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Former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral passes away

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Gurgaon: Former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral, who headed a rickety coalition government in the late 1990s, died on November 30 after a brief illness.

Gujral, 92, breathed his last in a private hospital after a multi-organ failure. He was admitted to the hospital on November 19, with a lung infection, family sources said.

The former Prime Minister, who was on ventilator support, had been unwell for sometime. He was on dialysis for over a year and suffered a serious chest infection some days ago. He was cremated in Delhi on December 1.

Gujral, who migrated from Pakistan after Partition, rose to become the Prime Minister with a big slice of luck after he came up through the ranks — starting as Vice-President in NDMC in the 1950s to later become a Union Minister and then India’s Ambassador to the USSR.

Gujral, an intellectual who propounded the “Gujral Doctrine” of five principles for maintaining good neighborly relations, left the Congress to join the Janata Dal in the late-1980s.

He became Minister of External Affairs in the V.P. Singh-led National Front government in 1989. As the External Affairs Minister he handled the fallout of the Kuwait crisis following Iraqi invasion that displaced thousands of Indians.

Gujral had a second stint as External Affairs Minister in the United Front government under H.D. Deve Gowda, whom he later replaced as Prime Minister after the Congress withdrew support in 1997.