Pandit Sukhram has now said goodbye to this world. At the age of 95, he breathed his last at Delhi’s AIIMS Hospital on Monday. Pandit Sukhram, who left the world at the age of 95, started as a government employee. He served as a secretary in the Municipality Mandi in 1953. After this, contested and won the independent elections from Mandi Sadar in 1962. In 1967, he got the ticket of Congress Party and reached the assembly after winning the election again. After this, Pandit Sukhram never looked back. He contested 13 times from Mandi Sadar assembly constituency and won. Pandit Sukhram never saw the face of defeat in the assembly elections. He was also given a Lok Sabha ticket when he felt his need at the Centre. He also won the Lok Sabha elections and took charge of various ministries at the Centre.
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In 1984, Sukh Ram contested the first Lok Sabha election on a Congress party ticket and reached Parliament with a thumping majority. In the 1989 Lok Sabha elections, he had to face defeat from Maheshwar Singh of BJP. In the 1991 Lok Sabha elections, Sukhram again entered the Parliament by defeating Maheshwar Singh. In 1996, Sukh Ram again won the election and reached the Lok Sabha. In 1998, CBI raids on Pandit Sukhram in connection with the disproportionate assets case. After this, Pandit Sukh Ram was expelled from the Congress party. He formed his own party, which was named “Himachal Vikas Congress”. This party contested the assembly elections in the entire state and won five seats. In 1998, a coalition government was formed in the state and Pandit Sukhram’s HIVC contributed to making Prem Kumar Dhumal the Chief Minister for the first time by supporting the BJP.
In 1998, his party also contested the Lok Sabha elections, in which the Shimla seat was won by Colonel Dhaniram Shandil. Pandit Sukhram contested his last assembly election in 2003 and then in 2007, retiring from active politics, handed over his political legacy to his son Anil Sharma. During the 2017 assembly elections, the entire family of Sukhram joined the BJP. The reason given was the humiliation in the Congress party. However, only Anil Sharma took the membership of BJP while the rest of the family continued to work for the party. Pandit Sukhram also campaigned for BJP candidates in some seats of Mandi district and also sought votes. BJP won 9 out of 10 seats in Mandi district and Congress was wiped out from here. Anil Sharma reached the assembly by winning a huge vote and was made a cabinet minister. For the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Sukhram’s grandson Aashray Sharma tried hard for a ticket from the BJP, but the BJP gave the ticket to the sitting MP. Angered by this, Pandit Sukh Ram again joined the Congress with his grandson.
Messiah of the Communication Revolution
As a Lok Sabha member, Pandit Sukh Ram saw his last stint as Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Telecom. During this, the communication revolution that Pandit Sukh Ram brought across the country including the state is still mentioned today. Today, if the mobile phone in the hands of people is called the gift of Pandit Sukh Ram, then perhaps it will not be wrong. In a way, Pandit Sukh Ram was considered the messiah of the communication revolution. In Himachal Pradesh, he is called by the name of the messiah of communication revolution. As the Minister of State for Communications, he had brought that communication revolution in Himachal Pradesh, which might have reached very late given the geographical conditions of the state.
Contested 18 elections, lost 2 times
Pandit Sukh Ram contested 18 times in his political career. There is a record in his name. It never lost the assembly elections. Till date, his family’s single rule is going on in Mandi Sadar seat. He himself contested and won 13 times from here, while the son has reached the assembly for the fourth time by electing an MLA from here. Sukh Ram contested five Lok Sabha elections out of which he was defeated twice. Regardless of the wave of any political party in the country or the state, his family never lost the assembly elections. Sensing the urgency of the occasion and taking decisions in time was the specialty of Pandit Sukhram and perhaps this is the reason why he was called the Chanakya of politics.
Could never reach CM’s chair
Pandit Sukh Ram wanted to become the CM of Himachal Pradesh but it could not be possible. He always had a figure of 36 with CM Virbhadra Singh regarding this. The seniority of Pandit Sukh Ram was always ignored by the party and there was always a tussle about it. This was the reason that Pandit Sukh Ram had formed his own party, but even on his own, he could not reach the CM’s chair.