Introduction to Indian Constitution
The Constitution of India is the world's lengthiest written constitution with 395 articles and 8 schedules. It contains the good points taken from the constitution's of many countries in the world. It was passed on 26 Nov 1949 by the 'The Constituent Assembly' and is fully applicable since 26 Jan 1950. The Constituent Assembly had been elected for undivided India and held its first sitting on 9th Dec.1946, re-assembled on the 14th August 1947, as The Sovereign Constituent Assembly for the dominion of India. In regard to its composition the members were elected by indirect election by the members of The Provisional Legislative Assemblies (lower house only). At the time of signing 284 out of 299 members of the Assembly were present.
The constitution of India draws extensively from Western legal traditions in its outline of the principles of liberal democracy. It follows a British parliamentary pattern with a lower and upper house. It embodies some Fundamental Rights which are similar to the Bill of Rights declared by the United States constitution. It also borrows the concept of a Supreme Court from the US.
India is a federal system in which residual powers of legislation remain with the central government, similar to that in Canada. The constitution provides detailed lists dividing up powers between central and state governments as in Australia, and it elaborates a set of Directive Principles of State Policy as does the Irish constitution.
The constitution has provision for Schedules to be added to the constitution by amendment. The ten schedules in force cover the designations of the states and union territories; the emoluments for high-level officials; forms of oaths; allocation of the number of seats in the Rajya Sabha. A review of the constitution needs at least two-thirds of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to pass it.
The Indian constitution is one of the most frequently amended constitutions in the world. Infact the first amendment to it was passed after only a year of the adoption of the constitution and instituted numerous minor changes. Many more amendments followed, a rate of almost two amendments per year since 1950. Most of the constitution can be amended after a quorum of more than half of the members of each house in Parliament passes an amendment with a two-thirds majority vote. Articles pertaining to the distribution of legislative authority between the central and state governments must also be approved by 50 percent of the state legislatures.
Preamble of The Constitution
We, The people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do hereby Adopt, Enact and give ourselves this Constitution.
The Union and Its Territory
Article 1: Name and territory of the Union
India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.
The States and the territories thereof shall be as specified in the First Schedule.
The territory of India shall comprise:
The territories of the States
The Union territories specified in the First Schedule; and such other territories as may be acquired.
Article 2: Admission or establishment of new States
Parliament may by law admit into the Union, or establish, new States on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit.
Article 3: Formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States
Parliament may by law:
Form a new State by separation of territory from any State or by uniting two or more States or parts of States or by uniting any territory to a part of any State
Increase the area of any State
Diminish the area of any State
Alter the boundaries of any State
Alter the name of any State [Provided that no Bill for the purpose shall be introduced in either House of Parliament except on the recommendation of the President and unless, where the proposal contained in the Bill affects the area, boundaries or name of any of the States, the Bill has been referred by the President to the Legislature of that State for expressing its views thereon within such period as may be specified in the reference or within such further period as the President may allow and the period so specified or allowed has expired.]
Article 4: Laws made under articles 2 and 3 to provide for the amendment of the First and the Fourth Schedules and supplemental, incidental and consequential matters
Any law referred to in article 2 or article 3 shall contain such provisions for the amendment of the First Schedule and the Fourth Schedule as may be necessary to give effect to the provisions of the law and may also contain such supplemental, incidental and consequential provisions (including provisions as to representation in Parliament and in the Legislature or Legislatures of the State or States affected by such law) as Parliament may deem necessary.
No such law as aforesaid shall be deemed to be an amendment of this Constitution for the purposes of article 368.
Article 5: Citizenship at the commencement of the Constitution
At the commencement of this Constitution, every person who has his domicile in the territory of India and
Who was born in the territory of India; or
Either of whose parents was born in the territory of India; or
Who has been ordinarily resident in the territory of India for not less than five years immediately preceding such commencement, shall be a citizen of India.
Article 6: Rights of citizenship of certain persons who have migrated to India from Pakistan
Notwithstanding anything in article 5, a person who has migrated to the territory of India from the territory now included in Pakistan shall be deemed to be a citizen of India at the commencement of this Constitution if:
He or either of his parents or any of his grand-parents was born in India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935 (as originally enacted); and
In the case where such person has so migrated before the nineteenth day of July, 1948, he has been ordinarily resident in the territory of India since the date of his migration, or
In the case where such person has so migrated on or after the nineteenth day of July, 1948, he has been registered as a citizen of India by an officer appointed in that behalf by the Government of the Dominion of India on an application made by him therefor to such officer before the commencement of this Constitution in the form and manner prescribed by that Government: Provided that no person shall be so registered unless he has been resident in the territory of India for at least six months immediately preceding the date of his application.
Article 8: Rights of citizenship of certain migrants to Pakistan:
Notwithstanding anything in articles 5 and 6, a person who has after the first day of March, 1947, migrated from the territory of India to the territory now included in Pakistan shall not be deemed to be a citizen of India:
Provided that nothing in this article shall apply to a person who, after having so migrated to the territory now included in Pakistan, has returned to the territory of India under a permit for resettlement or permanent return issued by or under the authority of any law and every such person shall for the purposes of clause (b) of article 6 be deemed to have migrated to the territory of India after the nineteenth day of July, 1948.
