Arjun Singh (politician, born 1930)


Arjun Singh
Arjun Singh 237.jpg
Arjun Singh in 1984
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
In office
3 April 2000 (2000-04-03) – 4 March 2011 (2011-03-04)
ConstituencyMadhya Pradesh
Minister of Human Resource Development
In office
22 May 2004 (2004-05-22) – 22 May 2009 (2009-05-22)
Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
Preceded byMurli Manohar Joshi
Succeeded byKapil Sibal
In office
23 June 1991 (1991-06-23) – 24 December 1994 (1994-12-24)
Prime MinisterPamulaparthi Venkata Narasimha Rao
Preceded byRajmangal Pandey
Succeeded byPamulaparthi Venkata Narasimha Rao
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
1991 (1991)–1996 (1996)
Preceded bySukhendra Singh
Succeeded bySukhlal Kushwaha
In office
1985 (1985)–1988 (1988)
Preceded byLalit Maken
Succeeded byMadan Lal Khurana
ConstituencySouth Delhi
12th Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh
In office
14 February 1988 (1988-02-14) – 23 January 1989 (1989-01-23)
GovernorKizhakkayil Mathai Chandy
Preceded byMotilal Vora
Succeeded byMotilal Vora
In office
9 June 1980 (1980-06-09) – 12 March 1985 (1985-03-12)
GovernorBhagwat Dayal Sharma
Guru Prasanna Singh
Kizhakkayil Mathai Chandy
Preceded byPresident's rule
Succeeded byMotilal Vora
Minister of Communications
In office
22 October 1986 (1986-10-22) – 13 February 1988 (1988-02-13)
Prime MinisterRajiv Gandhi
Preceded byRam Niwas Mirdha
Succeeded byVasant Sathe
Minister of Commerce
In office
15 November 1985 (1985-11-15) – 20 January 1986 (1986-01-20)
Prime MinisterRajiv Gandhi
Preceded byVishwanath Pratap Singh
Succeeded byPunjala Shiv Shankar
16th Governor of Punjab
In office
14 March 1985 (1985-03-14) – 14 November 1985 (1985-11-14)
PresidentGiani Zail Singh
Preceded byKershasp Tehmurasp Satarawala
Succeeded byHokishe Sema
Member of Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly
In office
1990 (1990)–1991 (1991)
Preceded byAjay Singh
Succeeded byAjay Singh
In office
1988 (1988)–1990 (1990)
Preceded byLaxmi Patel
Succeeded byNand Kumar Patel
In office
1977 (1977)–1985 (1985)
Preceded byChandra Pratap Tiwari
Succeeded byAjay Singh
In office
1972 (1972)–1977 (1977)
Preceded byKP Singh
Succeeded byIndrajeet Patel
In office
1967 (1967)–1972 (1972)
Preceded byRanvijaya Pratap Singh
Succeeded byRanvijaya Pratap Singh
In office
1957 (1957)–1967 (1967)
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byConstituency dissolved
Personal details
Born(1930-11-05)5 November 1930
Churhat, Central Provinces and Berar, British India
Died4 March 2011(2011-03-04) (aged 80)
New Delhi, India
Political partyIndependent (1957-1960)
Indian National Congress (1960-1996, 1998-2011)
All India Indira Congress (Tiwari) (1996-1998)
Spouse(s)Saroj Kumari
ChildrenAjay Singh
Abhimanyu Singh
Veena Singh
Alma materAllahabad University

Arjun Singh (5 November 1930 – 4 March 2011) was an Indian politician from the Indian National Congress, who served twice as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh in the 1980s. He also served twice as the Union Minister of Human Resource Development, in the Manmohan Singh and P.V. Narasimha Rao ministries.

Early life

Arjun Singh was the son of Shiv Bahadur Singh, a jagirdar and the 26th Rao of Churhat thikana, and an INC politician.


