Former Union Home Minister and senior Congress leader passes away! PM Modi and leaders pay tribute

Former Union Home Minister Buta Singh has passed away on Saturday at the age of 86 in Delhi. Buta Singh was known to be active in the public service for many years and he has held powerful portfolios in his political career. He was a Congress leader and had served under four Prime Ministers in key roles.

Singh was an eight-time former MP and also served as the Governor Bihar. According to reports, Buta Singh was in a state of coma since October last year, when he was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences after he suffered a brain hemorrhage. He was confined to bed since then and was getting treated for his ailment. However, his health has got deteriorated and he breathed his last on Saturday at the age of 86. 

The family of the veteran Congress leader said that Singh had passed away in the morning hours of Saturday. Buta Singh was born on March 21, 1934, in Jalandhar district, Punjab, and in a career spanning for over five decades, Singh was an eight-time former Lok Sabha MP.  He was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1962 from the Jalore constituency in Rajasthan. Initially, Singh was a part of the Shiromani Akali Dal, and in the early 1960s, he joined the Congress party. 

Reputedly known for being a Dalit leader, he formed the All India Congress Committee's Harijan Cell in 1973-74 and he then became the general secretary of the Congress party in 1978. In 1974, Singh was appointed as the Union Deputy Minister for Railways and two years later, he was appointed as the Union Deputy Minister for Commerce. In 1980, he became the Union Minister of State for Shipping and Transport and he was then given the portfolio of Sports (independent charge) in 1982. 

Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi named Buta Singh in her cabinet by awarding the post of the minister for parliamentary affairs, sports, works, and housing in 1983. Singh was appointed as the Union Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development in 1984 and in 1986, Buta Singh was appointed as the Union Home Minister by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Following the Gandhis, Singh had also served under Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao as the Union Minister of Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs, and Public distribution from 1995 to 1996. 

After Narasimha Rao, Buta Singh had served under Manmohan Singh as the Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes. He was appointed to this post in 2007 and he had held this post till 2010. Besides serving under the four Prime Ministers, Buta Singh had also served as the Chairperson of the Asian Games Organizing Committee when the competition was held in India in 1982. He also has served as the Governor of Bihar between 2004 to 2006. 

According to reports, Singh had also involved in choosing the Congress's 'hand' symbol after the party got divided in 1978. Buta Singh had played a significant role in building and re-building many gurdwaras in the country and overseas - particularly the Sri Akaal Takht, after Operation Blue Star in 1984. He was involved in the reconstruction of many Sikh temples in Delhi after the anti-Sikh riots in November 1984, following the assassination of Indira Gandhi. 

He was not active after 2010 and he went comatose in October 2019 after he suffered a brain hemorrhage. The Senior Congress leader was battling for life and his battle has come to an end after he breathed his last on Saturday at the age of 86. Singh was surviving by a daughter and two sons. After the news of his demise broke out, many national leaders including President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had paid tributes to the departed soul and expressed condolences to the family members of the deceased.