Buta Singh, Ex-Union Min & Rajiv-Indira’s ‘Hatchet Man’, No More

Former Union minister Buta Singh passed away in New Delhi on Saturday, 2 January, at the age of 86.

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Buta Singh served as Union Home Minister from 1986 to 1989 under then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Former Union minister Buta Singh passed away in New Delhi on Saturday, 2 January, at the age of 86.

The senior Congress leader was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) where he was in a state of comatose after suffering a brain haemorrhage.

Born in 1934 in Punjab's Jalandhar, before entering politics, Singh worked as sub-editor of 'Akali Patrika' when Shiromani Akali Dal fielded him from Ropar reserve seat in 1962.

He then joined the Congress under Jawaharlal Nehru's leadership and was close to Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, famously even called the latter’s ‘yes man.’

Buta Singh’s Political Journey

Singh was first elected to Parliament in 1962. Over the years, he served as home minister in the Rajiv Gandhi government from 1986 to 1989, National President of Scheduled Caste Commission, governor for West Bengal and Bihar, and Union minister for Agriculture, Railways, Commerce and Sports, among other departments.

He also served as Lok Sabha MP for eight terms from the Jalore constituency in Rajasthan.

Indira-Rajiv’s 'Hatchet Man’

During the Rajiv Gandhi regime, in the late 1980s, Singh went on to become his ‘hatchet man,’ when he was home minister. He had risen to the number two position in the government, upstaging two senior ministers PV Narasimha Rao and P Shiv Shankar, reported The Print.

He was instrumental in the ouster of many opposition chief ministers, including the dismissal of the Janaki Ramachandran government in Tamil Nadu in 1988, Haridev Joshi in Rajasthan and Motilal Vora in Madhya Pradesh in 1988.

In 1998, he decided to contest as an independent candidate from Jalore, but the then party president denied him the ticket. Singh then joined the Vajpayee government, but returned to the Congress fold two years later.

Contribution to Sikh Community

Singh was instrumental in building and re-building many gurdwaras in India and in foreign countries, especially the Sri Akal Takht Sahib after Operation Bluestar in 1984.

He helped many Sikh youths in getting jobs and placements and was active as chairman of the National SC Commission.

He also helped acquire lands for the expansion of gurudwaras, especially Gurudwara Bangla Sahib and Gurudwara Bala Sahib in Delhi.

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