Article 8: Rights of citizenship of certain persons of Indian origin residing outside India
Notwithstanding anything in article 5, any person who or either of whose parents or any of whose grand-parents was born in India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935 (as originally enacted), and who is ordinarily residing in any country outside India as so defined shall be deemed to be a citizen of India if he has been registered as a citizen of India by the diplomatic or consular representative of India in the country where he is for the time being residing on an application made by him therefor to such diplomatic or consular representative, whether before or after the commencement of this Constitution, in the form and manner prescribed by the Government of the Dominion of India or the Government of India.
Article 9: Persons voluntarily acquiring citizenship of a foreign State not to be citizens
No person shall be a citizen of India by virtue of article 5, or be deemed to be a citizen of India by virtue of article 6 or article 8, if he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of any foreign State.
Article 10: Continuance of the rights of citizenship
Every person who is or is deemed to be a citizen of India under any of the foregoing provisions of this Part shall, subject to the provisions of any law that may be made by Parliament, continue to be such citizen.
Article 11: Parliament to regulate the right of citizenship by law
Nothing in the foregoing provisions of this Part shall derogate from the power of Parliament to make any provision with respect to the acquisition and termination of citizenship and all other matters relating to citizenship.
Parliament of India
Parliament is the supreme legislative body of India. The Indian Parliament comprises of the President and the two Houses-Lok Sabha (House of the People) and Rajya Sabha (Council of States). The President has the power to summon and prorogue either House of Parliament or to dissolve Lok Sabha.
The Constitution of India came into force on January 26, 1950. The first general elections under the new Constitution were held during the year 1951-52 and the first elected Parliament came into being in April, 1952, the Second Lok Sabha in April, 1957, the Third Lok Sabha in April, 1962, the Fourth Lok Sabha in March, 1967, the Fifth Lok Sabha in March, 1971, the Sixth Lok Sabha in March, 1977, the Seventh Lok Sabha in January, 1980, the Eighth Lok Sabha in December, 1984, the Ninth Lok Sabha in December, 1989, the Tenth Lok Sabha in June, 1991, the Eleventh Lok Sabha in May, 1996, the Twelfth Lok Sabha in March, 1998, Thirteenth Lok Sabha in October, 1999, Fourteenth Lok Sabha in May, 2004 and Fifteenth Lok Sabha in April, 2009.
The origin of Rajya Sabha can be traced back to 1919, when in pursuance to the Government of India Act, 1919, a second chamber known as the Council of States was created. This Council of States, comprising of mostly nominated members was a deformed version of second chamber without reflecting true federal features. The Council continued to function till India became independent. The Rajya Sabha, its Hindi nomenclature was adopted in 23 August, 1954.
The Rajya Sabha is to consist of not more than 250 members - 238 members representing the States and Union Territories, and 12 members nominated by the President.
Rajya Sabha is a permanent body and is not subject to dissolution. However, one third of the members retire every second year, and are replaced by newly elected members. Each member is elected for a term of six years.
The Vice President of India is the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha. The House also elects a Deputy Chairman from among its members. Besides, there is also a panel of "Vice Chairmen" in the Rajya Sabha. The senior most Minister, who is a member of Rajya Sabha, is appointed by the Prime Minister as Leader of the House.
Parliamentary institutions in India, with all their modern ramifications, owe their origin to India's British connections. Until 1853, there was no legislative body distinct from the Executive. The Charter Act of 1853, for the first time provided some sort of a legislature in the form of a 12 member Legislative Council. The Indian Independence Act, 1947 declared the Constituent Assembly of India to be a full sovereign body. Apart from being a Constitution drafting body, it also assumed full powers for the governance of the country. With the coming into force of the Constitution on 26 January, 1950, the Constituent Assembly functioned as the Provisional Parliament until the first Lok Sabha, then known as the House of People, and was constituted following General Elections in 1952. Lok Sabha, the Hindi nomenclature was adopted on 14 May, 1954.
The Lok Sabha is composed of representatives of people chosen by direct election on the basis of Universal Adult Suffrage. The Constitution provides that the maximum strength of the House be 552 members - 530 members to represent the States, 20 members to represent the Union Territories, and 2 members to be nominated by the President from the Anglo-Indian Community. At present, the strength of the House is 545 members.
The term of the Lok Sabha, unless dissolved, is five years from the date appointed for its first meeting. However, while a proclamation of emergency is in operation, this period may be extended by Parliament by law for a period not exceeding one year at a time and not extending in any case, beyond a period of six months after the proclamation has ceased to operate.
Difference between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
Members of Lok Sabha are directly elected by the eligible voters. Members of Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of State Legislative Assemblies in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.
The normal life of every Lok Sabha is 5 years only while Rajya Sabha is a permanent body.
