Man of his word, Tandon groomed several leaders
Chandigarh, August 14
Balramji Dass Tandon was one of the founding members of the Jan Sangh in Punjab. He had, in fact, dedicated himself to the RSS since his teenage.Tandon is also known to have played a vital role in the bond that the BJP has with its long-time ally SAD. He was Deputy Chief Minister in the Justice Gurnam Singh-led SAD-Jan Sangh government during 1969-70.A man of his word, Tandon served as Cabinet Minister during 1977-79 and again during 1997-2002 in the Badal government. He was elected MLA from Amritsar in 1960, 1962, 1967, 1969 and 1977 and from Rajpura in 1997. He always remained committed to the party values.Tandon served as the secretary of the Jan Sangh between 1951 and 1957. He was the president of the state unit during 1995-97.He was jailed from 1975 to 1977 during the emergency. Despite several suggestions against contesting elections when terrorism was at its peak, Tandon contested the 1991 Lok Sabha polls from Amritsar. Based largely in Amritsar for his party activities, Tandon later shifted his base to Chandigarh. He had also played an important role in the settlement of refugees after the Partition.State BJP president Shwait Malik remembers Tandon as “the torch-bearer of the party in the state. He was a ‘pracharak’ of the RSS along with my father. I have vivid memories of his clarity of thought for his ideals. He have inherited his legacy of commitment for the party. The loss is personal”.Former state BJP chief Manoranjan Kalia said: “Tandon was a father figure to me. He worked along with my father Manmohan Kalia. I was the general secretary of the party when he was the president. Our relations with him go far beyond usual pleasantries of party colleagues. He was a philosopher and a guide to all those who came contact with him.”Senior BJP leader Chunni Lal Bhagat said: “I don’t have words to express my feelings. A vacuum has been created in the party.”Avinash Rai Khanna, former state BJP chief, remembered Tandon as a “towering personality who was instrumental in his joining the party. He had a rare quality of putting across his argument based on facts”.