Chandra Shekhar’s village mourns demise of ‘son of soil’


Ibrahim-Patti (Uttar Pradesh) : This lesser known village in Ballia district in eastern Uttar Pradesh is mourning the death of its "son of the soil" former prime minister Chandra Shekhar, who passed away in New Delhi Sunday morning.

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All roads in Ibrahim-Patti seemed to be leading to the house of the socialist leader who was born here 80 years ago.

The village, located about 35 km from Ballia town, came on the national map only on account of its "worthy son", who marched from the dusty, undulated and unpaved roads of the utterly backward village to the portals of power in New Delhi.

Though no member of Chandra Shekhar's family was available at his village home, Rana Singh, a one-time close confidant of the leader, told IANS: "Thousands of people are visiting his native home, where we propose to organize a condolence meeting tomorrow."

He said, "Ballia has produced many great freedom-fighters but Chandra Shekhar was among those who rose to prominence in the post-independence era to scale unfathomed heights."

C.B. Singh, former principal of the Government Intermediate College in the neighbouring Mau district from where Chandra Shekhar passed his class XII, fondly remembered the student days of the "Young Turk" of Indian politics.

"Chandra Shekhar was a bright student but he always chose to sit in the last row in his class. But what was really praiseworthy in him was that even after he rose to occupy the highest office in the country, he never forgot his roots."

Singh hoped that the Mau college would also hold a condolence meeting for the former prime minister.

Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav attributed his entry into politics to Chandra Shekhar. He described the former prime minister as "a grassroots politician who never played drawing-room politics but believed in fighting it out in the field."

Yadav added: "He stood up for causes and was therefore held in high esteem by everyone.

"Chandra Shekharji was among those few politicians who never compromised on his principles and even had to lose his prime ministership on that account," he said.