Vidya Charan Shukla
|Minister of External Affairs|
21 November 1990 - 20 February 1991
|I. K. Gujral|
|7th President of Indian Olympic Association|
|Born||2 August 1929|
Raipur, Central Provinces and Berar, British India
(now in Chhattisgarh, India)
|Died||11 June 2013 (aged 83)|
Gurgaon, Haryana, India
|Political party||Indian National Congress|
Vidya Charan Shukla (2 August 1929 - 11 June 2013) was a noted Indian politician and Minister from the Indian National Congress party. His political career spanned of almost six decades. He was a close associate of Indira Gandhi.
Vidya Charan Shukla was born at Raipur, Central Provinces and Berar. His father Pt. Ravishankar Shukla was a lawyer, freedom fighter, veteran Congressman, Premier of Central Provinces, Berar, the first Chief Minister of reorganised Madhya Pradesh. Shyama Charan Shukla, three times Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh was his elder brother. He had seven other siblings. He participated in India's freedom struggle.
Vidya Charan Shukla graduated from Morris College, Nagpur in 1951. He started Allwyn Cooper Private Ltd., which had originally organised big-game safari and photo expeditions of wildlife in Central Indian forests.
For the general elections in 1957 the Congress Party chose him as their Lok Sabha candidate from Mahasamund constituency. He won with a thumping victory to enter the Parliament of India as one of its youngest Parliamentarians. He returned elected to Lok Sabha 9 times in subsequent elections.
When Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister in 1966, he was chosen as a Minister in the her Cabinet. He was Minister of State under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from 1967 to 1977 including as Minister of State with Independent Charge of Information and Broadcasting. Despite a versatile career, Shukla's role as Information and Broadcasting Minister during the Emergency period had got him some odium as propagandist for Indira Gandhi's government. His ministry attracted adverse attention for the media censor policy during that period when Freedom of speech was under attack. The Justice Shah Commission of Inquiry which went into the Emergency excesses,was stunned when V. C. Shukla owned entire responsibility for the functioning of his ministry. He had banned Kishore Kumar's songs on All India Radio because Kishore Kumar had refused to sing at an Indira Gandhi rally. He was known for his iron-fist handling of the media during the Emergency.He was also a minister in Rajiv Gandhi lead Congress government,but left and joined the revolt against Rajiv Gandhi in the mid-1980s and was one of the founders of Jan Morcha along with Arun Nehru, V.P. Singh and Arif Mohammad Khan. He later became a minister in the National Front government of 1989-90 under V.P. Singh and switched allegiance to join the subsequent Chandrasekhar government and served as Minister for External Affairs of India during 1990-91 under Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, during the Lok Sabha as a member of Janata Dal. He again returned to Congress Party and also served as Cabinet Minister under Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao during 1991-96 as Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Minister of Irrigation. in 2003 he shifted to Nationalist Congress Party and headed the Chhattisgarh Unit of NCP. However, he changed his political allegiance and joined BJP towards end of 2003, but in 2004 Lok Sabha elections he himself lost on the BJP ticket from Mahasamund against Ajit Jogi of INC. After the defeat he resigned from BJP in 2004. From 2004 he was in political state of limbo and was trying to return to Congress Party till finally in 2007, when Sonia Gandhi, the Congress leader, approved his return to the Congress party. He was in Congress from 2007 till his death in 2013
Vidya Charan Shukla was close to his 84th birthday and was part of Congress Party's Parivartan Yatra in Chhattisgarh, when he was injured in Naxal attack on 25 May 2013. He was later moved to Medanta at Gurgaon, where he succumbed to his injuries on 11 June 2013.
President Pranab Mukherjee in his condolence message said Vidya Charan Shukla was a veteran Parliamentarian, able administrator and an outstanding statesman. Shekhar Dutt, the Chhattisgarh Governor said his death marks the end of an era. Several leaders including then Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Lal Krishna Advani and others, cutting across party lines paid tribute to him and many national leaders were present at his last rites.