Lok Sabha is the House to which the Council of Ministers is responsible under the Constitution. Money Bills can only be introduced in Lok Sabha. Also it is Lok Sabha, which grants the money for running the administration of the country.
Rajya Sabha has special powers to declare that it is necessary and expedient in the national interest that Parliament may make laws with respect to a matter in the State List or to create by law one or more all-India services common to the Union and the States.
Functions and Powers
The cardinal functions of the Legislature include overseeing of administration, passing of budget, ventilation of public grievances, and discussing various subjects like development plans, international relations, and national policies. The Parliament can, under certain circumstances, assume legislative power with respect to a subject falling within the sphere, exclusively reserved for the states. The Parliament is also vested with powers to impeach the President, remove judges of Supreme and High Courts, the Chief Election Commissioner, and Comptroller and Auditor General in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Constitution. All legislation requires the consent of both Houses of Parliament. In the case of Money Bills, the will of the Lok Sabha prevails. The Parliament is also vested with the power to initiate amendments in the Constitution.
Prime Minister of India
Powers of Prime Minister
Appoints the COuncil of Ministers.
Allocates portfolios. Can ask a minister to resign and can get him dismissed by President.
Assist the President in appointment of all high officials.
Can recommend to the President to declare emergency on grounds of war, external aggression or armed rebellion.
Advises President about President's rule in the State or emergency due to financial instability.
The President convenes and prorogues all sessions of Parliamenr in consultation with him/her.
Can recommend the dissolution of Lok Sabha before expire.
Leader of the House
Dr. Manmohan Singh (May 22, 2004 - till date) - Party (INC)
India’s fourteenth Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh is rightly acclaimed as a thinker and a scholar. He is well regarded for his diligence and his academic approach to work, as well as his accessibility and his unassuming demeanour. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was born on September 26, 1932, in a village in the Punjab province of undivided India. Dr. Singh completed his Matriculation examinations from the Panjab University in 1948. His academic career took him from Punjab to the University of Cambridge, UK, where he earned a First Class Honours degree in Economics in 1957. Dr. Singh followed this with a D.Phil in Economics from Nuffield College at Oxford University in 1962. His book, “India's Export Trends and Prospects for Self-Sustained Growth” [Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1964] was an early critique of India's inward-oriented trade policy.
Dr. Singh’s academic credentials were burnished by the years he spent on the faculty of Punjab University and the prestigious Delhi School of Economics. He had a brief stint at the UNCTAD Secretariat as well, during these years. This presaged a subsequent appointment as Secretary General of the South Commission in Geneva between 1987 and 1990. In 1971, Dr. Singh joined the Government of India as Economic Advisor in the Commerce Ministry. This was soon followed by his appointment as Chief Economic Advisor in the Ministry of Finance in 1972. Among the many Governmental positions that Dr. Singh has occupied are Secretary in the Ministry of Finance; Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission; Governor of the Reserve Bank of India; Advisor of the Prime Minister; and Chairman of the University Grants Commission. In what was to become the turning point in the economic history of independent India, Dr. Singh spent five years between 1991 and 1996 as India’s Finance Minister. His role in ushering in a comprehensive policy of economic reforms is now recognized worldwide. In the popular view of those years in India, that period is inextricably associated with the persona of Dr. Singh.
Among the many awards and honours conferred upon Dr. Singh in his public career, the most prominent are India’s second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan (1987); the Jawaharlal Nehru Birth Centenary Award of the Indian Science Congress (1995); the Asia Money Award for Finance Minister of the Year (1993 and 1994); the Euro Money Award for Finance Minister of the Year (1993), the Adam Smith Prize of the University of Cambridge (1956); and the Wright's Prize for Distinguished Performance at St. John's College in Cambridge (1955). Dr. Singh has also been honoured by a number of other associations including by the Japanese Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
Dr. Singh has represented India at many international conferences and in several international organizations. He has led Indian Delegations to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Cyprus (1993) and to the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993. In his political career, Dr. Singh has been a Member of India’s Upper House of Parliament (the Rajya Sabha) since 1991, where he was Leader of the Opposition between 1998 and 2004.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee (May 16, 1996 - June 1, 1996 and March 19, 1998 - May 22, 2004) - Party (BJP)
A man of the masses, firm in his political convictions. On October 13, 1999, he took charge as Prime Minister of India for the second consecutive term at the head of a new coalition government, the National Democratic Alliance. He was Prime Minister for a short period in 1996. He is the only Prime Minister since Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to have become Prime Minister of India with two successive mandates. A veteran Parliamentarian whose career stretches over four decades, Shri Vajpayee has been elected to the Lok Sabha (House of the People) nine times and to the Rajya Sabha (House of the States) twice, a record by itself. As India's Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Chairperson of various important Standing Committees of Parliament and Leader of the Opposition, he has been an active participant in shaping India's post-Independence domestic and foreign policy. Shri Vajpayee's first brush with nationalist politics was in his student days, when he joined the Quit India Movement of 1942 which hastened the end of British colonial rule. A student of political science and law, it was in college that he developed a keen interest in foreign affairs - an interest he has nourished over the years and put to skilful use while representing India at various multilateral and bilateral fora.
