An ardent admirer of Mahatma Gandhi, Chaudhuri Devi Lal, left his studies unfinished and took part in the national struggle for independence during the colonial rule. In 1938 he was selected as the delegate of All India Congress Committee .For taking part in the Quit India movement, he was arrested on 5th October, 1942 and was in jail for a period of two years.
However, he was released from prison in October 1943 and got his elder brother Ch. Sahib Ram to release on parole. In the post independence period he emerged as the popular leader of the farmers as he belongs to the Jat clan of Bagris. He took decisions in the interest of the farming community while he was in power and therefore was lovingly called 'Tau'. He started a farmer's movement and was arrested along with five hundred workers. He was elected as the member of the Punjab Assembly in 1952 and the Congress President of Punjab in 1956.
He played a prominent role in the formation of Harayana as a separate state .In 1958 he was elected from Sirsa .He left the Congress after thirty-nine years in 1971.He was elected against Congress from the Rori constituency in 1971.During the Emergency period of 1975 Ch. Devi Lal along with all the opposition leaders were sent to jail for nineteen months. After the end of the Emergency period in 1977 he was elected on Janata Party ticket and became the Chief Minister of Harayana .For his oppositional attitude towards the Emergency he became popular as Sher-e-Haryana(Lion of Haryana).
From 1980 to 1982 he was the Member of Parliament and remained as the Member of State assembly from the year 1982-1987. He created Lok Dal. He was the one who initiated Nyaya Yudh, which became pretty popular amongst the mass. In the 1987 State elections of Harayana, the alliance led by Ch. Devi Lal won eighty-five seats in a house of ninety members .He became the Chief Minister of Harayana for the second time. In the 1989 parliamentary election, he was elected from Sikar in Rajasthan and Rohtak in Harayana .He became the Deputy Prime Minister of India two times and also in two different governments .He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in August 1988.His son Om Prakash Chautala was also the Chief Minister of Harayana.
He died on April 6, 2001 at the age of 86. He was cremated at "Kisan Ghat" on the banks of the river Yamuna. "Kisan Ghat" is the samadhi of another popular leader of the farmers, Choudhary Charan Singh, former Prime Minister of India.
(Last Updated on : 05-04-2014)
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