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Kamla Beniwal, Congress veteran whose tenure as governor was marked by run-ins with Gujarat govt under Narendra Modi, dies at 97

Congress veteran Kamla Beniwal, who served as Rajasthan’s Deputy Chief Minister and held the post of Governor in three states, died Wednesday in Jaipur. She was 97.

Born in 1927 in Jhunjhunu district’s Gaurir village in a Jat family, Beniwal took part in the freedom struggle in her youth. She completed her BA in Economics, Political Science and History from Maharaja College in Jaipur and MA in History from Banasthali Vidyapeeth in Rajasthan’s Tonk district.

In 1952, she became the member of the first Rajasthan Assembly after being elected in a bypoll from Amber ‘A’ Assembly seat on a Congress ticket. She went on to be elected as an MLA for seven terms from Jaipur district. At the age of 27, she became Rajasthan’s first woman minister and held diverse portfolios during her Assembly tenures in Rajasthan, with the last being as deputy CM in the first Ashok Gehlot government in 2003.

Subsequently, she held the post of Governor in Tripura, Gujarat and Mizoram. In Gujarat, her tenure was marked by run-ins with the state government led by the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi. In a 2011 letter to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Modi had sought that she be recalled immediately, stating she had “bypassed” his government to appoint the Lokayukta.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Modi offered condolences on her death, posting on X: “Saddened by the passing away of Dr. Kamla Beniwal Ji. She had a long political career in Rajasthan, where she served the people with diligence. I had countless interactions with her when she was the Governor of Gujarat and I was the Chief Minister. Condolences to her family and friends. Om Shanti.”

Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar said: “An astute administrator and veteran leader, she epitomised women

Read more on indianexpress.com