Chandra Shekhar

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Chandra Shekhar
Chandra Shekhar (cropped).jpg
Chandra Shekhar in 1978
9th Prime Minister of India
In office
10 November 1990 – 21 June 1991
President R. Venkataraman
Deputy Chaudhary Devi Lal
Preceded by V. P. Singh
Succeeded by P. V. Narasimha Rao
Minister of Defence
In office
10 November 1990 – 21 June 1991
Preceded by V. P. Singh
Succeeded by Sharad Pawar
Minister of Home Affairs
In office
10 November 1990 – 21 June 1991
Preceded by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed
Succeeded by Shankarrao Chavan
Personal details
Born (1927-07-01)1 July 1927
Ibrahimpatti, United Provinces, British India

(now in Uttar Pradesh, India)

Died 8 July 2007(2007-07-08) (aged 80)
New Delhi, Delhi, India
Political party Samajwadi Janata Party (1990–2007)
Other political
affiliations
Congress Socialist Party (Before 1964)
Indian National Congress (1964–75)
Independent (1975–77)
Janata Party (1977–88)
Janata Dal (1988–90) Lok Sabha Lok Sabha Constituency Ballia Uttar Pradesh
Alma mater Allahabad University
Religion Hinduism
Signature

Chandra Shekhar Singh (1 July 1927 – 8 July 2007) was the ninth Prime Minister of India.

Early life and education[edit]

Chandra Shekhar Singh was born into a Sengar Rajput family on 1 July 1927 in Ibrahimpatti, a village in the Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh. He was awarded a Bachelor of Arts (graduate) degree at Satish Chandra P.G. College, and a postgraduate degree from Allahabad University. He was known as a firebrand in student politics and started his political career with Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia. After graduation, he became active in socialist politics.[1] He fought for lower class of people and farmers' rights and always followed the politics of honesty,character and was a very good orator.Called a "young turk" for his conviction and courage, former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar stood against politics of personality reflecting the socialist ideology he strongly espoused. Chandrashekhar was known for his flawless oratory and a matter-of-fact style in which he held no punches. He would be hard-hitting in his criticism when occasion demanded.

He married Duja Devi.[2]

Political life[edit]

He joined the socialist movement and was elected secretary of the district Praja Socialist Party (PSP), Ballia. Within a year, he was elected joint secretary of the PSP’s State unit in Uttar Pradesh. In 1955–56, he took over as general secretary of the party in the State. His career as a parliamentarian began with his election to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh in 1962. He came under the spell of Acharya Narendra Dev, a fiery Socialist leader in the beginning of his political career. From 1962 to 1967, Shekhar belonged to the Rajya Sabha, the Upper house of the Parliament of India. When emergency was declared, even though he was a Congress party politician, he was arrested and sent to Patiala jail.[3] He had a nationwide padayatra in 1983 to know the country better, which he claimed gave the jitters to Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister. He was called a "Young Turk".[4]

Chandra Shekhar was a prominent leader of socialists. He played a vital role in nationalisation of banks and ending of privy purse being given to royal families.He joined Congress in 1964. From 1962 to 1967, he was a member of the Rajya Sabha. He first entered the Lok Sabha in 1967. As a member of the Congress Party, he vehemently criticised Indira Gandhi for her activities. This led to a split in the Congress in 1975. Chandrashekhar was arrested during the emergency and sent to prison.He came to be known as a 'young turk' for his conviction and courage in the fight against the vested interests. The other 'young turks', who formed the 'ginger group' in the Congress in the fight for egalitarian policies, included leaders like Mohan Dharia and Ram Dhan who were also imprisoned during Emergency. Late Feroze Gandhi also used to be a part of the 'ginger group' during the undivided Congress days.

Immediately after the Emergency, Chandrashekhar kept out of the power structure and became the first President of the Janata Party, formed in 1977 in the flush of electoral success that heralded the first non-Congress government at the Centre.

After the emergency, he became the President of Janata Party. In the parliamentary elections, Janata Party did very well and formed the coalition government headed by late Morarji Desai. In 1988, his party merged with other parties and formed the government under the leadership of V.P. Singh. Again his relationship with the coalition deteriorated and he formed another party, Janata Dal socialist faction. With the support of Congress (I) headed by Rajiv Gandhi, he replaced V.P. Singh as the Prime Minister of India in November 1990.After 1977, he was elected to Lok Sabha in all the elections, except in 1984 when the Congress swept the polls after Indira Gandhi's assassination. The post of Prime Minister, which he thought he genuinely deserved, eluded him in 1989 when V P Singh pipped him at the post and was chosen to head the first coalition government at the Centre.

Chandrashekhar always held a grouse that V P Singh and late Devi Lal entered into a pact to deprive him of the Prime Ministership and used it against Singh at the height of the post-Mandal agitation to break the party and bring the government down in 1990.

Deposing V. P. Singh[edit]

Chandra Shekhar immediately seized the moment and left the Janata Dal with several of his own supporters (including Devi Lal, Janeshwar Mishra, HD Deve Gowda, Maneka Gandhi, Ashoke Kumar Sen, Subodh Kant Sahay, Om Prakash Chautala, Hukam Singh, Chimanbhai Patel, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Yashwant Sinha, VC Shukla, and Sanjay Singh) to form the Samajwadi Janata Party/Janata Dal (Socialist).[5] Although Chandra Shekhar had a mere 64 MPs, Rajiv Gandhi the leader of the Opposition, agreed to support him on the floor of the House; so he won a confidence motion and was sworn in as Prime Minister.[6] Eight Janata Dal MPs who voted for this motion were disqualified by the speaker Rabi Ray.

Prime Minister[edit]

Keeping up to his promise Chandra Shekhar's government was efficient and well run during most of its brief tenure, which included the run-up and fighting of the so-called "First Gulf War". In the spring of 1991, Former Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi decided to precipitate a new election in which he would retake power.

In all he was Prime Minister for seven months and his government could not bring out a full-fledged budget because Congress withdrew support during the budgetary process.. It was during the lull between the two phases of voting that Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated, giving the Congress Party enough momentum to secure a majority.

Post Prime Ministership[edit]

After handing the Prime Ministership to P. V. Narasimha Rao, Chandra Shekar's political importance was reduced, although he was able to retain his seat in the Lok Saba for many years afterwards.He established Bharat Yatra Centres in various parts of the country and set up a trust in Bhondsi village in Haryana's Gurgaon to focus on rural development.

Death[edit]

Chandra Shekhar died at the age of 80 in 2007.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chandra Shekhar dies". 3 March 1995. 
  2. ^ "The Long March". 
  3. ^ Movers and Shakers Prime Minister of India by Scharada Dubey - 2009 When Emergency was declared, Chandra Shekhar was among the very few individuals within the ruling Congress party to be sent to jail.
  4. ^ "Chandrashekhar – A firebrand idealist". Times of India. 8 July 2007. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  5. ^ Dissidents Split Indian Prime Minister's Party. New York Times. (6 November 1990). Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  6. ^ Rival of Singh Becomes India Premier. New York Times. (10 November 1990). Retrieved 14 September 2011.
Political offices
Preceded by
V. P. Singh
Prime Minister of India
1990–91
Succeeded by
P. V. Narasimha Rao
Minister of Defence
1990–91
Succeeded by
Sharad Pawar
Preceded by
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed
Minister of Home Affairs
1990–91
Succeeded by
Shankarrao Chavan