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Millennium Post

Lining contours of destiny

The second largest state of the country, the holy land of Ganges and Lord Krishna – Uttar Pradesh – is also the most politically important state. It has played a key role in India’s political landscape. It has given eight of India’s 14 prime ministers.

As an Independent nation, we are now 65 years and eight month old. Out of this UP ruled the country for a combined period of 48 years, five months and 26 days.

On 15 August 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru took charge as the first prime minister of independent India and ruled the country until his death in 1964. He earned international applause for his non-aligned movement and principle of peaceful existence.

He got elected in the first, second and third Lok Sabha from Phulpur. Nehru steered his party to a landslide victory by securing 87 out of 93 Lok Sabha seats in the first general election, 80 out of 92 in the second election and 65 out of 92 seats in the third Lok Sabha election in his state.

The simple and honest politician Lal Bahadur Shastri became the prime minister after the demise of Nehru on 9 June 1964 and electrified the nation during Indo-Pakistan war. The war proved to be a waterloo for Pakistan though we lost our dear leader Shastri while negotiating peace with Pakistan at Tashkent. He expired on 11 January 1966, controlled the baton of the country for a period of one year, seven month and two days. He got elected to Lok Sabha from Allahabad. Charan Singh became the prime minister on 28 July 1979 after Morarji resigned subsequent upon division in the Janata Party on the issue of dual membership. Shastri remained in power for a period of six months and 16 days though could not enter Parliament as the prime minister even for a day.  

Indira Gandhi ruled the country for a period of 15 years, 10 months and 17 days in two phases. She took over on 24 January 1966 after an untimely demise of Shastri. The fourth general election proved to be a litmus test for her though Congress could retain power at the centre but lost many states to the opposition in wake of an
anti-Congress wave.

The country witnessed division in the oldest political party and Indira initiated pro poor and ran slogans of gharibi hatao. Further she made Pakistan to see losing its eastern part to liberate with the help of the Indian Army. A new nation Bangladesh took birth and Gandhi was described as Goddess Durga by a popular opposition leader.

This helped her in achieving clean sweep victory in the fifth Lok Sabha election by scoring 74 out of 87 seats fom UP. Her downfall in the 1977 Lok Sabha election started after she declared Emergency in 1975. She fought back to return in the next Lok Sabha election in 1980.  Her party scored thumping majority and 56 out of 92 seats from UP. She was again sworn in as the prime minister on 14 January 1980 and remained in power till she was assassinated by her bodyguards on 31 October 1984 (as reported).

Rajiv Gandhi took over the mantle on 31 October 1984 and faced the next Lok Sabha poll to secure the maximum number of seats for his party and won 85 out of 88 seats from his state. He became a youth icon as he lowered the age of voting from 21 to 18 years and ushered the country into the 21st century by introducing computerisation. He led the country for a period of five years, one month and two days.

V P Singh became the prime minister with outside support from two parties which were poles apart from each other. He remained in power from 2 December 1989 to 10 Novmber 1990 for a period of 11 months and eight days. His demitting office provided to be an opportunity to the socialist Young Turk Chadrashekhar to become the prime minister to hold the post up till 21 June 1991, a period of seven months and 11 days.

The last one from UP to become the prime minister is Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He served the country for a period of six years, two months and 18 days in two phases. As prime minister under the National Democratic Alliance he proved to be the best cementing force for around 20 constituent parties.

He first took over on 16 May 1996 to hold the post for just 15 days and again on 19 March 1998. He relinquished the office on 22 May 2004 on formation of the United Progressive Alliance government.

The entire nation is waiting with fingers crossed to see whether India will again have a prime minister coming from UP.

Satpal is a communication consultant
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