VC Shukla: Congressman to the core

Published: 11th June 2013 04:11 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th June 2013 04:43 PM   |  A+A-


Vidya Charan Shukla, a Congressman by origin who changed parties and held key portfolios including External Affairs, achieved fame during the infamous Emergency as a propagandist for Indira Gandhi's government.

Son of an illustrious Congressman and a freedom fighter Pandit Ravishankar Shukla, the first Chief Minister of the re-organised Madhya Pradesh, V C Shukla entered Lok Sabha from Mahasamund after winning in the second general elections in 1957 as one of the youngest Parliamentarians.

His brother Shyama Charan Shukla was another veteran Congressman, who had served as Chief Minister of undivided Madhya Pradesh.

He won nine Parliament elections and in his long political career, he held virtually all portfolios including Communications, Home, Defence, Finance, Planning, Civil Supplies, External Affairs, Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources at the Centre.

But his role as Information and Broadcasting Minister during the Emergency days had catapulted him to national focus and also got him some odium.

However, to be fair to him, Shukla stood by his decisions and owned them before commission of inquiry set by the then Janata Party government to go into Emergency accesses.+

During the Emergency, he banned the songs of Kishore Kumar from All India Radio and Doordarshan because the singer once refused to perform at an Indian National Congress rally in Mumbai.

His ministry also attracted adverse attention for the media censor policy during that period when freedom of speech was under attack.

Shukla graduated from Morris College Nagpur in 1951 and started Allwyn Cooper Private Ltd, which organised big-game safari and photo expeditions of wildlife in central Indian forests in addition to Manganese and Dolomite mining.

He joined the revolt against Rajiv Gandhi in the mid 80s and was one of the founders of Jan Morcha headed by V P Singh.

Later he became a minister in the National Front government of 1989-90 under V P Singh and switched allegiance to join the subsequent Chandrasekhar government to become External Affairs Minister.

Then he returned to Congress and became a minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government. Later he had a brief stint with the BJP before returning to the Congress.


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