Known for his erudition and persuasive manners, Krishna Chandra Pant, who died in his Delhi residence on Thursday, belonged to the old school of politicians whose administrative acumen earned him plum responsibilities in the Union government and prominent role in Parliament.
Son of a freedom fighter and former U.P. Chief Minister and Union Home Minister Govind Ballabh Pant, K.C. Pant was known for his negotiating skills that late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi chose him as the chief negotiator to work out a deal with the protagonists of the separate Telangana movement in the 1970s.
As Minister of State for Home Affairs, he was successful in evolving an agreement that led to ‘Mulki Rules’ that gave prominence to recruitment of locals in jobs in the region in Andhra Pradesh government service.
Pant was also made the interlocutor by the then Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee for Kashmir during the NDA rule.
Born in 1931 in Nainital, Pant was a post graduate in science and joined Congress to enter politics.
He was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1962 and was re-elected in 1967, 1971 and 1989. Between 1978 and 1984, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha and was the Leader of the House during 1979-1980 when Charan Singh became Prime Minister.
During his political career spanning over 40 years, Pant had held the portfolios of Finance, Defence, Steel and Heavy Engineering, Irrigation and Power and Energy.
After a long association with the Congress, he switched to the BJP in 1998 when it emerged as a ruling party and Vajpayee made him Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission in 2000. His wife Ila contested on a BJP ticket from Nainital in 1998 and won the poll.
As Defence Minister, Pant had succeeded V.P. Singh in 1987 and at the height of the Bofors controversy defended the government in Parliament during debates on the CAG report on the arms scandal.
He also served in the Ministries of Education and Department of Science and Technology, Atomic Energy and Electronics and Space.
Pant was also Chairman of the Tenth Finance Commission, the Energy Advisory Board, t he Task Force on National Security Council, Infrastructure and Member of the National Security Council.
A widely travelled person, he has represented India in international arena on various occasions, including in the Human Rights Commission, Indian delegation to the U.N. and the Ministerial meeting of GATT in Uruguay.