Brief history of all the prime ministers of India.
A short history of the post of the Prime Minister of the Republic of India. A brief review from
Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh.
Rajat Rao (K.C College student)
He was the first Prime Minister of India. He belonged to the Congress party, being in power from 15th august 1947 to 27th may 1964. Prior to independence he was the Prime Minister in the interim government of India, from 2nd September 1946 to 14th august 1947.When the first election were held in 1952, he stood in Phulpur and won. Phulpur would go on to be his bastion in ’57 and ’62 elections too. His 17 year rule, his government was instrumental in creating the Planning Commission of India in the year 1951. The 5 year economic plan was also initiated by him. The Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Management were also established by his government. His kind of economics is now called Nehruvian Socialism which implemented thoroughly across India. The “licence raj” is the legacy of his kind of socialism which meant strong hold of the government over all the industries. His government brought many reforms in agriculture like the Agricultural land Ceiling Act, 1960 etc, usage of fertilizers in farming and building of canals and dams like Bakrha Nangal etc. It was during his rule that imperialism ended in India.
As the first External Affairs Minister, he had to deal with the Kashmir problem which he tried to solve by taking it to the U.N. He was instrumental in establishing the Non Allignment Movement which was a positive approach towards the two superpowers. He also signed the “Panchasheel” with Zhau Enlai which stressed for good relation with China; but only to be betrayed by them in the 1962 war when India was left red faced. He died on the 27th of May 1964, depressed by the 1962 war loss. It is widely known that he died of syphilis. He is the only P.M along with LBS to die in office.
Gulzarilal Nanda (1898-1998) He was the Acting Prime Minister of India for 13 days twice, once from 27th may 1964 to 9th june 1964 and again from 10th January 1966 to 23rd january 1966.He was a senior Congress minister with the portfolio of home affairs and was chosen as the acting P.M due to his seniority. Both the time, the Congress party elected a new P.M after his short tenure. In 1964, the party elected Lal Bahadur Shastri and in 1966 the party elected Indira Gandhi as the new P.M. Both his tenure were uneventful.
Lal Bahadur Shastri (1904-1966)
He was the 2nd Prime Minister of India from 10th june 1964 till his death on 10th January 1966 at Tashkent in the erstwhile USSR due to poisoning by the K.G.B. He is the only P.M to die in a foreign country. His parliamentary constituency was Allahabad. He was the Prime Minister of the country when Pakistan attacked us in September 1965 which consequently led to the Indo-Pak war of 1965. Under his leadership, India drove back the Pakistani invaders to the pre-war borders. It was also during his tenure that the “Milk Revolution” was formally initiated. He also had planned to initiate a agricultural revolution but couldn’t live on to implement it. He is still remembered for his slogan,’’jai jawan jai kisan”
She was the 3rd Prime Minister & the only female to occupy the post. She was the Prime Minister two times, first time from 24th January 1966 to 24th march 1977 and after a brief interregnum of 33 months, from 14th January 1980 until her assassination on 31st October 1984.Her parliamentary constituency was Raebareli. It was during her rule that the green revolution was initiated. In 1969, the government nationalized most of the banks in India. She continued the Nehruvian Socialism practiced by her father. In the same year, there was a rebellion in Congress and the deputy P.M and finance minister, Morarji Desai quit Congress along with many leaders to form, the Congress (O). In 1971 elections, she led Congress to a victory. The year ended in a good note for her and her countrymen as the Indian Military fought against Pakistan and liberated East Pakistan which consequently became the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. It was during her time that India’s relation with the Soviet Union strengthened,especially after 1971. In May 1974, India tested it’s first nuclear device which sky rocketed her popularity. But the popularity wasn’t going to be long lasting. On 25th june 1975, she made the President to impose National Emergency. During it’s 18 months period several opposition leaders were arrested. The fundamental rights of the people were taken away, common Indians were arrested for protesting, strikes were outlawed. Lakhs of forced sterilizations of people took place in the name of family planning. The controversial period led to unpopularity of her which ultimately led to the loss of the Congress party and also her own seat.
