Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Grand old man of Indian politics

Received a message that Balram Jakhar will be in Kolkata on July 18th for a day. Balram Jakhar who has been a former Lok Sabha Speaker, ex agriculture minister and a former Governor of Madhya Pradesh has been in the Parliament at various times.
At present Jakhar sahab is probably the oldest politician in the country. I would call him the grand old man of Indian politics. I remember the last time when he was at my home, he told me over breakfast that he felt good coming to Bengal as this was the state where veteran politicians, older than himself, resided.
I have lost count as to how many times Jakhar ji has been to my place (file picture) in the past two decades, each time holding a prestigious but different post. My visitor’s book has a number of comments from him. He is still active at this age and has an excellent memory.
Jakhar ji was the first Indian to be elected Chairman of the Executive Committee of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association - a world organisation of member of parliamentarians and legislators of Commonwealth countries - headquartered in Westminster, London. The Queen of England is the patron of the organisation and the Presidents of all Commonwealth countries its vice patrons.
Talking about CPA, I remember when West Bengal Assembly Speaker Hashim Abdul Halim was elected as the Chairman of CPA executive committee I gave a reception at my home inviting the local Cabinet as well as Speakers from other state assemblies. Actress Jayapradha was also there as a woman member of CPA executive committee at that time (file picture: Mr Balram Jakhar, Hon’ble Governor of Madhya Pradesh and former Chairman of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Executive Committee, Hon’ble Mr K Rahman Khan, Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Hon’ble Mr. Suresh Reddy, Speaker, Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, Smt Jaya Prada, MP and Member of Commonwealth Women Parliamentary Association, Hon’ble Mr Mata Prasad Pandey, Speaker, Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly, Hon’ble Mr T N Haokip, Speaker, Manipur Legislative Assembly & Hon’ble Mr Mingma Tshering Sherpa, Deputy Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly  with  newly-elected chairman of CPA executive committee,Hashim Abdul Halim and Dr Prabha Khaitan (all designations held were as on the day of the event)).
I had kept Gram Bangla as the reception theme and guests were requested to arrive on rickhshaws from the road to the main gate of my house. Jakhar sahab was thrilled seeing this arrangement and while he was boarding the rickhshaw I wanted to give him my hand in support which he politely refused and climbed on to the rickshaw on his own (file picture) saying let me check how fit my body is. 
When he was the Governor of Madhya Pradesh, he had invited me several times to visit Bandhavgarh where there was a very well located guesthouse. Though I have always wanted to, but have not been able to visit the place.
Prior to becoming the Governor of MP, Jakhar ji lost the Lok Sabha elections from my native district Churu. Though he was very confident of winning, the chat was that he was a victim of in-house party (Congress) politics.
Even after his loss he retained his jolly mood and had once said that politicians should be in politics if they afraid of losing elections.
ess bee

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