Shri Vajpayee had embarked upon a journalist's career, which was cut short in 1951 when he joined the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the fore-runner of today's Bharatiya Janata Party, the leading component of the National Democratic Alliance. A critically acclaimed poet, he still takes time off from affairs of state of indulge in music and in a bit of gourmet cooking. Born in the family of a humble school teacher on December 25 1924, in the erstwhile princely state of Gwalior (now a part of the Indian State of Madhya Pradesh), Shri Vajpayee's rise in public life is a tribute to both his political acumen and Indian democracy. Over the decades, he has emerged as a leader who commands respect for his liberal worldview and commitment to democratic ideals.
An ardent champion of women's empowerment and social equality, Shri Vajpayee believes in a forward-looking, forward moving India, a strong and prosperous nation confident of its rightful place in the comity of nations. He stands for an India anchored in 5000 years of civilisational history, ever modernising, ever renewing, ever re-energising itself to meet the challenges of the next 1000 years. India's second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan, was conferred upon him in recognition of his selfless dedication to his first and only love, India, and his more than half-a-century of service to society and the nation. In 1994, he was named India's 'Best Parliamentarian.' The citation read: "True to his name, Atalji is an eminent national leader, an erudite politician, a selfless social worker, forceful orator, poet and litterateur, journalist and indeed a multi-faceted personality…Atalji articulates the aspirations of the masses… his works ever echo total commitment to nationalism.
Shri Inder Kumar Gujral (April 21, 1997 - March 19, 1998) - Party (Janta Dal)
Shri Inder Kumar Gujral was sworn in as the 12th Prime Minister of India on Monday, the 21st of April, 1997. Son of Late Shri Avtar Narain Gujral and Late Smt. Pushpa Gujral, Shri Gujral is M.A., B.Com. Ph.D. & D.Litt. (Hons. Causa). He was born at Jhelum (in undivided Punjab) on 4th December 1919. He and Smt. Shiela Gujral were married on May 26, 1945. Shri Gujral belongs to a family of freedom fighters: both his parents participated in the freedom struggle in Punjab. At the young age of eleven, he himself actively participated in the freedom struggle in 1931 and was arrested and severely beaten by the police for organising movement of young children in the Jhelum town. In 1942, he was jailed during the Quit India Movement. Before assuming the office of the Prime Minister of India, Shri Gujral was the Minister of External Affairs from June 1, 1996 and held additional charge of the Ministry of Water Resources from June 28, 1996. He was the Minister of External Affairs earlier during 1989-1990. He was Ambassador of India to U.S.S.R. (Cabinet Rank) from 1976-1980 and held the following Ministerial positions from 1967-1976:
Minister of Communications & Parliamentary Affairs
Minister of Information & Broadcasting and Communications
Minister of Works & Housing
Minister of Information & Broadcasting
Minister of Planning.
Parliamentary positions held: Leader of the House, Rajya Sabha from June 1996; Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce & Textiles, 1993 to April 1996; Member of Parliamentary Standing Committee for External Affairs – till April 1996; Member of Parliament 1964 to 1976, 1989 to 1991; re-elected to Rajya Sabha in 1992 from Bihar; Member, Committee on Petitions, Public Accounts Committee, Committee on Rules, Rajya Sabha; Committee on Subordinate Legislation, Rajya Sabha; General Purposes Committee, Rajya Sabha; Standing Committee on External Affairs.
Other important offices held: Chairman, Indian Council of South Asian Co-operation; Member of the Capital Plan Monitoring Committee; former President of the Institute of Defence Studies & Analysis (IDSA); Chairman of the official Committee for the Promotion of Urdu (Gujral Committee); Vice-President of the New Delhi Municipal council 1959-64; President Lahore Students Union; General Secretary of the Punjab Students Federation; Convenor and Spokesman of United Front of the Opposition Parties Conclave at Calcutta, Srinagar and Delhi.
International delegations: Leader of the Indian Delegation to United Nations General Assembly – 1996; Leader of the Indian Delegation to UN Session of Human Rights, Geneva 1995; Leader of the Indian Delegation to the UN General Assembly 1990; Leader of the Indian Delegation to the UN Special Session of Economic Development 1990; Member, Indian Delegation to UNO 1995 and 1994; Leader of the Indian Delegation to UNESCO Conference on Education and Environment, 1977; Alternate Leader of the Indian Delegation to the UNESCO Session in 1970, 1972 and 1974; Chairman, UNESCO Seminar on Man and New Communication Systems, Paris 1973; Delegate -–Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference-Bucharest 1995; Delegate – Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference, Canada 19194; Delegate – Inter-Parliamentary Union Meeting Canberra (Australia) 1967; Alternate Leader of Indian Delegation to the UN Session on Environment, Stockholm 1974; Special Envoy of India to Gabon, Cameroon, Congo, Chad and Republic of Central Africa 1975; Special Envoy of India to the inaugural of the Republic of Malawi 1966; Special Envoy to Bulgaria 1961; Union Minister in attendance to President of India during State Visits to Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Egypt and Sudan; Chairman – Indian Council of South Asian Co-operation; Co-Chairman Asian Rotary Conference 1961.
