Born on June 25, 1931 at Allahabad, Shri Vishwanath Pratap Singh is the son of Raja Bahadur Ram Gopal Singh. He was educated at Allahabad and Poona Universities. He was married to Smt. Sita Kumari on June 25, 1955 and had two sons.
A scholarly man, he was the proud founder of Gopal Vidyalaya, Intermediate College, Koraon, Allahabad. He was the President of the Students Union at Udai Pratap College, Varanasi in 1947-48 and was the Vice-President, Allahabad University Students Union. He actively participated in Bhoodan movement in 1957 and donated a well-established farm in village Pasna, District Allahabad.
He was the member of All India Congress Committee; Executive Body, Allahabad University, 1969-71 and Legislative Assembly, Uttar Pradesh 1969-71. He was the Whip, Congress Legislative Party, 1970-71; Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), 1971-74; Union Deputy Minister of Commerce, October 1974-November 1976; Union State Minister of Commerce, November 1976-March 1977; Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), January 3-July 26,1980. He was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, June 9, 1980- June 28, 1982; Member, Legislative Council, Uttar Pradesh, November 21, 1980-June 14,1981; Member Legislative Assembly, Uttar Pradesh, June 15, 1981-July 16, 1983.
As a Union Minister of Commerce in January 29,1983, he also held additional charge of the Department of Supply in February 15,1983. He was the Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) in July 16, 1983; on September 1, 1984 he was elected President, Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee and on December 31, 1984 he became the Union Finance Minister.
After remaining Union Finance and Defence Minister, Mr. Singh became the Prime Minister of the country in 1989. Riding the wave of the Janata Dal, V. P. Singh became Prime Minister on Dec. 2,1989 and continued till Nov. 10, 1990 (344 days).V.P. Singh had gone to the holy land of Kashi and there he applied chandan on his forehead from the temple of Baba Vishwanath. This he did with a view to become `Rajrishi'. He came to Delhi with the chandan yet shining on his forehead. He wanted to show to the people that he had used the chandan from the temple of Baba Vishwanath and that he enjoyed the blessings of Baba Vishwanath. Baba Vishwanath is the God of downtroddens.
Some misunderstandings developed between Chandra Sheskharji and V P Singh, even as the country's politics was taking a major turn. But they managed to tackle it to everyone's satisfaction and the Janata Dal was formed. The merger of the parties was smooth and Chandra Shekharji worked very hard, with his heart and soul, for the victory of the party in the 1989 Lok Sabha elections. But the events following the elections, leading to the election of V P Singh as Prime Minister, left a scar on him. He thought the party did not treat him properly.
After the 1989 election, the Janata Dal was in a position to form the government and Chandra Shekhar believed the post of prime minister was naturally his. But Haryana strongman Devi Lal and V P Singh cut a deal that made the latter the prime minister. He took a major decision in implementing the Mandal Commission recommendations. within three weeks of Mr. V. P. Singh becoming the Prime Minister of India, there was a debate in this House which included inter alia the question of what was to be done about Bofors. The Leader of the Opposition at that time-his name was Shri Rajiv Gandhi - Stated on the floor of the House that he wished to see that the Government of Shri V. P. Singh achieved this. It was Mr. V. P. Singh and his friends when they were in the Opposition - the period 1987-89 - who kept asking that the Swedish National Audit Bureau's entire Report must be brought.
After 11-months, Chandra Shekhar used the same Devi Lal to bring down V P Singh, split JD, floated his Samajwadi Janata Party (SJP) and became prime minister with the support of Congress. It was an ambition he had as early as 1977. In 1979 he wrote to JP: "If Shri (Morarji) Desai voluntarily decides to relinquish his post, I will contest the Janata Parliamentary Party leader's election." As it happened, it was Charan Singh who replaced Desai. Making no secret of his ambition to be prime minister, Chandrashekhar split the Janata Dal after the VP. Singh government fell and formed a government that was propped up by Rajiv Gandhi. Chandra Shekharji never carried the bitterness of a political fight for long. He patched up with V P Singh and despite the clashes with Indira Gandhi still maintained a warmth with her.
He passed away on November 27, 2008. V. P. Singh was a staunch supporter of secularism and socialism who always worked for welfare of the poor and the backward sections of society. On 27 November 2008 Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, expressed grief at the demise of the former Prime Minister, Shri V.P.Singh. Following is the text of the Prime Minister's condolence message: "I am deeply saddened to learn about the demise of Shri V. P. Singh former Prime Minister of India. In his death India has lost a great patriot and a builder of our nation whose empathy for the weaker sections would always be etched in our national consciousness. As Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and later as Finance Minister and Prime Minister of India he consistently strove to translate his convictions into public policy. Even after being afflicted with a debilitating disease, he continued to be at the forefront of the struggle for social justice. A grateful nation would always cherish the memory of this great son of India."
The Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari condoled the sad demise of former Prime Minister of India, Shri V.P. Singh. Following is the text of Vice President's condolence message: "I am deeply grieved to learn about the sad demise of Shri V. P. Singh, Former Prime Minister of India. Shri V. P. Singh had served the country and the people with distinction as Prime Minister of India, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and as Minister in the Union Cabinet for a long time. A steadfast champion of social justice, poor and the downtrodden, Shri Singh was respected for his selfless service to the people. He made his mark by initiating various path-breaking public policies for the welfare of the people. His simple nature, commitment to the ideals of democracy and value based politics and his belief in patriotism had always impressed everyone. He carved a niche for himself as an honest and dedicated parliamentarian and a competent administrator who always kept the interests of the country ahead of everything."
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