Former prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral was a former Indian politician who served as the 12th Prime Minister of India from April 1997 to March 1998. He was the second PM to govern exclusively from the Rajya Sabha, first being his immediate predecessor H.D. Deve Gowda. He participated in India's freedom struggle, and was jailed in 1942 during the 'Quit India Movement'.
He was born on 4 December 1919 and the son of Late Shri Avtar Narain Gujral and Late Smt. Pushpa Gujral. He is M.A., B.Com. Ph.D. & D.Litt. (Hons. Causa). IK Gugral was born at Jhelum (in undivided Punjab) on 4th December 1919. He and Smt. Shiela Gujral were married on May 26, 1945. He sworn in as the 12th Prime Minister of India on Monday, the 21st of April, 1997.
He belongs to a family of freedom fighters: both his parents participated in the freedom struggle in Punjab. At the young age of eleven, he himself actively participated in the freedom struggle in 1931 and was arrested and severely beaten by the police for organising movement of young children in the Jhelum town. In 1942, he was jailed during the Quit India.He tumultuous days of June 1975, he was Minister of Information and Broadcasting. On 12 June 1975, the Allahabad High Court gave a verdict that Prime Minister Indira Gandhi used unfair means in elections of 1971 and termed her election null and void. Later, Gujral was appointed Ambassador of India to the Soviet Union as the Indian envoy to Moscow.
Gujral left the Indian National Congress party in the mid-1980s and joined the Janata Dal. The Dal was a third-party with mainly socialist leanings and regional bases. In the 1989 elections, Gujral was elected from the Jalandhar parliamentary constituency in Punjab. He served as Minister of External Affairs in Prime Minister V. P. Singh's cabinet. In 1989, Singh sent him to Srinagar to seal the deal with the kidnappers in the case of the 1989 kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed. The largest issue he had to deal with in this cabinet role was Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent events that led to the first Gulf War of January 1991.
As India's representative, he personally met with Saddam Hussein. His hug with Hussein during the meeting remains a matter of controversy. In the 1991 mid-term parliamentary elections, Gujral contested from Patna constituency in Biharagainst Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya) candidate and then-Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha. However, the election was countermanded following complaints of large-scale irregularities. In 1992, Gujral was elected to Rajya Sabha and remained a key Janata Dal leader.
Former Prime Minister Gujral inherited the bitterness between the Congress Party and the United Front from his predecessor Deve Gowda. However he maintained good relations with the Congress Party, which supported his government from outside. Within a few weeks in office, Gujral faced trouble, not from the Congress party but within his own Janata Dal.
He was currently a member of the Club of Madrid, an independent non-profit organization composed of 81 democratic former Presidents and Prime Ministers from 57 different countries.