Social organisations with which he was associated: President, Nari Niketan Trust & A.N. Gujral Memorial School, Jalandhar (Punjab); President, Indo-Pak Friendship Society; Founder President of Delhi Art Theatre; Vice-President of Lok Kalyan Samiti; President of Rotary Club of Delhi 1960; Co-Chairman of the Asian Rotary Conference in 1961.
Special interests: Shri Gujral has been a writer and commentator on National and International Affairs, as well as theatre.
Shri H. D. Deve Gowda (June 1, 1996 - April 21, 1997) - Party (Janta Dal)
Shri H. D. Deve Gowda, a staunch crusader of socio-economic development and an ardent admirer of the rich cultural heritage of India, was born on May 18, 1933 in Haradanahalli village of Holenarasipura taluk, Hassan District in Karnataka. A Civil Engineering Diploma holder, Shri Deve Gowda plunged into active politics at the early age of 20 when, after completing his education, he joined the Congress Party in 1953 and remained a member till 1962. Coming from a middle class agrarian background and exposed to the hardships of farmer’s life, young Gowda vowed to become a fighter who would take up the cause of poor farmers, under privileged and oppressed sections of society. Starting from lower strata of the democratic set-up, Shri Gowda ascended the political rungs gradually. He earned himself a niche in the minds of people while serving as the President of Anjaneya Co-operative Society and later as a member of Taluk Development Board, Holenarasipura.
Hoping to set right the inequalities prevailing in society, he always dreamt of an ideal utopian State. When just 28 years old, the youthful Gowda contested as an Independent and was a runaway success from day one when he first became a member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in 1962. An effective Speaker on the floor of the Assembly, he was acclaimed by one and all, including his seniors. Holenarasipur constituency sent him to the Assembly for three more consecutive terms i.e., the Fourth (1967-71); the Fifth (1972-77) and the Sixth (1978-83) Assemblies. His service as the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, from March 1972 to March 1976 and November 1976 to December 1977, won him laurels. Shri Deve Gowda resigned his membership of the Sixth Assembly on November 22, 1982. As a member of the Seventh and the Eighth Assembly, he served as the Minister of Public Works and Irrigation. His tenure as Irrigation Minister saw the switching on of many irrigation projects. He resigned from the Cabinet in 1987 protesting against insufficient allocation of funds for Irrigation.
A crusader for freedom and equality, he earned the wrath of the powers that be at the Centre in 1975-76, and was imprisoned during the days of emergency. Shri Deve Gowda utilised this period of forced rest to enrich his knowledge through exhaustive reading. This, and the interaction between him and other stalwarts of Indian politics who were also jailed during that period, helped him mould his personality and perspective. He was a much more seasoned and determined person when he emerged out of his confinement.
Elected to Parliament from Hassan Lok Sabha constituency in 1991, he was instrumental in bringing the problems of the State - especially of farmers - to the forefront. He earned respect for his forthright espousal of the plight of farmers, in Parliament. He also earned a name for practising and upholding the prestige and dignity and Parliament and its institutions. Shri Deve Gowda became the President of Janta party twice at State level and President of State Janata Dal in 1994. He was the driving force behind the Janata Dal's rise to power in the State in 1994. He was elected as the leader of the Janata Dal Legislative Party and on December 11, 1994 he assumed office as the 14th Chief Minister of Karnataka. He then contested as a candidate from Ramanagar Assembly constituency and won by a thumping majority. His prolonged experience in active politics and his strong base at the grassroots level enabled him to plunge straightway into the task of tackling many problems faced by the State. His political acumen was tested again when he brought the Idgah Maidan issue at Hubli to the forefront. It was a ground that belonged to the minority community and was the butt of political controversy. Shri Gowda successfully brought about a peaceful solution to the issue.
In January 1995, Shri Gowda toured Switzerland and attended the Forum of International Economists. His tours to European and Middle Eastern countries were a testimony to his achievements as a dedicated politician. His tour to Singapore, which brought in the much needed foreign investment to the State, proved his business acumen. Since the 70s, friends as well as foes have been commenting on his singular pre-occupation with politics and its processes. His politics, says Shri Gowda, is the politics of the people and he is happy when he is surrounded by people and is doing something for them. Shri Gowda is known for giving patient hearing to all shades of opinions and is equally at home with the elite when they come calling. Affectionately called the 'son of the soil' (dharti ke lal), he has proved to be one of the most ardent supporters of liberalisation with a human face. In 1989, his group of the Janata Party fared poorly in Karnataka winning just 2 of the 222 Assembly seats it contested; Shri Gowda himself tasting defeat for the first time in his career losing in both constituencies he contested. He is therefore, no stranger to the fickleness of political fortunes. The defeat lent a sharper edge to his pursuit to regain lost honour and power, and spurred him to re-examine his own style of politics. He made friends in Karnataka and Delhi, and put aside his bitter feuds with political rivals. Shri Gowda is a person with a life style that is simple, a profile that is low, but assertive and effective. Before his political initiation, Shri Gowda had been a contractor taking up minor works.
