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Arjun Singh

Born 5 November 1930 (1930-11-05) (age 79)
Spouse(s) Saroj Kumari
Occupation Politician, Former Union Minister

Arjun Singh (Hindi: अर्जुन सिंह born November 5, 1930) is an Indian politician from the Indian National Congress party. He was the Union Minister of Human Resource Development in the Manmohan Singh cabinet from 2004 to 2009. He belongs to the Churhat Jagir under ex-Princely State of Rewa, Madhya Pradesh.[1] He is a Rajput from the Kshatriya (warrior)community. He was not included in the current cabinet on grounds of his failing health. There are reports that he may soon be appointed as a governor.[2] His father, Rao Shiv Bahadur Singh, who was also a politician was convicted in 1950 of taking bribes to issue a forged document for a diamond mining firm.

He was educated at Allahabad University and Agra University (B.A., LL.B.).

Arjun Singh is married to Saroj devi of Pratapgarh near Amarpatan in Satna, M.P. and the couple have two sons and a daughter.



Arjun Singh was a minister in the P.V. Narasimha Rao cabinet but he resigned after the Babri Masjid demolition. At the time, he formed the All India Indira Congress (Tiwari) with the support of Ex- CM of UP and Uttaranchal Mr. Narayan Dutt Tiwari as President, but they lost 1996 Loksabha elections and the Congress too lost power at the center. Later he returned back to Congress and lost again of Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh three times & Governor of Punjab once for a short period. As Governor of Punjab worked for Rajiv-Longwal Accord for peace in Punjab. He was awarded the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award for 2000.

Positions held

  • 1957-85 Member, Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly Member of the Legislative Assembly
  • Sept. 1963-Dec. 1967 Minister of State for Agriculture, General Administration Department (GAD) and Information & Public Relations, Government of Madhya Pradesh
  • 1967 Minister of Planning and Development, Government of Madhya Pradesh
  • 1972-77 Minister of Education, Government of Madhya Pradesh
  • 1977-80 Leader of Opposition, Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly
  • 1980-85 Chief Minister, Madhya Pradesh
  • March - Nov. 1985 Governor of Punjab
  • Feb. 1988 - Jan. 1989 Chief Minister, Madhya Pradesh
  • June 1991 - Dec. 1994 Minister of Human Resource Development, Government of India
  • June 1991 - May 1996 Member from Satna, Tenth Lok Sabha
  • June 1996 - Lost from Satna, Eleventh Lok Sabha
  • April 1998 - Lost from Hoshangabad, Twelfth Lok Sabha
  • April 2000 Elected to Rajya Sabha
  • 15 May 2000 - Feb. 2004 Member, Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Home Affairs
  • 31 August 2001- July 2004 Member, Committee on Rules
  • April 2002 - Feb. 2004 Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Purposes Committee
  • 22 May 2004 - May 2009 Minister of Human Resource[3]

He was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh without opposition on March 20, 2006.[4]


Bhopal Gas Tragedy Arjun Singh was the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh when the Bhopal disaster occurred. It is widely alleged that on the fateful night between December 2,1984 and December 3,1984 , when the gas leak occurred, Arjun Singh fled to his Kerwa Dam palace (outside Bhopal) to save himself from deadly effects of leaked gas and was not available to manage the crisis or lead the administration.

While Arjun Singh was the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, he was involved in the scandal which was called by some the Churhat Lottery case in the 1980s, in which allegations, never proved, were levelled that he had helped set up a phony state lottery.[5]

After the Mumbai train bombings of 2006, he reportedly quoted at a Cabinet meeting the statements of a former judge of the Maharashtra High Court that an earlier attempt on the headquarters of the Hindu revivalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in Nagpur had been a plot set into motion by the Sangh itself. This followed his denouncement of the Ekal Vidyalayas, one-teacher schools run for the benefit of the tribals of India by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.[6], as communal.[7]

A case under the Anti-Dowry Act has been registered against Arjun Singh.[8] Mayawati government has decided to seek CBI inquiry into dowry harassment case.[9]

Arjun Singh is accused of irregularities and corruption in the grant of Deemed University status to private for-profit educational institutions which did not meet requisite educational standards, during his tenure as Minister for Human Resources Development. The Government of India initiated proceedings to repeal the "Deemed University" status of 44 such institutions in Jan 2010.[10]

Reservation controversy

Additional controversy was created in 2005 by drafting the proposed 104th Amendment Bill to the constitution, which subsequently became the 93rd Amendment. According to this amendment, which has yet to pass the 'Basic Structure' test of constitutionality by the Supreme Court, all private unaided educational institutes could be asked by their State Governments to reserve seats for designated Other Backward Classes. In early 2006, Singh also sought to increase caste-based reservation quotas for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the internationally reputed Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management, along with other Indian central government run institutes of higher studies, from 22.5% to 49.5%, a measure which came under intense criticism by the press and by the anti-reservation Arjun Singh plans to impose quotas not just in 32 Central institutions, but also in over 100 deemed universities.This is expected to cause huge problems in the quality of education.

He noted, in the context of Dalit Muslim reservations that "the UPA is entirely committed towards the cause of Muslims". He is then said to have viewed the reservations as a tool to a votebank for his Congress Party.[11]

See also


External links

Preceded by
Succeeded by
Motilal Vora


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