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Rediff.com  » News » 25 years on, Buta Singh still obeys an order of Indira Gandhi

25 years on, Buta Singh still obeys an order of Indira Gandhi

October 31, 2009 03:48 IST

Former Union Minister Buta Singh, one of the most powerful ministers in the Cabinet of former late prime minister Indira Gandhi, revealed that he had been handpicked by her to reconstruct the Sri Akal Takhat Sahib and other gurudwaras after the Operation Blue Star.

Singh recalled his memories of his leader who died 25 years ago.

"After Operation Blue Star was carried out, there were to major tasks that needed immediate attention. One of them was the restoration of Harimandir Sahib and of the broken structure of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib. She said she trusted me and I did the job with full faith," Singh said.

"She told me that it was a challenging task and it was in the interest of the nation, and I had to do it.

"Since I was then the housing minister, I decided to take up the job for my leader's sake. I took the help of religious people within the Sikh community and we completed the job in less than four months. Any other agency would have taken two years," Singh said.

Recalling Gandhi's last task to him, Singh said, "A few days before her death, she told me, 'Buta Singhji talk to all those who are in jail and report back to me'. She then left for Orissa and returned to Delhi on October 28. Before I could report to her about the job she had given me, she was no more."

There is one order Singh continues to obey today, even after 25 years of Gandhi's death.

"Once she told me that I should contest from Jalore. Till date I am carrying out her order and continue to contest long after she has bid good bye to this world," said Singh, who was one of the leading Congressmen who worked with her till her last.
Onkar Singh in New Delhi