The seven years that he spent as an Independent helped him observe party politics from outside. Ever a workaholic, he was always seen engrossed with books and periodicals in the legislature library. His re-election in 1967 gave him more confidence and in 1969 when the Congress split, he joined the Congress (O) headed by Shri Nijalingappa, which was in power in Karnataka then. But Shri Gowda’s big chance came after the rout of Congress (O) in the 1971 Lok Sabha elections. He emerged the leader of a truncated opposition hit by the Indira Gandhi wave. Born to Shri Dodde Gowda and Smt. Devamma, Shri Deve Gowda is proud of his simple agricultural background. Married to Smt. Chennamma, the couple have four sons and two daughters. One of the sons is an MLA in Karnataka and another one was elected to the Lok Sabha. The leadership of the Third Front (a group of regional parties and Non-Congress and Non-BJP combine) leading to Prime Ministership – came to Shri Gowda without him seriously aspiring for it. Shri Deve Gowda resigned as the Chief Minister of Karnataka on May 30, 1996 to be sworn in as the 11th Prime Minister of India.
P. V. Narasimha Rao (June 21, 1991- May 16, 1996) - Party (Congress[I])
Son of Shri P. Ranga Rao, Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao was born on June 28, 1921 at Karimnagar. He studied in Osmania University, Hyderabad, Bombay University and the Nagpur University. A widower, Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao is the father of three sons and five daughters. Being an agriculturist and an advocate, he joined politics and held some important portfolios. He was the Minister of Law and Information, 1962-64; Law and Endowments, 1964-67; Health and Medicine, 1967 and Education, 1968-71, Government of Andhra Pradesh. He was the Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh, 1971-73; General Secretary, All India Congress Committee, 1975-76; Chairman, Telugu Academy, Andhra Pradesh, 1968-74; Vice-President, Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha, Madras, from 1972. He was also Member, Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, 1957-77; Member, Lok Sabha 1977-84 and was elected to Eighth Lok Sabha from Ramtek in December, 1984. As Chairman, Public Accounts Committee, 1978-79 he participated in a Conference on South Asia convened by the School of Asian and African Studies, London University. Shri Rao also Chaired Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan's Andhra Centre; he was Minister for External Affairs from January 14, 1980 to July 18, 1984; Minister of Home Affairs from July 19, 1984 to December 31, 1984 and the Minister of Defence from December 31, 1984 to September 25, 1985. He then assumed charge as Minister of Human Resource Development on September 25, 1985.
A man of many interests, he likes music, cinema and theatre. His special interest lies in Indian philosophy and culture, writing fiction and political commentary, learning languages, writing poems in Telugu and Hindi and keeping abreast of literature in general. He has successfully published 'SahasraPhan', a Hindi translation of late Shri Viswanatha Satyanarayana's famous Telegu Novel 'Veyi Padagalu' published by Jnanpith; 'Abala Jeevitam', Telugu translation of late Shri Hari Narayan Apte's famous Marathi Novel, "Pan Lakshat Kon gheto", published by Central Sahitya Academy. He translated other famous works from Marathi to Telugu and from Telugu to Hindi, and published many articles in different magazines mostly under a pen name. He lectured at Universities in the U.S.A. and West Germany on political matters and allied subjects. As Minister of External Affairs he travelled extensively to U.K., West Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Egypt in 1974. During the period when he was Minister of External Affairs, Shri Rao successfully brought to bear his scholarly background and rich political and administrative experience on the field of international diplomacy. He chaired the III Conference of UNIDO at New Delhi in January 1980, within a few days of assuming charge. He also chaired a meeting of the Group of 77 at New York in March 1980. More recently, his role at the Conference of Foreign Ministers of Non-aligned Countries in February 1981 earned him wide appreciation. Shri Rao has shown keen personal interest in international economic issues and personally led the Indian delegation to the Conference of the Group of 77 on ECDC at Caracas, in May 1981.
1982 and 1983 were eventful years for India and its foreign policy. In the shadow of the Gulf war the Non-aligned Movement asked India to host the Seventh Summit. This also meant India assuming the Chair of the Movement and Smt. Indira Gandhi becoming its Chairperson. Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao presided over meetings of Foreign Ministers of Non-aligned Nations on the eve of the New Delhi Summit and also at the United Nations both in 1982, when India was asked to host the Summit and the following year when, at the initiative of the Movement, informal consultations amongst Heads of State and Government from diverse nations across the world were held at New York. Shri Rao was also the Leader of the Special Non-aligned Mission that visited countries in West Asia in November 1983, in an effort to resolve the Palestian Liberation Organisation. Shri Rao was associated actively with the Commonwealth Heads of Government in New Delhi and with the Action Group set up by the meeting on the question of Cyprus. In his capacity as Minister of External Affairs, Shri Narasimha Rao has chaired on behalf of India a number of Joint Commissions including those with the U.S.A., U.S.S.R., Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Vietnam, Tanzania and Guyana. Shri Narasimha Rao took over as Home Minister on July 19, 1984. He was re-appointed to this post, with the additional charge of the Ministry of Planning, on November 5, 1984. Appointed Minister of Defence from December 31, 1984 to September 25, 1985. On September 25,1985 he took over as Minister of Human Resource Development.