Arjun Singh assumes the charge of Union Minister for Human Resource Development in New Delhi on 24 May 2004

Arjun Singh was first elected to the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly in 1957 from Majholi as an independent candidate. He joined the Indian National Congress in 1960. He was re-elected from Majholi in 1962 and became a minister in the INC government of Dwarka Prasad Mishra.[1]

In 1967, he lost the election from Churhat due to a fallout with the then chief minister Dwarka Prasad Mishra. However, he won a bypoll in the same year from Umaria. He was elected from Sidhi in 1972 and became a minister in the INC government of Prakash Chandra Sethi.[1]

In 1977, he was elected from Churhat and became the Leader of Opposition in the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly. In 1980, when INC achieved a simple majority in the assembly, he won from Churhat and became the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, despite the presence of strong contenders such as Sethi, Vidya Charan Shukla and Shiv Bhanu Singh Solanki.[1]

His five year term was marked by the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

He led the INC to victory in 1985, yet again winning from Churhat, but was forced to resign as Chief Minister after just one day due to differences with Sriniwas Tiwari. Motilal Vora succeeded him as Chief Minister.[1]

He resigned his Madhya Pradesh assembly seat and was appointed as Governor of Punjab in 1985. He worked for the implementation of the Rajiv-Longowal Accord for peace in Punjab. However, after eight months, he resigned as Governor and became Minister of Commerce in the Rajiv Gandhi cabinet. He was elected to the Lok Sabha from South Delhi in a bypoll in 1985, necessitated by the assassination of the sitting MP Lalit Maken.

In 1986, he resigned the Commerce ministry and was appointed as Minister of Communications. He held this post till 1988 when he returned to the Government of Madhya Pradesh and again became Chief Minister of the state. He resigned his Lok Sabha seat and won a bypoll to the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly from Kharsia in 1988. However, he resigned as Chief Minister in 1989 owing to the Churhat lottery scam, and was succeeded by Motilal Vora. He won in 1990 from Churhat.

In 1991, he won from Satna. He resigned his assembly seat and harboured ambitions of becoming Prime Minister after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.[1]

However, P. V. Narasimha Rao became Prime Minister and Singh was appointed as the Minister of Human Resource Development. He publicly expressed discontent against the Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao after the Babri Masjid demolition.[1] He resigned as Minister of Human Resource Development in 1994.

In 1996, he rebelled against the INC leadership and formed the All India Indira Congress (Tiwari) along with Narayan Dutt Tiwari. However, he lost in 1996 from Satna.

Later, he returned to INC after the emergence of Sonia Gandhi. He lost in 1998 from Hoshangabad.[1]

He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2000 from Madhya Pradesh, and was re-elected in 2006. He was awarded the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 2000. He served as Minister of Human Resource Development from 2004 to 2009 in the Manmohan Singh cabinet.


Bhopal Incident

Arjun Singh was the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh when the deadly gas leak from the Union Carbide factory occurred. It is widely alleged that on the fateful night between 2 and 3 December 1984, when the gas leak occurred, Arjun Singh fled to his Kerwa Dam Palace (outside Bhopal) to save himself from deadly effects of leaked gas and was not available to manage the crisis or lead the administration.[2]

Subsequently, the Arjun Singh government's mishandling was criticised by the court in the verdict on the Bhopal disaster as pronounced by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bhopal on 7 June 2010. The media raised serious questions about his role in the release of Warren Anderson.[3]

In particular, the pilot of the aircraft in which Warren Anderson flew out of India after the gas leak, has recorded that the final sanction to permit the flight came from Arjun Singh's office.[4]

Churhat Lottery case and Kerwa Dam palace

While Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Singh was involved in the scandal known as the Churhat Lottery case. The Churhat Children Welfare Society was floated in 1982 by relatives of Singh, and permitted to raise funds via lottery, and also given tax relief as a charity.[5] However, there were widespread allegations[6] that substantial sums of money were siphoned off from donations and used to construct the lavish Kerwa Dam Palace near Bhopal. The donations to the society included a Rs 150,000 donation from Union Carbide,[4] whose chief Warren Anderson was permitted to leave the country after the gas leak, allegedly by Arjun Singh's office.

