Chandra Shekhar

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Chandra Shekhar

Chandra Shekhar born Chandra Shekhar Singh (July 1, 1927July 8, 2007) was the ninth Prime Minister of India. 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 Sabha for many years afterwards.


  • I believe in expressing my view openly and in a forthright manner. After assuming the new responsibility, I will think over the matter and crystalize my approach. My government will do everything to take the country forward in all spheres.
  • There comes a time when one has to choose whether to kneel and be blessed, or to stand up and be counted. I choose the latter.
  • There were five issues involved in Bharat Yatra—scarcity of proper food and drinking water, primary education, basic health amenities and fifth - social harmony. I had planned in my mind that we would work in 350 backward districts of the country. In order to perform this task I had decided to quit the post of the President of the Janata Party. But I could not do this. After the Yatra I became trapped in the politics of opposition. That was my mistake.
  • I am a Hindu... I am proud of being a Hindu... and because of tolerance to all other religions, I consider Hinduism superior.
    • (in a interview with him in Hindustan Times, 19/11/1990). Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society.

About Chandra Shekhar[edit]

  • In 1988 his [Shekhar’s] Janata Party merged with several other opposition parties to form the Janata Dal Party under the leadership of V.P. Singh, who subsequently became prime minister. After leading an internal rebellion against Singh, Shekhar broke with the Janata Dal Party on 5 November 1990, and quickly formed the Janata Dal–Socialist faction. With the support of Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress (I) Party, he replaced Singh as India’s prime minister on 10 November 1990, as head of a weak minority government. He resigned on 6 March 1991, after the Congress (I) Party withdrew its support, but he remained in office as a caretaker until national legislative elections could be held in May and June; he was eventually replaced by P. V. Narasimha Rao.
  • He was a leading member of the Socialist Party before he joined the ruling Congress Party in 1964 Shekhar split with the leader of the Congress Party, Indira Gandhi, in 1975 and spent time in prison during the national emergency she subsequently declared.
  • Immorality and opportunism holds sway in public life. Unprincipled alliances are being forged going against the verdict of the people. This alliance is not going to last long.
  • I do not expect any problems to arise because we do not expect Mr. Chandra Shekhar to do anything that is inconsistent with Congress ideology and policies.
    • Vithal Gadgil in: Sanjoy Hazarika "Rival of Singh Becomes India Premier"
    • After extending support to Shekahr to form the government.
  • A Prime Minister with no small amount of the revolutionary spirit in him, Chandra Shekhar entered politics by joining the Socialist Movement in 1951. This was after completing a Masters degree in Political Science from Allahabad University.
  • A fierce critic of the politics of personalities and power, Chandra Shekhar stood for that of ideology and social change and the fact he was arrested (under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act) in 1975, despite being nominally a member of the ruling party, possibly says it all.
    • MSN News in: "Past Prime Ministers: Those who came before"

The Long March: Profile of Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar[edit]

Attar Chand in:The Long March: Profile of Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, Mittal Publications, 1991

  • I am satisfied to invite Chandrashekar as the new Prime Minister of India. I hope the government will least the end of the full term of the Lok Sabha.
  • He [Mr. Chandra Shekar] has got a lot to do to pull the country out of the mess that Mr V.P.Singh government had plunged it into.
  • A strident socialist, he made his presence felt in the political life of our country in the past four decades but with the unique distinction of not having held any ministerial office.
    • In p. ix
  • A compulsive dissenter, he had all along remained outside the precincts of governmental power – a fact that has made him an enigma.
    • In p. ix
  • A fire brand in his student days, he led the 1949 movement against increase in fees and the agitation of 1953 for autonomy of student unions.
    • In p. ix
  • Within months of the baptism in the Indian National Congress, he joined hands with Mohan Dharia and Krishna Kant to form a ginger group in November 1965 to promote a leftist, but anti-communist line.The trio soon came to be known as Your Turks, which struck with them.
    • In p. ix
  • When in Congress, he, along with the other Young Turks, actively promoted bank nationalization and the abolition of privy purses and privileges.
    • In p. 61
  • His government had come to power at a time when the country was facing many challenges and each one must come forward in our endevour to overcome them. The first task was for him was to end the prevailing strife and bring about peace and harmony.
    • In p. 18
  • He is a man of destiny and will become one of the makers of new India

PM Chandrashekhar - A firebrand idealist[edit]

PTI in: Chandrashekhar - A firebrand idealist, The Times of India, 8 July 2007

  • After his student days in Allahabad University, he joined the socialist movement in the early 1950s. An associate of Acharya Narendra Dev, Chandrashekhar was with the Praja Socialist Party for long and was elected to Rajya Sabha in 1962.
  • Called a "young turk" for his conviction and courage, he stood against politics of personality and stoutly opposed policies of liberalisation, reflecting the socialist ideology he strongly espoused.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. Feroze Gandhi also used to be a part of the 'ginger group' during the undivided Congress days.
  • As a Member of Parliament, he made a mark opposing policies he thought were harmful and was strongly against growth of monopolies with state patronage.
  • He 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 was strongly opposed to getting loans from international financial institutions but the crisis during his time left the country with no choice but to fully embrace World Bank and IMF and the liberalisation policies.

Chandra Shekhar’s Unforgettable Resistance to Globalisation[edit]

Prem Singh in: Chandra Shekhar’s Unforgettable Resistance to Globalisation, Mainstream Weekly, 2006

  • His political thought and concern found genesis in the socialist movement and ideology. Gandhi had been a deep influence on his ideas and personality. He was an erudite leader. He edited an important journal of the socialist movement, "Sangharsh", which was initially brought out by his political guru Acharya Narendra Dev. He edited another journal Young Indian in Hindi as well as in English. In the 19 months of his imprisonment during the Emergency he wrote a diary, published in two parts under the title "Meri Jail Diary".
  • He was not and never claimed to be a theorist of socialism like JP, Lohia and Acharya Narendra Dev. He, on the other hand, was a practical politician within the parameters of socialist ideology. In his own way he was a thinker who expressed his ideas as a writer, as an editor and as a leader during the long span of his political carrier. The consistency and concerns of his ideas are remarkable and always directed in the interests of the downtrodden. Due to his defiant and rebellious temperament he earned the title of ‘Young Turk’.
  • He planned a Yatra from Puri in Orissa to Porbander in Gujarat. An effort was also made in this direction with the support of four former Prime Ministers. It becomes evident from these concrete ventures and programmes that his protest against globalisation was not merely verbal.

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