Shri Chandra Shekhar (November 10, 1990 - June 21, 1991) Party (Janta Dal[S])
Shri Chandra Shekhar was born on July 1, 1927, in a farmer’s family in village Ibrahimpatti in District Ballia, Uttar Pradesh. He was President of the Janata Party from 1977 to 1988. Shri Chandra Shekhar was attracted to politics from his student days and was known as a fire-brand idealist with revolutionary fervour. After his Master’s Degree in Political Science from Allahabad University (1950-51), he joined the Socialist Movement. He had the privilege of having been associated very closely with Acharya Narendra Dev. He was elected Secretary of the District Praja Socialist Party, Ballia. Within a year, he was elected Joint Secretary of the U.P. State Praja Socialist Party. In 1955-56 he took over as General Secretary of the U.P., State Praja Socialist Party.
In 1962, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh. He joined the Indian National Congress in January 1965. In 1967 he was elected General Secretary of the Congress Parliamentary Party. As a Member of Parliament he made a mark by taking keen interest in espousing the cause of the downtrodden and pleading for policies for rapid social change. In this context, when he attacked the disproportionate growth of monopoly houses with State patronage, he came in conflict with the centres of power. He came to be as 'Young Turk' leader for his conviction, courage and integrity in the fight against vested interested. He founded and edited YOUNG INDIAN, a weekly published from Delhi in 1969. Its editorial had the distinction of being among the most quoted ones of the time. During the Emergency (June 1975 to March 1977) YOUNG INDIAN had to be closed down. It resumed regular publication in February 1989. He is the Chairman of its Editorial Advisory Board.
Shri Chandra Sekhar has always stood against politics of personalities and has favoured politics of ideology and social change. This propelled him more towards Shri Jayaprakash Narayan and his idealist view of life during the turbulant days of 1973-75. He soon became a focal point of dissent within the Congress Party. When Emergency was declared on June 25, 1975, he was arrested under Maintenance of Internal Security Act inspite of the fact that he was a member of the Central Election Committee and Working Committee, top bodies of the Indian National Congress. Shri Chandra Sekhar was among the few individuals in the then ruling party who was imprisoned during the Emergency. He has always rejected the politics of power and opted for the politics of commitment to democratic values and social change. His diary, written in Hindi while undergoing imprisonment during the Emergency period, was later published under the title 'Meri Jail Diary'. A well-known compilation of his writings is 'Dynamics of Social Change'. Shri Chandra Shekhar undertook a marathon walk (Padayatra) through the country from Kanyakumari in the deep South to Rajghat (Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi) in New Delhi covering a distance of nearly 4260 kms from January 6, 1983 to June 25, 1983. The Padayatra was undertaken to renew rapport with the masses and to understand their pressing problems. He has established about fifteen Bharat Yatra Centres in various parts of the country including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to train social and political workers for mass education and grassroot work in backward pockets of the country. He has been a Member of Parliament since 1962 except for a brief period from 1984 to 1989. In 1989 he successfully contested both from his home constituency, Ballia, and the adjoining Maharajganj constituency in Bihar. He vacated the latter.
Shri V. P. Singh (December 2, 1989 - November 10, 1990) - Party(Janta Dal)
Born on June 25, 1931 at Allahabad, Shri V.P. Singh is the son of Raja Bahadur Ram Gopal Singh. He was educated at Allahabad and Poona Universities. He was married to Smt. Sita Kumari on June 25, 1955 and has two sons. A scholarly man, he was the proud founder of Gopal Vidyalaya, Intermediate College, Koraon, Allahabad. He was the President of the Students Union at Udai Pratap College, Varanasi in 1947-48 and was the Vice-President, Allahabad University Students Union. He actively participated in Bhoodan movement in 1957 and donated a well-established farm in village Pasna, District Allahabad.
He was the member of All India Congress Committee; Executive Body, Allahabad University, 1969-71 and Legislative Assembly, Uttar Pradesh 1969-71. He was the Whip, Congress Legislative Party, 1970-71; Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), 1971-74; Union Deputy Minister of Commerce, October 1974-November 1976; Union State Minister of Commerce, November 1976-March 1977; Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), January 3-July 26,1980. He was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, June 9, 1980- June 28, 1982; Member, Legislative Council, Uttar Pradesh, November 21, 1980-June 14,1981; Member Legislative Assembly, Uttar Pradesh, June 15, 1981-July 16, 1983.
