Dr. Kamaraj: The Man Who Refused To Become The Prime Minister Of India

Al Arafat Sherfuddeen

February 27th, 2016 / 5:34 PM

Image Courtesy: Blogspot

He wanted the Congress leaders to overcome the lust of power

Dr Kamaraj was a three-time chief minister of Tamilnadu, former president of Indian National Congress who was active during the Indian Independence movement. He became a fulltime congress worker at the age of 18 and he went on to play an important role in Quit India Movement, Home Rule Movement and the Satyagraha movement among a host of other pre-independence struggles and boycotts. He was imprisoned close to six times and spending many hundreds of days in jail.

When he resigned to re-vitalize cadre’s

How many of the politicians would voluntarily resign from their powerful posts today, perhaps none. During his third term as Chief Minister, Dr Kamaraj sensed there was a slump in morale among the cadres, he called for the implementation of the “Kamaraj Plan”. According to the plan, all top level leaders would resign from their posts and reach out to the cadres to revitalise them beside it was meant to take themselves away from the lure of power. He implemented the Kamaraj Plan by himself by resigning from the post of Chief Minster. In 1963, he suggested to Nehru that senior Congress leaders should leave ministerial posts to take up organisational work. His request was obliged with 6 union ministers including Lal Bahadur Shastri resigning from cabinet posts. It was this selflessness and foresight which propelled him to become the president of Indian National Congress.

Declined the opportunity to become the Prime Minister 

Today one of the main criticism of the Indian National Congress is that it is a one family party which has no alternative leaders. It was only during Kamaraj’s tenure that Congress brought in other leaders. After the death of Jawaharlal Nehru, when Congress was in the midst of a leadership crisis, it was Dr Kamaraj who steered the party from rough waters and was instrumental in bringing Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi to the forefront. Dr Kamaraj, the selfless man he is, declined the offer to become the Prime Minister when he was the president of the Indian National Congress. He was aptly called the “King Maker” for this.

A man who took education to the masses

Dr Kamaraj was not fortunate to have formal education, however, he ensured education reached the masses and invested heavily on the same. Education in Tamilnadu is synonymous with Dr Kamaraj and the seeds he sowed is reaped by Tamilnadu even today. The favourable statistics that Tamilnadu has today wrt education largely down to the vision and foresight of Dr Kamaraj. The mid-day meal scheme, one of the most successful scheme in India was first implemented by Dr Kamaraj in Tamilnadu in post independent India. The vigour with which he implemented these schemes that benefitted millions of poor lifting themselves out of poverty, the visionary leadership he had for his party besides and the good governance he provided is arguably unmatched. Even rival political parties have Dr Kamaraj’s governance model as a benchmark to be achieved, whether anyone has achieved or not is a question that can be debated.

The Logical Indian community salutes the visionary that Kamaraj was. Irrespective of political affiliation, he is one of those personalities our present generation politicians could emulate. The long-term vision, the means of good governance and the self-lessness he exhibited is perhaps unmatched in post-independent India.


India has an amazing history! As we move forward, it’s important we are equally aware of our glorious past. You can suggest us few rare known personalities and noteworthy events from the past and we’ll consider it for our next story.  Let the world know about our roots!


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