Chhattisgarh Governor Balramji Dass Tandon passes away

PTI | Updated on August 14, 2018 Published on August 14, 2018

Chattisgarh Governor Balramji Dass Tandon. File Photo   -  The Hindu

Tandon was known for his social work and played an active role in the politics of the state

Chhattisgarh Governor Balramji Dass Tandon died at a hospital here today, an official said. He was 90.

He was born in Amritsar in November 1927.

Regarded as a guiding force of the BJP in Punjab, Tandon joined the RSS at an early age of 16 and remained an active member of the organisation for a very long time. He became a ‘pracharak’ in 1946 and organised free medical dispensaries for poor patients and refugee camps for the people migrating from Pakistan, arranging food and clothes during Partition.

Even during the Indo-Pak war in 1965, Tandon organised free canteens for soldiers and worked day and night to keep the morale of people living near the border in Amritsar high.

Tandon headed ‘Competent Foundation’, which organised blood donation camps, free school, free medicines, free operations and ration for poor people.

In 1951, he was asked to work for Bhartiya Jan Sangh and put on duty in Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Kangra and other districts of Jalandhar division at that time. Thereafter, he served the organisation in many capacities including being its state secretary.

Tandon political journey commenced when he was elected councillor of the Municipal Corporation of Amritsar in 1953. He was elected as a member of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha from Amritsar Central constituency in 1957, 1962, 1967, in mid-term polls of 1969 and then in 1977. He was also elected from Rajpura Vidhan Sabha seat in 1997.

Tandon was a cabinet minister in the first non-Congress government headed by an Akali Leader, Justice Gurnam Singh, in 1969-70. He also served as cabinet minister in 1977-79 and 1997-2002.

Tandon also raised his voice against Emergency and was arrested on the night of its proclamation in June 1975 and remained behind bars till 1977.

After the formation of the Bhartiya Janta Party, Tandon was one of its senior leaders in Punjab. He became the state president of BJP in 1995. When he was contesting Lok Sabha elections in 1991 from Amritsar seat, he was attacked by terrorists many a time in Punjab when militancy was at its peak.

Under his leadership, in 1998 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP in alliance with the Akali Dal won 11 out of 13 seats in Punjab. He was made chairman of the campaign committee of the BJP in Punjab during the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 and 2014.

Tandon took keen interest in sports and participated in events like wresting, volleyball, swimming and kabaddi. He had refused to take a salary hike when the Centre made an upward revision of salaries of the President, Vice-President and governors early this year.

His son Sanjay Tandon is now chief of the BJP’s Chandigarh unit.

Published on August 14, 2018
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