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Yashwantrao Chavan

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Prime Minister
Succeeded by
Preceded by

Prime Minister
Charan Singh

Succeeded by
Chaudhary Devi Lal

Yashwantrao Chavan

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Preceded by
Charan SinghJagjivan Ram

Nashik : Yashwantrao Chavan University Getting Digital

Yashwantrao Balwantrao Chavan (12 March 1913 – 25 November 1984) was the first Chief Minister of Maharashtra after the division of Bombay State and the fifth Deputy Prime Minister of India. He was a strong Congress leader, co-operative leader, social activist and writer. He was popularly known as Leader of Common People. He advocated social democracy in his speeches and articles and was instrumental in establishing co-operatives in Maharashtra for the betterment of the farmers.


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Early life

Yashwantrao Chavan Yashwantrao Balwantrao Chavan Indian politician Britannicacom

Yashwantrao Chavan was born in a Maratha Hendre Patil family on 12 March 1913 in the village of Devrashtre in Satara District (now in Sangli District) of Maharashtra, India. He lost his father in his early childhood and was brought up by his uncle and mother. His mother taught him about self-dependency and patriotism. From his childhood he was fascinated by the freedom struggle of India.

Yashwantrao Chavan Speech of Yashwantrao Chavan Part 2 YouTube

Despite the adverse family situation,Chavan was an active participant in the struggle for independence of India. In 1930, he was fined for his participation in the Non-cooperation Movement led by Mahatma Gandhi. During this period he came in contact with Swami Ramanand Bharti, Dhulappa Bhaurao Navale, Gaurihar (Appasaheb) Sihasane V. S. Page and Govind Kruparam Wani. Their friendship lasted forever. In 1932, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison for hoisting the Indian flag in Satara.

Chavan obtained his B.A. degree in history and political science from Bombay University in 1938. In this period, he was involved in many social activities and was closely associated with the Congress party and its leaders, such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and Keshavrao Jedhe. In 1940, he became President of Satara District Congress. In 1941 he passed his LLB. In 1942, he forcefully married Venutai at Phaltan in Dist Satara.

He was one of the delegates at the Bombay session of the A.I.C.C. in 1942 that gave the call for Quit India and he was subsequently arrested for his participation in the movement. Chavan was finally released from jail in 1944.

Offices held in the State Government of Bombay

In 1946, he was first elected as Member of Legislative Assembly of the Bombay State from the South Satara constituency. In the same year he was appointed as parliamentary secretary to the Home Minister of Bombay State. In the next government of Morarji Desai he was appointed as Minister of Civil Supplies, Social Welfare and Forests. In 1953 he was a signatory to the Nagpur Pact that assured equitable development of all regions of what is now the state of Maharashtra. the 1950s witnessed the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti (United Maharashtra Movement) leading struggle for United Maharashtra with Mumbai as its capital.Chavan never joined the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti (United Maharashtra Movement) and in fact called Prime minister Nehru, who opposed formation of language based state reorganization, as "Greater than Maharashtra". In 1957 Assembly elections Yashwantrao Chavan was elected from the Karad constituency. This time he was elected as Leader of Congress Legislative Party and became Chief Minister of the bilingual Bombay state.The election saw the Congress party losing badly in the Marathi speaking areas to the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti.However,he was able to persuade Nehru to agree to form Maharashtra and therefore he is regarded as the chief architect in the formation of Marathi speaking state of Maharashtra. On 1 May 1960, Yashwantrao Chavan became the first Chief Minister of Maharashtra. From 1957 to 1960 he also served on the All India Congress Working Committee. Chavan's vision for Maharashtra for the development envisaged the equal development of both the industrial and agricultural sectors across all the regions of the state. He sought to realise this vision through the co-operative movement. Legislation regarding democratic decentralized bodies and the Agricultural Land Ceiling Act were passed during his tenure as Chief Minister


Roles in Central Government

After the resignation of Krishna Menon as Defense Minister in 1962 in the wake of India-China Border Conflict, Yashwantrao was given that portfolio by Prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. He handled the delicate post-war situation firmly and took several decisions to empower the armed forces and negotiated, along with Pandit Nehru, with China to end the hostilities. He also held the Defense portfolio in the Lal Bahadur Shastri Government during the Indo-Pakistan War of September 1965.

In the by-elections in 1962, Chavan was elected unopposed as Member of Parliament from the Nashik parliamentary constituency. On 14 November 1966, he was appointed Home Minister of India by Prime minister, Indira Gandhi. Yeshwantrao came in for criticism at the time of the first congress split in 1969. He had stuck to his earlier commitment to vote for the official Congress candidate, Sanjeeva Reddy in the presidential elections and in doing so, had invited the ire of Mrs. Indira Gandhi, but later be shifted his ground and supported her. In doing so, he exposed himself to the charge of duplicity and of being a fence-sitter. According to Hatalkar, it might be said in his favour that he had nothing in common with the Syndicate faction of the Congress party but was fully in rapport with Mrs. Gandhi's views, if not her methods, that his prime anxiety was to maintain the unity of the Congress, but that when he found that the split was inevitable, he did not succumb to the blandishments held out before him by some members of the Syndicate.

On 26 June 1970, she appointed him the Finance Minister of India. During his term, Indian economy went into recession for the first time since 1966 and real GDP growth fell by 0.55% in 1972.

