT Photo)
He hailed from Shakurpur village in Delhi and led the ‘underground’ activities in Delhi during the ‘Quit India’ movement in the early 1940s and was imprisoned many a time.
His tenure as the chief minister, however, lasted only for three years. He was succeeded by Gurmukh Nihal Singh in 1955. The assembly itself was abolished a year later and replaced by the Delhi Metropolitan Council in 1966.
Apart from being the first chief minister of Delhi, he also fought and won Lok Sabha elections twice and served as the union cabinet minister for food, agriculture, irrigation and cooperatives.
His stints in Parliament won him accolades as an able parliamentarian.
Chaudhary Brahm Prakash was a votary of village and agriculture cooperatives and a proponent of the Panchayati Raj system. He organised the National Union of Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Minorities in 1977.
In 2001, the department of posts released a commemorative postage stamp on Chaudhary Brahm Prakash.
He passed away in 1993, the year Delhi Assembly elections were again held and Madan Lal Khurana of the Bharatiya Janata Party became the chief minister.