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Former Lok Sabha Speaker Bali Ram Bhagat Dead

Veteran Congress leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker Bali Ram Bhagat died early this morning at a hospital here. He was 89.

Bhagat breathed his last at 2.30 AM at Apollo hospital where he was receiving treatment for kidney and lever ailments, an aide said.

Bhagat was elected Speaker of the fifth Lok Sabha on January 5, 1976 when the country was under Emergency. He remained in the post for a year.

Born on 7 October, 1922 in Mahandi Ganj area of Patna city, he did his graduation from Patna College and later got a Masters Degree in Economics from Patna University. He joined the Indian National Congress in 1939.

He was the Governor of Himachal Pradesh briefly in 1993 and Governor of Rajasthan from 1993 to 1998.

In 1963, Bhagat became the Minister of State for Planning and held that post till January 1966. During 1963-1967, he was the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance.

He served as the Minister in the Ministry of Defence for a short while in 1967 before he became the Minister of State for External Affairs the same year.

He was elevated to the Cabinet rank in 1969 as the Minister of Foreign Trade and Supply. Later, he also served as the Minister of Steel and Heavy Engineering for a period of eight months. He was the Minister of External Affairs in Rajiv Gandhi Government in 1985-86.

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