New Delhi, January 23: In a good news for the state of Bihar, President Droupadi Murmu on Tuesday, January 23, awarded the Bharat Ratna to former Chief Minsiter Karpoori Thakur posthumously. The Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award in India. Karpoori Thakur, who was popularly known as Jan Nayak, was a socialist leader who served as Chief Minister of Bihar twice - from December 1970 to June 1971 and from December 1977 to April 1979.
Born on 24 January 1924, Thakur participated in India's freedom struggle before joining the electoral politics. He was the first non-Congress socialist Chief Minister of Bihar in 1970. A socialist leader, Thakur was close to Jaya Prakash Narayan. He died on 17 February 1988. Below are the key things to know about him.
Who Is Karpoori Thakur?
Karpoori Thakur was born at Pitaunjhia (now Karpuri Gram) village in Samastipur district of Bihar. During his college life, he remained active in student politics. He left his college to join the Quit India movement and was sent in jail for 26 months. He started working as a teacher after India gained Independence from the British in 1947.
Karpoori Thakur was elected to the Bihar assembly for the first time in 1952 from Tajpur constituency as a Socialist Party candidate. He also served as Education Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar. During his stint as Bihar's Education Minister, he removed English as the compulsory subject for the matriculation curriculum.
It was Karpoori Thakur who imposed a total ban on alcohol in Bihar. On 22 December 1970, he become the Chief Minister for the first time and served till 2 June 1971. In 1977, the Janata Party came to power in Bihar and Thakur became the Chief Minister for second time. He served till 21 April 1979. When the Janata Party spilt, he joined the outgoing Charan Singh faction.
A champion of the poor, Thakur introduced reservation for the backward classes in the government jobs in 1978. He played a crucial role in shaping the careers of prominent Bihari leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav, Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan.