Former Punjab CM Surjit Singh Barnala passes away

Former Punjab Chief Minister Surjit Singh Barnala, who took over reins of the state when militancy was at its peak in the mid-80s, passed away on 14 January in Chandigarh. He was 91.

Barnala served as Punjab's Chief Minister from 1985 to 1987. A moderate leader of the Akali Dal, he became the CM after the Rajiv-Longowal accord to usher in peace in the troubled state was reached in the summer of 1985.

Surjit Singh Barnala was a candidate for the Vice-Presidency in 1997, but was defeated by Krishna Kant. He also served as the Governor of Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

As Governor of Tamil Nadu, Barnala famously refused to recommend the dismissal of the DMK government in 1991, when the late Chandrashekhar was the Prime Minister for a short time. When he was transferred to Bihar, Barnala chose to resign as Governor.

Barnala was the Agriculture Minister in the Moraji Desai government and the Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Cabinet.

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