New Delhi, Nov 30: Former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral died here on Friday, Nov 30. He was 93 and was suffering from prolonged illness.
Gujral had served as the 12th Prime Minister of India between April 1997 and March 1998.
A suave and sober politician, IK Gujral belonged to that genre of intellectuals who made a mark in the country's foreign policy and a slice of luck catapulted him to the Prime Minister's office, though briefly.
Twice a foreign minister, Gujral authored a foreign policy doctrine called the "Gujral Doctrine" (a set of principles to guide the conduct of foreign relations with India's immediate neighbours), which was widely acclaimed not only in India but also outside.
Capping a long political career that saw him occupy positions in various ministries under the late Indira Gandhi, who made him Ambassador to the then superpower USSR, Gujral became the surprise choice of a motley group of regional parties to be the Prime Minister of Janata Dal-led United Front government in 1997. Gujral, who had served as a minister in the Indira Gandhi government in the mid-1970s, joined the Janata Dal in the mid-1980s.
With tussle among several claimants including Mulayam Singh Yadav, Gujral became the consensus choice after Congress under Sitaram Kesri withdrew support to HD Deve Gowda. It was another matter that the experiment failed and in 10 months the nation was forced to go to polls.
Born on Dec 4, 1919 in Jhelum town now in Pakistan, Gujral belonged to a family of freedom fighters and had actively participated in the freedom struggle at a young age and was jailed in 1942 during the Quit India Movement.
(With PTI inputs)