Her party won the 1980 elections by a landslide and she again became the P.M. This time she stood at Medak and won. In her second term she dealt with Punjab insurgency which was rising day by day. Meanwhile in 1982, the Asian games were held in Delhi which showed our ability in organizing an event. Inorder to flush out Sikh militants from the Golden Temple which had been a fortress for them, ,a operation was initiated in june 1984 codenamed Operation Bluestar. In the operation, the leader of the Khalistanis named Jarnail Singh Bindranwale was killed along with many of his militants. The operation was successful but had been ill planned which led to nearly 300 Indian soldiers dying too. The operation was too unpopular amongst the Sikhs who led many protests across North India. In retaliation, on the 31st of October 1984, two of her bodyguards(Beant and Satwant Singh) both Sikhs,shot her to death.
He was the 4th P.M of India. He became the first non-Congress P.M of India when he was sworn in as the P.M on the 24th march 1977. He belonged to the Janata Party which was a amalgamation of anti-Congress parties and rebels. In the 1977 elections his parliamentary constituency was Surat. At 81 years and 24 days, he was the oldest to become the P.M. His first major work had been the ending the state of emergency. During his later tenure, his government brought the 43rd and 44th amendment to the constitution. One of the amendments was to make the declaration of emergency more difficult. He also initiated peaceful relations with Pakistan and began opening up to the state of Israel. The government started the 6th five year plan but couldn’t implement many policies because of constant disagreements amongst its members. After Vajpayee and Advani withdrew support, the government fell and he resigned on 28th july 1979. But he and his party, had proved that the Congress can be defeated.
Charan Singh (1902-1987)
He became the 5th P.M of India on the 28th of july 1979 after he broke away from Janata Party and formed the Janata Party (Secular). The Congress party promised support to him on the floor the house so he was sworn in with just 64 MP’s and remained in office till 18th august 1979 when the Congress withdrew support to him. Thus he never faced the parliament at all as a P.M. He remained as Caretaker P.M upto 14th January 1980. He had started high level talks with Israel but couldn’t complete the process.
Rajiv Gandhi (1944-1991)
He was the 6th P.M of India from 31st October 1984 to 2nd December 1989. He was the son of Indira Gandhi, his predessesor. Immediately after her assassination, he was sworn in as the P.M at a young age of 40. immediately he had to deal with the anti-Sikh riots which had broken out after his mother’s death. On the advice of the President, he dissolved the Lok Sabha and fresh elections were called in December. In December, when the results were declared it was a enchanting victory for his party which had won 411 out of the 542 seats in the Lok Sabha, thus gaining 3/4th majority. In the elections, he stood at Amethi and won. In his new term, he initiated the partial liberalization of economy and a telecommunication revolution,under the initiative of Mr Sam Pitroda. He also signed the Gandhi- Longowal pact and the Gandhi- Jayawardene pact. As per the latter pact, India agreed to send troops(IPKF) to Sri Lanka inorder to control the 5 Tamil militant groups from fighting against the Lankan army. But instead of peacekeeping, the troops were embroiled in a low level war with the LTTE primarily. Meanwhile V.P Singh, the then defence minister exposed the Bofors scam which led to the disgrace of his image. In the ensuing election, he lost the election to the Janata Dal led by V.P Singh because of the Bofors scam and the IPKF blunder. He was assassinated on the 21st of may 1991 at Shriperumbadur in Tamil Nadu, by a Tamil Tigers suicide bomber, during an election rally.
