Chandra Shekhar is dead, loses battle against cancer


New Delhi : Former prime minister Chandra Shekhar lost his long battle with cancer Sunday morning. He died at a city hospital at the age of 80.

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Chandra Shekhar, who was the 11th prime minister of India (1990-91), was suffering from bone cancer and was admitted to the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital here two-and-a-half months ago. He died at the hospital at around 8.45 a.m.He is survived by two sons. He will be cremated Monday.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed his deep condolences over the demise of the Lok Sabha member from Ballia in Uttar Pradesh and described him as a "true secularist".

Several political leaders also expressed their condolences.

Manmohan Singh had visited the Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya) leader at the hospital Saturday night and spent about 20 minutes with him.

A socialist by heart, Chandra Shekhar was born on July 1, 1927, in Ibrahimpatti of Balia district.

A postgraduate from the Allahabad University, he was first elected to Rajya Sabha in 1962. In 1967, he became the general secretary of the Congress Parliamentary Party and in 1977 he was elected to the sixth Lok Sabha.

He became the president of Janata Party in 1977-78 and was instrumental in the formation of a non-Congress government for the first time after Independence at the centre.

Author of two books "Meri Jail Diary" (in Hindi) and "Dynamics of Social Change", Chandra Shekhar was re-elected to the 14th Lok Sabha in 2004. This was his eighth term in the lower house of parliament.