Veteran BJP leader and Rajya Sabha Member Pyarelal Khandelwal passed away at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi on October 6 following a cardiac arrest. He was 84 and was suffering from cancer and age-related ailments. He was shifted to AIIMS from Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital a few days back.
His mortal remains were consigned to flames at Bhadbhada Vishram Ghat the same day in the presence of a large number of party workers. The funeral pyre was lit by his nephew, Prakash Khandelwal as slogans like Pyarelal Khandelwal Amar Rahe rented the air. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, state BJP president Narendra Singh Tomar, Chhattisgarh government ministers Amar Agrawal, Brij Mohan Agrawal and Rajesh Munat and senior RSS leader Soudhan Singh were among those present on the occasion.
Shri Chouhan in his tribute said an entire generation of the BJP workers were trained under Khandelwal and his death was an irreparable loss. Khandelwalji had defeated former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh from Rajgarh to enter the Lok Sabha. He was at present serving his second term in the Rajya Sabha. He had earlier served the party as national vice president and was also a member of the Central Election Committee. He was a RSS pracharak who worked extensively in building and strengthening the party in Madhya Pradesh.
In New Delhi Prime Minister Dr Manmohan visited the BJP headquarters to pay tribute to Khandelalji. Former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Leader of Opposition LK Advani, BJP president Rajnath Singh, former Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Rao Bhagwat, senior BJP leader Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, Shri Arun Jaitely and Shri SS Ahluwalia were among the senior leaders who condoled Khandelwalji’s death.
In his tribute Shri Vajpayee said it was “impossible to express the shock” caused by Khandelwalji’s death. “He was one of the principal activists instrumental in laying the foundation and working for the growth of Bharatiya Jan Sangh and BJP specially in Madhya Pradesh.”
In his tribute Shri Mohan Bhagwat described Khandelwalji as a ‘pracharak’ who “pledged to dedicate his life to remove the hurdles confronting RSS when the first ban was imposed on it in 1948, and to work for its growth.” Leader of Opposition Shri Advani said Khandelwalji had contributed immensely to the growth of the party. “In his death, we have lost a sincere and very dedicated worker of the party.
He and Kushabhau Thakre had worked for the party and were a source of inspiration for us. He had worked to get more than 3 per cent votes for the Bharatiya Jana Sangh in the 1950s when the Election Commission had laid down this criteria for recognising a political party as a national party. BJS was one of the four parties to get this recognition,” Shri Advani said. Party president Shri Rajnath Singh said the Khandelwalji had worked for BJS as well as BJP and gave him credit for the “extent of the organisation’s influence in the country.”
Born on April 6, 1929 at Charmandali village of Sehore district in Madhya Pradesh Khandelwalji came to a farmer’s family. He joined the RSS in 1940 and participated in the freedom struggle. He also played an important role in the students’ movement while studying in the Maheshwari School in 1942 and took part in the distribution of secret pamphlets published by Indore Prajamandal in his early student life. He was endured punishment in the school for voicing the slogan of Vande Mataram during the freedom struggle.
He became a Sangh Pracharak in 1948. He was sentenced for four months and was imprisoned in the jails of Indore and Ratlam from 1948 to 1949 for observing Satyagraha demanding lifting of the ban on RSS. He was also arrested with the late Eknath Ranade. He participated in Kashmir Movement in 1953 on the call given by Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee and was imprisoned in Kathua and Jammu jails. He joined the Jana Sangh in 1964 and was arrested during the Emergency in 1975 but escaped from the custody and remained underground for 19 months. He led the Lok Sangarsh Samiti in Madhya Pradesh established by Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narain during the Emergency. He launched a prolonged movement called “Gram Raj Abhiyan” and mobilised thousands of activists in Madhya Pradesh in 1988 which helped in the election victory of the BJP in the State in 1990. He made special efforts to integrate the Vanvasis and Harijans with the BJP and launched a movement to redress their problems. He went on a week-long hunger strike to redress farmers’ problems and was successful in having the region declared as ‘drought affected’ in 1988.