THE NATIONAL FRONT
He was the 7th P.M of India from 2nd December 1989 until his resignation on the 10th of November 1990. He belonged to the Janata Dal which along with the smaller parties had formed the National Front. He had the support of both the BJP & the Left. He had won his election from the Fatehpur seat with a huge margin. In his tenure, he had to deal with the kidnapping of the home minister of India, M.M Sayeed’s daughter Rubiya by the Kashmiri militants. Not to forget, it was in January 1990 that the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits began. Later he had to also deal with the anti reservation riots which had spread to all over India in April 1990 which was the result of his tireless propaganda for the implementation of Mandal Commission’s recommendation of 27% reservation for OBC’s. His tenure also saw the beginning of the Ram Janmabhoomi Movement. On this issue, the government tried to persuade the BJP to stop the movement but of no avail. So in November 1989, The BjP withdrew support and pushed for a no confidence motion which the V.P Singh government lost, leading to his resignation.
He was the 8th Prime Minister of India,from 10th November 1990 to 21st june 1991. He belonged to the Samajwadi Janata Party which was a breakaway faction of the Janata Dal. He had won from the Balia constituency in ’89 elections. He only had 64 MP’s with him and his govt. was supported by the Congress on the floor of the house. But he had to resign on 6th March 1991 after he was accused of spying on Rajiv Gandhi. Thenafter he was the Caretaker P.M of the country.It was during his rule that leader of opposition Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in Tamil Nadu. A point to be noted about him is that he had never been a minister before becoming the P.M.
Pamulparthi Venkata Narasimha Rao (1921-2004)
He was the 9th Prime Minister of India, from 21st june 1991 until 16th May 1996. He had nearly retired when he was made the P.M. Since he had not taken part in the 91’ elctions, he stood in a bye election at Nandyal. He was the first P.M from South India, the first one to lead a minority govt. for 5 years and the second Congress P.M who didn’t belong to the Nehru - Gandhi family. He led an important administration which oversaw the complete dismantling of the license raj and the gradual liberalization and privatization of the PSU’s for which he’s still remembered. That’s the reason he is called the “’Father of the Indian economic reforms ”.His administration is also responsible for establishing full diplomatic relations with Israel and improving relations with U.S. He is credited for ending the Punjab Insurgency. He also revived the Nuclear programme of India but couldn’t detonate the device due to U.S pressure. In 1993, his government passed the SEBI Act and transformed the Stock Exchange. In 1992, the Babri Masjid, a disputed structure was demolished by Hindu Nationalists. Consequently there were communal riots especially in Mumbai;which led to more than 2000 people being killed. He is often criticized for bring responsible for the rise of BJP in national politics. In 1993, the Harshad Mehta Scam shook the Indian markets and the JMM cash for votes scam shook the Indian parliament. Unfortunately the good policies of his were overshadowed by the corruption charges against him and the government. In the next election, his party lost power to the BJP which emerged as the single largest party,albeit it was a hung house.
THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT
Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1924 – )
He was the 10th Prime Minister of India. He was the P.M for three terms. Once from 16th May 1996 to 31st May 1996 and then again from 18th March 1998 to 22nd May 2004, which included two terms. His parliamentary seat was Lucknow. His first term ended in just 13 days as he could not garner support of the majority MP’s. After a gap of 21 months, elections were again held in feb- march 1998 in which his party the Bharatiya Janata Party was victorious. But it couldn’t win 271 out of the 542 seats so it had to form a coalition called the National Democratic Alliance with smaller parties. Within 8 weeks of coming to power, the government conducted 3 underground nuclear tests at Pokhran. This sky rocketed his popularity but the world powers imposed economic sanctions on our country. The government fell in April 1999 after the AIADMK withdrew it’s 18 MP’s. in the ensuing trust vote, the govt. lost by just 1 vote! Thus he was reduced to just a caretaker P.M. in june 1999, there were intelligence reports of a possible invasion of Pakistani army officers in disguise of militants in the Kargil region and of occupation of army posts by them. The government immediately began Operation Vijay to drive back the invaders. It was successful and helped the government secure power in October elections. This time the government lasted for 5 years and thus Mr Vajpayee became the first non Congress P.M to complete 5 years in office. After coming to power, the govt. had to deal with the Kandahar hijacking due to which 3 terrorists had to be released. His government continued the economic reforms initiated by Mr Rao and started the Golden Quadrilateral road project which aimed at . In 2002, the Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan was also initiated and the country marked more than 7% growth in 2002 & 2003. In 2003, the NTRO was established. But the Parliament attacks in 2001 and Gujarat Riots of 2002 were a negative marks in his career. Most importantly the P.OT.A came into effect during his tenure. In the 2004 general elections, the BJP was expected to retain power but was defeated by Congress and it’s alliance the United Progressive Alliance. In December 2005, Vajpayee announced retirement from active politics,thus ending his 5 decade political career.
