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Remembering Late Shrikant Verma on his 90th birth anniversary

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Dozens of Bilaspur Chhattisgarh Congress leaders and city Mayor Ram Sharan Yadav paid homage to revered politician and poet Late Shrikant Verma on his 90th birth anniversary at Shrikant Verma statue in Bilaspur city on September 18.

By NPM BUREAU

Late Shrikant Verma’s wife Veena Verma, son Abhishek Verma and daughter-in-law Anca Verma graced the occasion. . A slew of commemorative programmes were also held in the city to remember Shrikant Verma who was recognized as the Think Tank of the Congress party in the 1970’s and 80’s.

Shrikant Verma was Member of Parliament from the undivided state of Madhya Pradesh from 1974 to 1982 and 1982 to 1986. He was a central figure of the ‘Nai Kavita Movement’ in the late 1950s and early 1960s and published several novels and poetry collections. His important volumes of poems are Jalasaghar (1973), Bhatka Megh (1976) and Magadh (1984); the latter perhaps is one of the best-known books of Hindi poetry. 

Shrikant Verma was also a Visiting Professor at the Iowa (USA) International Writing Program twice (in 1970-71 and 1978). He penned 20+ books for which he was awarded Tulsi Samman, Shiksha Samman and Sahitya Academy Award. Shrikant Verma was an influential political leader, spokesperson and had a close personal relationship with Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. 

Born in 1931 in Bilaspur, he received Masters of Arts degree in Hindi Literature from Nagpur University in 1956 and thereafter he moved to Delhi where, for a decade, he worked as a journalist. 

After Shrikant Verma’s mother Minimata passed away in 1974 (she was a Lok Sabha Member of Parliament from Congress from Nehru’s first Parliament in 1952 onwards till 1974), Verma was elected as a Member of Parliament for Rajya Sabha from Congress party in 1976 and served as the official spokesman of the Congress party from 1976 till 1986. He was also the National Election Campaign Chief Coordinator for Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi’s 10 parliamentary and assembly elections for two decades.

It was Verma who coined powerful slogans in the 1980 elections that brought Indira Gandhi back to power- “Indira Lao, Desh Bachao” and “Na Jaat Par Na Paat Par, IndiraJi ki Baat Par, Muhar Lagegi Haath Par.” 

Shrikant Verma married Veena Verma who was also elected Member of Parliament from Madhya Pradesh in 1986 after Shrikant Verma passed away while being treated for Cancer in New York on 25th May 1986. Shrikant Verma’s 53-year-old son Abhishek Verma is a renowned philanthropist and Chairman of Editorial Board of National Political Mirror. Abhishek Verma’s wife Anca is the former Miss Universe (Romania).

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