Sunder Singh Bhandari is no more.
Nation pays tribute to Bhandariji
By Our Correspondent
Founder member of Jan Sangh and BJP, Sunder Singh Bhandari passed away in New Delhi in his sleep on June 22. He was 84. He breathed his last at his residence in Kalkaji at about 5 a.m. He had not been keeping well for some time.
Shri Bhandari was cremated at Nigambodh Ghat in New Delhi on June 23. His nephew Shashi Singhi performed the last rites amid chanting of religious hymns. A host of dignitaries, including Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and BJP president L. K. Advani were present at the cremation ground. Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Shri Arjun Munda, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Babulal Gaur, VHP working president Shri Ashok Singhal, BJP leaders Rajnath Singh, Kalraj Mishra, Arun Jaitely and Ravi Shankar Prasad also paid tributes along with many other admirers of the former BJP vice-president.
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, in a special gesture, went to the BIP headquarters at Ashoka Road to lay a floral wreath and sign the condolence register. President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Vice President Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri K.S. Sudarshan, Sarkaryavah Shri Mohan Bhagwat and senior BJP leader Dr Murli Manohar Joshi also paid their tributes. RSS Sahsar-karyavah Shri Suresh Soni participated in Bhandari'scremation.
As soon as the news of Bhandari'sdeath spread, thousand of BJP workers and his admirers congregated at his residence in Kalkaji to pay their last respects. Later his body was brought to BJP headquarters where BJP leaders and workers paid their homage.
Sunder Singh Bhandari was thorough in organisational matters. A committed Sangh Pracharak since 1946, he was also a sharp orator. He was among the few selected Sangh Pracharaks who was inducted in politics by the Sangh following the request of Jan Sangh founder, Dr Syama Prasad Mookherjee in 1952. Bhandari was founder member of the Jan Sangh and later of the BJP. He was its general secretary during 1951-1965 and subsequently held other senior posts in the BJP as general secretary, vice president and treasurer. He was incarcerated in Tihar jail during the Emergency in 1975.
Born in Udaipur on April 21, 1921, Bhandari did his M.A. in economics from Kanpur in 1942, a year after graduating in law from the same place. He practiced law for about a year in Mewar High Court at Udaipur before becoming the headmaster of Shiksha Bhavan there. He held the post for three years and left it to devote full time to the RSS in 1946. He became the Divisional Pracharak in Rajasthan and later was shifted to Jan Sangh in 1952. He organised the underground movement in 1948 against the ban on RSS. Bhandari was also Governor of Bihar and Gujarat.
In his tributes Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat said, ?Bhandari was a symbol of simplicity and highest moral values. The way he spent his life in the service of the common masses with dedication and in a selfless manner is an example for others to follow in public life.?
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh described Bhandari as ?a patriot? and ?nationalist?. ?Bhandari was a great leader who had a distinguished record of public service spanning many decades. His presence, advice and wisdom will be missed by one and all,? he said.
RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Mohan Bhagwat said that with the death of Sunder Singh Bhandari, ?a committed and loyal Swayamsevak, who worked with utmost dedication in political field, had passed away. ?On behalf of RSS, I pay tributes to the departed soul.?
Paying tributes, BJP president L.K. Advani acknowledged Bhandari'srole thus: ?The BJP may be only 25-years old, but its political journey began in 1952, when Dr Syama Prasad Mookherjee founded the Jan Sangh. Since then, many leaders toiled hard to bring the party to where it is today. Bhandariji was prominent among them. People who knew him are saddened by his demise because he was among the few in the political arena who were not affected by its shortcomings.?