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Chaudhary Charan Singh: Stalwart farmer chief who was PM for 170 days

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has accomplished eight years in workplace, just lately hinted that he was prepared for a 3rd time period. Speaking just about at a gathering in Bharuch the place beneficiaries of varied central authorities schemes have been assembled, he mentioned a “very senior” Opposition chief had as soon as requested him what else was left for him to perform after changing into the PM twice. Modi mentioned he wouldn’t relaxation until “100 per cent” protection of presidency schemes was achieved within the nation.

Modi, 71, is the primary PM thus far to be born after Independence. In the course of over seven a long time, the nation has seen 15 Prime Ministers, over a journey marked with social, political and financial adjustments. The Indian Express appears at India’s parliamentary democracy by way of the tenures of its PMs.


He was born to a household of farmers and rose to occupy the nation’s prime elected place in 1979. But for Chaudhary Charan Singh, a well-liked farmer chief who went to develop into India’s sixth prime minister, the keep on the prime was a brief one.

Singh was born within the village of Noorpur in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district in 1902. He was first elected to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly in 1937 from Chhaprauli. In June 1951, he turned a state cupboard minister — a stepping stone to his rise to the zenith of his political profession. At the time, he was one of many Congress’s foremost leaders in UP. But dissatisfied with the course of the get together, Singh left the Congress to type the primary non-Congress authorities in UP. He additionally fashioned the Bharatiya Kranti Dal (BKD). Singh served as UP chief minister twice — first, from April 3, 1967, to February 25, 1968; and second from February 18, 1970, to October 1, 1970. After that, he turned extra concerned in nationwide politics.

Chaudhary Charan Singh addressing a public assembly in Bhiwani, Haryana. (Express Archive)

In 1974, he merged his get together with the Samyukta (United) Socialist Party to type the Bharatiya Lok Dal (BLD). At the time, Indira Gandhi was the prime minister and an nearly invincible political drive. When Gandhi declared Emergency the next yr, Singh, like different distinguished Opposition leaders, was imprisoned for a yr.

Following the revocation of Emergency, the BLD emerged as an important part of the Morarji Desai-led Janata Party authorities that got here to energy in 1977. the BLD, the Jana Sangh, and the Socialist Party — after the elections in March. In the polls, the BLD bought a majority by successful 295 of the 405 seats it contested. The Congress was routed, registering its worst efficiency since Independence because it received solely 154 seats of the 492 it contested.

Chaudhary Charan Singh (proper). (Express Archive)

Singh turned the Union Home Minister, holding the portfolio from March 24, 1977, to July 1, 1978. With discord within the get together growing, Desai appointed Singh the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance on January 24, 1979. He remained within the put up until July 16.

With inside fights exhibiting no indicators of abating, Desai stepped down as PM. The Janata Party break up and the Janata Party (Secular) was fashioned. This was the start of the tip of the Janata experiment. Singh staked his declare to type the federal government with the Congress’s help and was sworn in as prime minister on July 28, 1979.

Soon after assuming workplace, he addressed the nation and spelled out the challenges and priorities of his authorities. “I am speaking to you tonight as your first public servant… Poverty has to be eliminated and the basic necessities of life made available to every single citizen. Political leadership of the country must remember that nothing mocks our values ​​and dreams more than the desperate struggles of our people for existence… Nothing could, therefore, be a more patriotic objective for our political leaders than to ensure that no child will go to bed hungry …”

Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh. (Express Archive)

He added, “Unemployment is on the increase. There cannot be a greater misery than those young men fully qualified and wanting gainful employment, find themselves idle.”

Singh might by no means show his authorities’s majority on the ground of Parliament. Though the five-year time period of the Sixth Lok Sabha was to finish in March 1981, President Neelam Sanjiva Reddy dissolved the House on August 22, 1979. Singh continued functioning as a caretaker PM until January 14, 1980. In all, he spent 170 days in workplace.

In the 1980 elections, Singh contested on a Janata Party (Secular) ticket from Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh and was re-elected to Parliament by defeating Ram Chanda Vikal of the Congress. Though his get together received 41 seats and ended up because the second-largest group in Parliament, the Indira Gandhi-led Congress received the election in a landslide. Of the 41 seats of the JNP(S), a most of 29 got here from Uttar Pradesh whereas the remainder of the tally got here from Bihar (5), Haryana (4), Rajasthan (two), and Odisha (one). The get together did not open its account in 14 states and Union Territories and 157 of its candidates misplaced their deposits.

Though Charan Singh was re-elected from Baghpat within the 1984 normal elections held within the aftermath of Gandhi’s assassination — he defeated the Congress’s Mahesh Chand — his get together, the Lok Dal, confronted a crushing defeat. It received solely three of the 171 seats it contested. The Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress swept to energy by successful 404 seats.

India’s longest-serving prime ministers

With inputs from TheIndianEXPRESS


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