At a public litigation hearing, the Madhya Pradesh High Court observed that "Arjun Singh owed an explanation to the nation about the costs and sources of construction of the palatial mansion in Bhopal".[7] While Singh had claimed the value of the palace was Rs 1.8 million, the IT Department estimated the cost at above Rs one crore.[8] However, a one-judge commission investigating the scandal gave a clean chit to Arjun Singh.[9] The case was re-opened however, after the Jain Hawala case,[7] and Singh was asked to submit fresh re-estimates of the palace cost. In court, the case was argued by Kapil Sibal and the order for re-examination was squashed on the grounds that it had been issued in a haste and "had not applied his mind".[7]

Other controversies

After the Mumbai train bombings of 2006, he reportedly quoted at a Cabinet meeting the statements of a former judge of the Maharashtra High Court that an earlier attempt on the headquarters of the Hindu revivalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in Nagpur had been a plot set into motion by the Sangh itself. This followed his denouncement of the Ekal Vidyalayas, one-teacher schools run for the benefit of the tribals of India by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.,[10] as communal[disambiguation needed].[11]

A case under the Anti-Dowry Act was registered against Arjun Singh in 2007. The then Uttar Pradesh government had decided to seek CBI inquiry into dowry harassment case.[12]

Arjun Singh was accused of irregularities and corruption in the grant of "Deemed University" status to private for-profit educational institutions which did not meet requisite educational standards, during his tenure as Minister for Human Resources Development. The Government of India initiated proceedings to repeal the "Deemed University" status of 44 such institutions in January 2010.[13]


Singh died on 4 March 2011, at the age of 80. He had been admitted in Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences with chest pain and neurological problems, and died of a heart attack.[14] He was cremated at his home town of Churhat.[15]


Arjun Singh's son Ajay Singh aka Rahul Bhaiya is an INC politician and former Leader of Opposition in the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly. His grandson is Arunoday Singh, a Bollywood actor.[16]

Another grandson of his, Kunwar Aishwarya Singh of Singrauli is married to Devyani Rana, great-granddaughter of Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, former Prime Minister of Nepal.

Positions held

Elections contested

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Mishra, Ashish (26 November 2018). "अर्जुन सिंह : मध्यप्रदेश का वो मुख्यमंत्री, जिसके पिता को पीएम नेहरू ने बेइज्जत कर दिया था". The Lallantop.
  2. ^ "Arjun Singh, the missing MP Chief Minister during Bhopal Gas tragedy". India TV News. 3 December 2014.
  3. ^ "How Anderson came and left", The Bhopal Post, 9 June 2010.
  4. ^ a b "NATIONAL POLITICS: BJP loses appetite for dinner, not pact | News from Darjeeling, Dooars & Sikkim". 13 June 2010. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  5. ^ O. P. Ralhan (1998). Encyclopaedia of political parties : India, Pakistan, Bangladesh; national, regional, local. Anmol Publications. ISBN 81-7488-865-9. p. 89
  6. ^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India – Main News". Tribune India. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 June 2006. Retrieved 27 July 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  8. ^ Singh, N. K. (15 December 1986). "Police fortify Arjun Singh's mansion to prevent 'undesirable elements' from entering". India Today. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 October 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 June 2006. Retrieved 30 July 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 November 2006. Retrieved 27 July 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 4 August 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "44 Deemed Universities To Be De-Recognised By Govt". The Times of India. 19 January 2010. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011.
  14. ^ "Congress veteran Arjun Singh dead". The Economic Times. 5 March 2011.
  15. ^ "Arjun Singh to be cremated tomorrow in Churhat". APN News. 5 March 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  16. ^ "एमपी के पूर्व मुख्यमंत्री का पोता है जिस्म 2 का ये हीरो, इस एक्टर से प्रेरित होकर फिल्मों में रखा कदम". Aajtak. 16 February 2021.
  17. ^ CV at Indian Parliament website Archived 28 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ "Arjun, Bhardwaj, Shinde elected unopposed to Rajya Sabha",, 20 March 2006.

External links

  • HRD Ministry's website
  • Arjun singh's recent interview with Karan Thapar on reservation issue
  • Hindustan Times : Arjun Singh, always in the race but never the king
Preceded by Minister of Human Resource Development, Government of India
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Human Resource Development, Government of India
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Communications, Government of India
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Commerce, Government of India
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Punjab
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh
Succeeded by