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Politics & War

Politics & War

Sitaram Kesri

Sitaram Kesri




  • Sitaram Kesri was born on 1916 in Danapur,Patna district Bihar, India and was involved in Indian Freedom movement at the age of 13.
  • He went to jail numerous times during colonial era.He joined Indian National Congress remaind the party member for lifetime.


  • Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated at Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu in May 1991 while campaigning for parliamentary election.
  • The Congress won the polls, though not the majority, to form a government under PV Narasimha Rao. Sonia Gandhi, the wife of Rajiv Gandhi, had refused to enter politics.
  • Sonia Gandhi resisted all the pressure from “the loyalist” Congressmen to join the party. The Rao government was voted out in 1996. Sonia Gandhi did not campaign in the election. The BJP won 161 seats and the Congress got 140.


  • By 1996 the party’s image was suffering from various reports of corruption, and in elections that year the Congress Party was reduced to 140 seats, its lowest number in the Lok Sabha to that point, becoming parliament’s second-largest party.
  • Rao subsequently resigned as prime minister and, in September, as party president. He was succeeded as president by Sitaram Kesri, the party’s first nonBrahman leader.


  • Suddenly in the winters of 1997, Sonia Gandhi announced that she would campaign for the Congress party in Lok Sabha election due for March 1998.
  • Sonia Gandhi joined the party in December 1997 at its plenary session in then Calcutta. She addressed her first election rally in Tamil Nadu, the state where Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated.


  • Sitaram Kesri said, “Sonia has come as a savior.” By that time it was clear that the Congress could only function under Sonia Gandhi. Demands were being made in the Congress party asking Sitaram Kesri to hand over the reins of the party to Sonia Gandhi.
  • But Sitaram Kesri, then 82, wanted to hold on for some time. He had some support in the party but the “rebel camp” was in the majority.
  • The Congress Working Committee passed a resolution on March 14, 1998, asking Sitaram Kesri to step down as party president.


  • Sitaram Kesri was reportedly locked in a room in the Congress headquarters on the Akbar Road in New Delhi to prevent him from creating obstacles in Sonia Gandhi entering the office of the Congress president.
  • With Sitaram Kesri locked, Sonia Gandhi entered the Congress headquarters triumphant with her supporters shouting slogans.