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Devi Lal

Chaudhari Devi Lal
Chaudhary Devi Lal (1914–2001)
6th Deputy Prime Minister of India
In office
2 December 1989 – 21 June 1991
Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh
Chandra Shekhar Singh
Preceded by Yashwantrao Chavan
Succeeded by Lal Krishna Advani
Chief Minister of Haryana
In office
17 July 1987 – 2 December 1989
Governor Muzaffar Husain Burney
Hara Anand Barari
Preceded by Bansi Lal
Succeeded by Om Prakash Chautala
In office
21 June 1977 – 28 June 1979
Governor Jaisukh Lal Hathi
Harcharan Singh Brar
Preceded by Banarsi Das Gupta
Succeeded by Bhajan Lal
Personal details
Born (1914-09-16)16 September 1914
Sirsa, British Raj (now India)
Died 6 April 2001(2001-04-06) (aged 86)
New Delhi
Political party Indian National Lok Dal (1987–2001)
Other political
Indian National Congress (Before 1971)
Independent (1971–1977)
Janata Party (1977–1987)

Chaudhary Devi Lal (16 September 1914 – 6 April 2001) was an Indian politician and freedom fighter who served as Chief Minister of Haryana for the first time, from 1977 to 79 and second time from 1987 to 89. He also served as sixth Deputy Prime Minister of India from 1989 to 91.

Early life

Devi Lal was born in a Jat family of the Sihag clan, in Teja Khera village of Sirsa district in present-day Haryana.[1] His mother's name was Shugna Devi and father's name was Lekh Ram Sihag. Lekh Ram was a wealthy Jat landlord of Chautala village and he owned 2750 bighas of land. Devi Lal, whose original name was Devi Dayal, received education up to middle-school and also trained as a wrestler at an 'Akhara' in Badal village (Punjab). On Mahatma Gandhi's call, both he and his elder brother Sahib Ram, left their studies unfinished to take part in the freedom movement.[2] His son Om Prakash Chautala has also served as Haryana's chief minister.

Freedom fighter

Chaudhary Devi Lal was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and was involved in the struggle for Indian independence from the British Raj. Both he and his elder brother, Sahib Ram, left their studies unfinished to take part in the freedom movement.

For this he was sentenced to one year rigorous imprisonment and sent to Hissar jail on 8 October 1930. He took part in the movement of 1932 and was kept in Sadar Delhi Thana. In 1938 he was selected delegate of All-India Congress Committee. In March 1938 his elder brother was elected a Member of the Legislative Assembly in a by-election on the Congress party ticket. In January 1940, Sahib Ram courted arrest as a satyagrahi in the presence of Devi Lal and over ten thousand people. He was fined Rs 100 and sentenced to 9 months imprisonment.

Devi Lal was arrested on 5 October 1942 and kept in jail for two years for taking part in the 1942 Quit India movement. He was released from prison in October 1943 and he negotiated parole for his elder brother. In August 1944, Chhotu Ram, the then Revenue Minister, visited Chautala village. He, along with Lajpat Rai Alakhpura, made efforts to woo both Sahib Ram and Devi Lal to desert Congress and join the Unionist Party. But both workers, being dedicated freedom fighters, refused to leave the Congress Party.

Post independence

After independence, he emerged as a popular leader of farmers in India and Devi Lal started a farmer's movement and was arrested along with his 500 workers. After some time, then Chief Minister, Gopi Chand Bhargava, made an agreement and the Muzzara Act was amended. He was elected a member of the Punjab Assembly in 1952 and President of the Punjab Congress in 1956.

He played an active and decisive role in the formation of Haryana as a separate state. In 1958 he was elected from Sirsa. In 1971 he left Congress and in 1974 successfully contested against it in the Rori constituency. In 1975 Indira Gandhi declared emergency, and Devi Lal along with all opposition leaders were jailed for 19 months. In 1977 the emergency ended and general elections were held. He was elected on the Janata Party ticket and became the Chief Minister of Haryana. For his steadfast opposition to emergency and dictatorial misrule, he became known as Sher-e-Haryana (Lion of Haryana).

He remained a member of parliament from 1980 to 1982 and was a member of State assembly between 1982 and 1987. He formed Lok Dal and started Nyaya Yuddh (en. battle for justice), under the banner of Haryana Sangharsh Samiti, and became hugely popular among masses. In the 1987 state elections, the alliance led by Devi Lal won a record victory winning 85 seats in the 90 member house. Congress won the other five seats. Devi Lal became the Chief Minister of Haryana for the second time. In the 1989 parliamentary election, he was simultaneously elected, both from Sikar in Rajasthan and Rohtak in Haryana. He twice became Deputy Prime Minister of India in two different governments. He was elected to Rajya Sabha in August, 1998. Later his son Om Prakash Chautala also became the Chief Minister of Haryana.

After independence, Devi Lal emerged as a leader of farmers. During his two tenures as chief minister of Haryana he made several decisions benefiting farmers and rural people. He always took decisions about the betterment of common people. His popularity among farmers and rural people, earned him the title of 'Tau' (Elder Uncle). Devi Lal died on April 6, 2001 at the age of 86. He was cremated at Sangarsh Sthal on the banks of the river Yamuna. "Kisan Ghat" is the samadhi of another popular leader of the farmers, Charan Singh, fifth Prime Minister of India.


External links

  • Official website of Indian National Lok Dal
Political offices
Preceded by
Banarsi Das Gupta
Chief Minister of Haryana
Succeeded by
Bhajan Lal
Preceded by
Bansi Lal
Chief Minister of Haryana
Succeeded by
Om Prakash Chautala
Preceded by
Yashwantrao Chavan
Deputy Prime Minister of India
Succeeded by
Lal Krishna Advani
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