Raj Narain is a prominent political name, which finds its glorious presence in both pre-independent and post-independent India. His popularity amongst people was so widespread that he earned the nickname ‘Lok Bandhu’. He was a socialist at heart and was close to Mr. Ram Manohar Lohia. According to him, if there were two-three more Indians like Raj Narain, India’s democracy would never be threatened by dictatorship.
Initial years and education
Hewas born in 1917 in Motikoat (Varanasi), Uttar Pradesh. He was the direct descendant of Maharaja Balwant Singh and Maharaja Chet Singh, who ruled over Varanasi over 100 years ago. He was in favor of higher education and got a Master’s degree as well as an LLB. His socialist values prompted him to become a member of the Socialist Party in which he performed various responsibilities. His strong moral character was greatly appreciated by Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia.
Achievements: pre-independence and post-independence
When the Quit India Movement started in 1942, he held the position of President in the Student Congress. He acted as a very good leader of the Varanasi chapter of the movement. When it began on 9th August, 1942, he showed tremendous guiding ability. It ultimately made him popular as an accomplished freedom fighter.
His influence on other revolutionaries was so profound that it had created a fear in the minds of the colonial authorities. Hence, the Government did not want him to roam free. In the same year, it was announced that whoever would be successful in catching him, would get prize money worth Rs. 5000.
Raj Narain was a powerful member of Janata Party. Although his political career had many episodes that could be termed as achievements, he is best known for his astounding win against Indira Gandhi in 1977. He was the Janata Party’s candidate from Rae Bareli and contested against Mrs. Gandhi, who was the most powerful Congress party candidate. Initially, it seemed that Indira Gandhi would sweep the elections because of her high stature in the political field.
However, Raj Narain with his strong ideology and strength of character won the hearts of people and got a majority of votes. The impressive win in the elections can be attributed to Raj Narain’s petition that he filed against Indira Gandhi at the Allahabad High Court. According to it, Congress’s win in the 1971 elections was achieved through fraudulent means.
The Court ruled in his favor and Mrs. Gandhi was stripped off her right to contest elections for 6 years. The incident marred the positive image of the Congress and gave a good opportunity to Janata Party to emerge as the victor in the 1977 elections.
Raj Narain passed away on December 31, 1986 at Ram Manohar Lohia hospital. His dedication towards India during pre-independence and post-independence days made him spend a considerable amount of time in prison. In all, the span of his stay in prison amounted to 17 years. He had been jailed for his anti-British activities for 3 years. The rest 14 years, he spent in prison for his anti-Congress activities.