THE UNITED FRONT
HD Deve Gowda(1933 –)
He was the 11th P.M of India from 1st june 1996 to 21st april 1997. He was prior to that the C.M of Karnataka. He was a senior leader of Janata Dal. As he was not a member of parliament,he was nominated to the Rajya Sabha from his home state. He was an unexpected and a surprise choice for the post since he had no prior experience of Delhi politics. Since other leaders of the United Front( a coalition of non Congress and non BJP parties led by the Janata Dal) like Jyoti Basu , G.K Moopanar and V.P Singh backed off; he became the P.M by default! In his tenure, the Chinese leader Jeng Ziamin visited India which was a landmark in Indo- Sino relations but his tenure as a whole was unimpressive. He resigned after Congress withdrew support to his government. He continues to be an active M.P in the Lok Sabha.
Inder Kumar Gujral (1919-)
He was the 12th Prime Minister of India from 21st april 1997 to 18th march 1998. He was a Rajya Sabha member from Bihar and was the Foreign Minister in the Gowda cabinet. Since Congress had withdrawn support to the previous govt, the United Front coalition came up with Gujral as a consensus candidate. In his tenure, he presided over the 50th anniversary celebration of Independence. He also pushed forward the Gujral Doctrine, a set of 5 rules for a better relation with our neighbours like Pakistan. While in power, he allowed the arrest of Lalu Prasd Yadav in the Fodder scam which led to him rebelling and forming the Rashtriya Janata Dal. But he didn’t go out of the coalition. Later in the year, the Jain commission indicted the DMK for supporting the LTTE in the Rajiv Gandhi murder case. The Congress ordered him to throw out the DMK but he didn’t,so the Congress withdrew support and he resigned in November 1997 and was then the Caretaker P.M. He retired from politics in 1999.
THE UNITED PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE
Dr. Manmohan Singh (1932- )
He is the 13th and the incumbent Prime Minister of India. His tenure began on the 22nd of May 2004 after the Congress led UPA came to power. After Sonia Gandhi declined to become the P.M, she chose him as the P.M. He had been the finance minister in the Narasimha Rao government. In his tenure, his government repealed the P.O.T.A. The biggest terrorist attack in Indian history tookplace in Mumbai in November 2008. After this attack, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act was amended a year later and the National Investigation Agency was established. It was during his rule that India crossed the 1 trillion $ economy mark. The economy registered 8 to 9 % growth from 2005 to 2007. In 2008, the Indo- U.S nuclear deal was passed in parliament. The govt. also survived No Confidence motion moved by the Left on this issue. In the litigation arena, the govt. passed the RTI Act,2005. In his first tenure, he had to also deal with the Food for Oil scam in which K. Natwar Singh was involved. After the 2009 election, he again became the P.M of India. His 2nd term has been mostly in controversies and scams. The 1 lakh 76 thousand crore 2G scam was revealed by Mr Subramanian Swamy in 2010 which has led to a loss of face for the U.P.A government. Along with it, the Commonwealth games scam and the “Coal gate” have undermined the credibility of his government. The one achievement of his government in it’s second innings is the Right to Education Act which would have to be implemented after the supreme court’s verdict on it in April 2012.