He was a member of Congress Party since his student days in 1899. In 1906, he represented Allahabad in the AICC. He was associated with the Congress Party committee that studied the Jallianwala Bagh incident in 1919. He was also a part of the Servants of the People Society. In the 1920s and 1930s he was arrested for participating in the Non-Cooperation movement and Salt Satyagraha respectively. He and Nehru were among the people arrested even before Mahatma Gandhi returned from the Round Table Conference at London in 1931. He was known for his efforts in farmers' movements and he served as the President, Bihar Provincial Kisan Sabha in 1934. He worked as the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of the present-day Uttar Pradesh for a period of 13 years, from July 31, 1937 to August 10, 1950. He was elected to the Constituent Assembly of India in 1946. He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1952 and the Rajya Sabha in 1956. He retired from active public life after that due to indifferent health. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award in 1961.
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