He was appointed as the Foreign Minister on 11 October 1974. In June 1975, an Internal State of Emergency was declared in India by the Indira Gandhi Government. This period saw a severe crackdown on leaders and parties opposed to Mrs. Gandhi's rule. Yashwantrao remained in her Government during this period. In the subsequent general elections 1977, the Congress was routed with the party leader and Prime minister, Indira Gandhi herself losing her parliamentary seat. Therefore in the new Parliament, Chavan was elected the Congress Party Parliamentary leader. As Congress now the biggest opposition party, he became the Leader of opposition.

Split in Congress

At the end of 1978, at its annual session in Bangalore, the Congress split into two namely; Congress (Indira) and Congress (Urs). The important leaders who joined the Congress Urs were Devaraj Urs, Dev Kant Baruah, Kasu Brahmananda Reddy, A.K. Antony, Sharad Pawar, Sarat Chandra Sinha, Priyaranjan Das Munshi and Yashwantrao Chavan. On the other side, Indira Gandhi established her own party called Congress (I) and it included leaders like Shankar Dayal Sharma, Umashankar Dikshit, Kamruddin Ali Ahmad, Chidambaram Subramaniam, Barrister A.R.Antulay and Gulabrao Patil. Yashwantrao Chavan's political career suffered a major setback following his decision to move away from Indira Gandhi. Congress (Urs) disintegrated and Devaraj Urs himself joined the Janata Party and Congress(Urs) was renamed the Indian Congress (Socialist).Yeshwantrao was appointed as Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India in the short-lived cabinet of Prime Minister Charan Singh in 1979.

In the general elections of January 1980, Congress (I) won a majority in Parliament and came to power under the leadership of Indira Gandhi. In this election, Yashwantrao Chavan was the only candidate elected from Maharashtra as MP on a Congress (S) ticket. In 1981, Yashwantrao was admitted to Congress(I) after a six month wait.Critics at that time commented that the "Fence-sitter has come home to roost". In 1982, he was appointed the Chairman of the 8th Finance Commission of India.

Death and legacy

Yashwantrao Chavan died of a heart attack on 25 November 1984 in Delhi. He was 71. He was cremated in Karad with full state honours on 27 November


Yashwantrao Chavan took a keen interest in literature. He established the Marathi Sahitya Mandal and supported the Marathi Sahitya Sammelan(Conference). He was very closely associated with many poets, editors and several Marathi and Hindi writers. He initiated compilation of Marathi Vishwakosh (a Marathi language encyclopedia). For this, he nominated Lakshman Shastri Joshi as a chairman. He had planned to write his autobiography in three parts. The first part covers his early years in Satara district. Since his native place is situated on the banks of Krishna River he named the first volume as "Krishna Kath". His years as the Chief Minister of the bilingual Bombay state and later as that of the newly formed Maharashtra state were spent in Mumbai and so the proposed name for the second volume was "Sagar Tir". Later in 1962 he was appointed Defence Minister of India by Nehru. From then he was in Delhi until his death in 1984; so he had proposed the name "Yamuna Kath" for his third volume. He was able to complete and publish only the first volume.

Yashwantrao Chavan Pratishtan (Foundation)

In 1985, Yashwantrao Chavan Pratishtan (Foundation) was established in Mumbai. The objective of setting up the Foundation was to "perpetuate his memory by acknowledging his rich, outstanding and valuable contribution to society and democratic institution and development process in India's socio-political life and to undertake activities and programme particularly for the elevation of common man and promote his cherished ideas nurtured in freedom struggle and thereby strengthening Socio-economical fiber of India."

In 2010, The Pratishtan instituted a corpus at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) for the conduct of an annual Y B Chavan Memorial lecture. Y B Chavan was the founding President of IDSA. The inaugural lecture in 2010 was given by Prof. Sunil Khilnani. The 2011 lecture was given by Prof. Kanti Bajpai, and the 2012 lecture by Ambassador Kanwal Sibal.

Places named after Yashwantrao Chavan

  • In 1980, Ujjani Back water named Yeshwant sagar on Bhima River village Ujjani in Solapur district
  • In 1984, an engineering college named Yeshwantrao Chavan College of Engineering was established in Nagpur.
  • In 1989, an open university named 'Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University' was established at Nasik in Maharashtra. The expressway between Pune and Mumbai is named after him as are the auditoriums in the Kothrud suburb of Pune and at Nariman Point in Mumbai.
  • Yashwantrao Chavan Memorial hospital in Sant Tukaram Nagar area of Pimpri is named after him.
  • Shivaji University, Kolhapur has established 'Yashwantrao Chavan School of Rural Development'.
  • In 2009, the Mumbai Pune Expressway, India's first Express-Way, was named Yashwantrao Chavan Mumbai-Pune Express-Way
  • Trivia

  • Yashwantrao Chavan holds the record of being the only Marathi leader who held the 4 most important portfolios in the Union government. They are Home, External Affairs, Defence and Finance. He ably discharged his duties as the minister of the concerned ministries.
  • When Yashwantrao was appointed Federal Defence minister following the China war in 1962, a popular saying arose in Maharashtra. "Himalayachya hakela dhavla Sahyadri". Translated in English, Sahyadri (the mountain range that separates Konkan from the Deccan Plateau) came rushing on the call (for help) by the Himalaya.
  • During the 1960s and early 70s when Yashwantrao was at the peak of his power and influence,he was called Pratishivaji or New Shivaji. During that period pictures on sale of Shivaji, the founder of Maratha kingdom used to have a small inset picture of Yashwantrao in
  • References

    Yashwantrao Chavan Wikipedia

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