India Business
Chandra Shekhar was a true liberal: Manmohan Singh
May 1, 2007 - 3:38:04 PM

New Delhi, May 1 - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday showered praise on his former boss and India's 9th prime minister Chandra Shekhar, whom he had served as economic advisor between December 1990 and March 1991.

The occasion was the inauguration of a new campus of the Institute for Studies in Industrial Development -, a think tank focused on industrialisation that has been founded by Chandra Shekhar, who turns 80 on July 1.

But Chandra Shekhar, who had pulled Manmohan Singh out of the South Commission, where he was serving as secretary general and commissioner, could not be present due to poor health, the organisers said.

He suffers from multiple myeloma, cancer of the plasma cell.

'His claim to fame is that he has been a 'young Turk'. An angry young man, who wished to see change,' Manmohan Singh said of the former prime minister, who now represents Ballia in Lok Sabha, the lower house, as a member of the Samajwadi Janata Party -.

'He has been a great admirer of Indiraji, even when he differed with her,' the prime minister said. In fact, Chandra Shekhar was arrested by then government of Indira Gandhi under the infamous Maintenance of Internal Security Act during the emergency rule of 1975.

'Some of us may not agree with all the ideas that Chandra Shekharji holds dear. But he, like a true liberal, respects those who differ with him. He has always been willing to engage his political opponents in a meaningful dialogue.'

The prime minister said it was to Chandra Shekhar's credit that India now has an institution focusing on the problem of industrialisation. 'We have many centres of research on agriculture in India but few that study industry intensively.'

An MP for eight terms, Chandra Shekhar, who last attended parliament during the winter session for a day and has virtually given up making public appearances, was prime minister between November 1990 and June 1991.

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