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Suraj Bhan (1 October 1928 – 6 August 2006) was a scheduled caste leader and an Indian politician from the Bharatiya Janata Party, who was elected to the Lok Sabha on four occasions, and served as governor of the states of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Bihar.
He was born on 1 October 1928 in the village of Mehlanwali in the Yamuna Nagar district of Haryana, and studied MA and LLB at Panjab University and Kurukshetra University . He also had ancestral land at village Jamal Majra near Salehpur on Barara-Sadhaura highway. Both these village salehpur and Jamal majra have one common panchayat to look after developmental affairs.
Suraj Bhan Banswal, started his public life as a volunteer of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. He started his political career with the Bharatiya Jana Sangh which eventually became the Bharatiya Janata Party and dropped his last name “Banswal” after joining active politics. He represented Ambala parliamentary constituency of Haryana in the 4th (1967–1970), 6th (1977–1979), 7th (1979–1984) and the 11th Lok Sabhas (1996–1997). In 1987, he was elected to Haryana assembly and served as Revenue Minister in Devi Lal’s government between 1987 and 1989. After the BJP broke alliance with Devi Lal’s party, he served as Leader of Opposition in the Haryana assembly (1989–1990).
In 1996, he was named Agriculture minister in First Vajpayee Ministry after which he served as deputy speaker of the 11th Lok Sabha, during the United Front government (Jul 1996 to Feb 1997). He contested 1998 Lok Sabha elections, but lost to Aman Kumar Nagra of the BSP. Afterwards, he took over as Governor of Uttar Pradesh (Apr 1998 – Nov 2000), Himachal Pradesh (Nov 2000 – May 2003), and officiated as Governor of Bihar (1999).
In 2002 Dr Suraj Bhan also joined the race for the post of Vice-President of the country following re-thinking in the BJP over the candidature of former Rajasthan Chief Minister, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. Certain senior Dalit leaders of the Congress unofficially conveyed that Mrs Sonia Gandhi had no objection to Dr Suraj Bhan’s candidature.
In February 2004, he was appointed as Chairman of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) Commission. He died of cardiac arrest following multiple organ failure on 6 August 2006 in New Delhi, while still continuing in the post of the Chairman of SC/ST Commission. He was aged 78.