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Posted at: Jan 14, 2017, 5:30 PM; last updated: Jan 15, 2017, 1:59 AM (IST)

Former Punjab CM Surjit Singh Barnala dead

Former Punjab CM Surjit Singh Barnala dead
Surjit Singh Barnala (1925-2017). PTI file photo

Chandigarh, January 14

Former Punjab Chief Minister Surjit Singh Barnala, who took over reins of the state in the difficult period when militancy was at its peak in the mid-80s, died here on Saturday at the age of 91.

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Barnala, who served as Chief Minister from 1985 to 1987, was admitted to the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here on Thursday.

A moderate leader of the Akali Dal, he became chief minister after the Rajiv-Longowal accord to usher in peace in the troubled state was reached in the summer of 1985.

(Obit: Moderate Akali who almost became PM)

Barnala was admitted to the Cardiac Care Unit of PGI and was shifted this morning to respiratory ICU where he breathed his last.

Born on October 21, 1925 in Ateli village (now in Mahendergarh district of Haryana), Barnala did his graduation in law from Lucknow before entering politics.

As Governor of Tamil Nadu, Barnala had famously refused to recommend dismissal of the DMK government in 1991 when the late Chandrashekhar was the Prime Minister for a short time.

When he was transferred to Bihar following his refusal, he chose to resign as Governor.

The government headed by Chandrashekhar then dismissed the Karunanidhi ministry using the "otherwise" provision in Article 356 of the Constitution after Barnala's refusal to make a recommendation.

He had also served as Governor of Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Barnala was Agriculture Minister at the Centre in the Moraji Desai government and Chemicals & Fertilisers Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Cabinet.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled death of Barnala.

“Pained by demise of Shri Surjit Singh Barnala. His rich service & contribution to the nation will be remembered. Condolences to his family,” Modi tweeted.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal condoled the death of Barnala and recalled the services rendered by him as Tamil Nadu Governor, Punjab Chief Minister and Union Minister.

Badal said the former CM was an able administrator and a fine human being with qualities of head and heart.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee also condoled the death of the former Punjab CM.  — TNS/agencies

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