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(Rptg, with correction in para three, line six)

Written by: Staff

Bhiwani, Mar 29 (UNI) The mortal remains of the four-time Chief Minister of Haryana Bansi Lal, were today consigned to flames at his native village Golagarh, 30 km from here, this evening.

'The 'Vikas Purush' (man of development) of Haryana, who was at the helm of affairs when Haryana was carved out in 1966, was brought to Bhiwani in the early hours today from AIIMS hospital in Delhi, where he had died of a heart failure late last night.

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Harana Governor A R Kidwai, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, ex-chief minister Bhajan Lal, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and several other ministers and MLAs of both the neighbouring states were present at the funeral as the departed leader's pyre was lit by his elder rpt elder son Ranbir Singh Mahendra, the former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Survived by his wife, one son and four daughters, Bansi Lal had lost his younger son Surendra Singh in an air crash on March 31 last year.

Mr Bansi Lal's body was earlier kept at his home in Bhiwani where his well-wishers paid their last tributes to their leader.

One of the three 'Lals', along with the late Devi Lal of Lok Dal and the Congressman Bhajan Lal, Bansi Lal became the state's Chief Minister for the first time in 1968.

He formed the government for the second time in 1972, when the Congress got a record mandate by winning 52 of the then total of 81 Assembly seats. He had his third fine stint of five-year term from 1986 onwards. He was Union Defence Minister during the emergency.

The demise of Mrs Indira Gandhi brought a downfall in Bansi Lal's standing in the Congress and he formed his own Haryana Vikas Party and formed the government in Haryana with the help of the BJP in 1996.

But his last tenure as the Chief Minister could not complete the full five-year term as the BJP withdrew the support to his government, which led to the coming back of Chief Minister Bhajan Lal.

Bansi Lal, however, returned to the Congress fold just before the last Assembly elections in the state and this brought his son Surendra Singh into the cabinet of the present Bhupinder Singh Hooda government.

But the fate was not by the side of Bansi Lal as he lost his son Surendra Singh in an air crash, following which Surendra Singh's wife Kiran Chaudhary was elected in the bypoll from Tosham and was taken IN the Hooda cabinet as a Tourism Minister.

Bansi Lal has made his identity as a 'Vikas Purush' (man of development) of Haryana as he masterminded serious reforms in the power sector and in constructing the road network across the state, especially in rural areas.

Senior Congressman Bhajan Lal and Mr Hooda have also mentioned Bansi Lal as an architect of Haryana.

The Haryana Government has announced a three-day state mourning from today onwards in the wake of the demise of the senior Congressman.

The state government has also declared a holiday for today.


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