Updated: September 19, 2021 10:10:59 am
If Congress picks Sunil Jakhar as the next chief minister of Punjab, he will only be the fourth Hindu face to head the state since 1947 and the first after 1966 when the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU) was reorganised and Haryana was carved out, creating Punjab as a Sikh-majority state. All three previous Hindu CMs – Gopi Chand Bhargava, Bhim Sen Sachar and Ram Kishan – were from Congress and had played vital role in Indian freedom struggle.
Gopi Chand Bhargava
He was the first CM of undivided Punjab from August 1947 to April 1949. He again helmed the post from October 1949 to June 1951 and then for a brief period in June-July 1964. Hailing from Sirsa district (now in Haryana), he was an MBBS graduate from Lahore. He along with his brother Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava, had started ‘Vidya Pracharini Sabha’ and participated in India’s freedom struggle.
Bhim Sen Sachar
He was Punjab CM from April to October 1949, from April 1952 to July 1953, and then from July 1953 to January 1956. He was the first elected CM of Punjab (in 1952), winning from Ludhiana city south. Amid allegations of corruption and conflict with his Cabinet colleagues, he had to resign once in July 1953 but was soon re-sworn as CM. Born in Peshawar (now in Pakistan), he had joined Indian National Congress during freedom struggle. He had also spent some time in Pakistan after Partition but later shifted to India.
Born in Jhang, now in Pakistan, he later shifted to Jalandhar, and was Punjab CM from July 1964-July 1966, when he had to resign as Punjab Assembly was dissolved for reorganization of the state and creation of Haryana. He was the last Hindu face as Punjab CM. He was given the honorific title of ‘Comrade’ due to his contribution in Indian freedom struggle. Veteran Congress leaders in Jalandhar remember him as a grassroots leader who used to commute on bicycle mostly.
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