Sucheta Kriplani: First women chief minister of India

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Sucheta Kriplani, India’s first female chief minister, was a fearless fighter for the nation’s freedom.
Born on June 25, 1908, during the peak of British rule, Sucheta Kriplani had a strong interest in politics from an early age.

“I understood enough to feel intense resentment for the British. In her memoirs, Sucheta: An Unfinished Biography, she remembered, “We poured our wrath on some of the Anglo-Indian kids who played with us, calling them all kinds of things.


Following her graduation from Delhi’s Indraprastha College, Sucheta made the decision to join the independence struggle and developed into one of Mahatma Gandhi’s closest followers.

She wed Acharya Kriplani, who was 20 years her older, in 1936. According to legend, Gandhi first objected to the union due of the age gap, but Sucheta’s appeals and persistence led to its approval.

Sucheta Kriplani

Despite the fact that they both believed themselves to be ardent Gandhians, Sucheta never felt intimidated to have a position on politics that was different from her husband’s. Acharya, a vocal opponent of Jawaharlal Nehru, split from the Congress in 1951 and established his own party, the Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party. However, Sucheta only temporarily followed.

She won the New Delhi Lok Sabha seat in 1957, however she did it on a Congress ticket. Due to ideological differences, she left her husband’s party and rejoined it.

First woman CM

Even before taking office, Indira Gandhi was appointed chief minister of the United Provinces (today’s Uttar Pradesh), which she served from 1963 to 1967. Given the dearth of women in politics at the time, it was an impressive accomplishment, and she continued to uphold an image as a tough administrator.

State workers went on a hunger strike under her administration in protest at their low pay. After 62 days, when the agitation’s leaders were prepared to make a concession, Sucheta still refused.

After her term in office ended, Sucheta continued to serve the country, only resigning in 1971, three years before she passed away on December 1, 1974.

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