As a Union Minister of Commerce in January 29,1983, he also held additional charge of the Department of Supply in February 15,1983. He was the Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) in July 16, 1983; on September 1, 1984 he was elected President, Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee and on December 31, 1984 he became the Union Finance Minister.
Mr. Rajiv Gandhi (October 31, 1984 - December 2, 1989) - Party (Congress[I])
At 40, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi was the youngest Prime Minister of India, perhaps even one of the youngest elected heads of Government in the world. His mother, Smt. Indira Gandhi, was eight years older when she first became Prime Minister in 1966. His illustrious grandfather, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, was 58 when he started the long innings of 17 years as free India's first Prime Minister. As the harbinger of a generational change in the country, Shri Gandhi received the biggest mandate in the nation's history. He ordered elections to the Lok Sabha, the directly elected house of the Indian Parliament, as soon as mourning for his slain mother was over. In that election, the Congress, got a much higher proportion of the popular vote than in the preceding seven elections and captured a record 401 seats out of 508. Such an impressive start as the leader of 700 million Indians would have been remarkable under any circumstance. What makes it even more unique is that Shri Gandhi was a late and reluctant entrant into politics even though he belonged to an intensely political family that had served India for four generations - both during the freedom struggle and afterwards.
Shri Rajiv Gandhi was born on August 20, 1944, in Bombay. He was just three when India became independent and his grandfather became Prime Minister. His parents moved to New Delhi from Lucknow. His father, Feroze Gandhi, became an M.P., and earned a reputation as a fearless and hard-working Parliamentarian. Rajiv Gandhi spent his early childhood with his grandfather in the Teen Murti House, where Indira Gandhi served as the Prime Minister's hostess. He briefly went to school at Welham Prep in Dehra Dun but soon moved to the residential Doon School in the Himalayan foothills. There he made many lifelong friendships and was also joined by his younger brother, Sanjay. After leaving school, Shri Gandhi went to Trinity College, Cambridge, but soon shifted to the Imperial College (London). He did a course in mechanical engineering. He really was not interested in 'mugging for his exams', as went on to admit later. It was clear that politics did not interest him as a career. According to his classmates, his bookshelves were lined with volumes on science and engineering, not works on philosophy, politics or history. Music, however, had a pride of place in his interests. He liked Western and Hindustani classical, as well as modern music. Other interests included photography and amateur radio. His greatest passion, however, was flying. No wonder then, that on returning home from England, he passed the entrance examination to the Delhi Flying Club, and went to the obtain a commercial pilot's licence. Soon, he became a pilot with Indian Airlines, the domestic national carrier. While at Cambridge, he had met Sonia Maino, an Italian who was studying English. They were married in New Delhi in 1968. They stayed in Smt. Indira Gandhi's residence in New Delhi with their two children, Rahul and Priyanka. Theirs was a very private life despite the surrounding din and bustle of political activity. But his brother Sanjay's death in an air crash in 1980 changed that. Pressures on Shri Gandhi to enter politics and help his mother, then besieged by many internal and external challenges, grew. He resisted these pressures at first, but later bowed to their logic. He won the by-election to the Parliament, caused by his brother's death, from Amethi in U.P.
In November 1982, when India hosted the Asian Games, the commitment made years earlier to build the stadia and other infrastructure was fulfilled. Shri Gandhi was entrusted with the task of getting all the work completed on time and ensuring that the games themselves were conducted without any hitches or flaws. In fulfilling this challenging task, he first displayed his flair for quiet efficiency and smooth coordination. At the same time, as General Secretary of the Congress, he started streamlining and energising the party organisation with equal diligence. All these qualities came to the fore later in far more testing and trying times. For no one could have ascended to power - becoming both Prime Minister and Congress President - in more tragic and tormenting circumstances than Shri Gandhi did in the wake of his mother's brutal assassination on 31 October, 1984. But he bore the awesome burden of personal grief and national responsibility with remarkable poise, dignity and restraint. During the month long election campaign, Shri Gandhi travelled tirelessly from one part of the country to the other, covering a distance equal to one and a half times the earth's circumference, speaking at 250 meetings in as many places and meeting millions face to face. A modern-minded, decisive but undemonstrative man, Shri Gandhi was at home in the world of high technology. And, as he repeatedly said, one of his main objectives, besides preserving India's unity, was to propel it into the twenty-first century.
Shri Charan Singh (July 28, 1979 - January 14, 1980) - Party(Janta Party)
Shri Charan Singh was born in 1902 at Noorpur in Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh, in a middle class peasant family. He graduated in science in 1923, and did his post-graduation from Agra University in 1925. Also trained in law, he set up practice at Ghaziabad. He shifted to Meerut in 1929 and later joined the Congress. He was first elected to the U.P. Legislative Assembly in 1937 from Chhatrauli, and represented the constituency in 1946, 1952, 1962 and 1967. He became Parliamentary Secretary in Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant’s Government in 1946 and worked in various departments such as Revenue, Medical and Public Health, Justice, Information etc. In June 1951, he was appointed Cabinet Minister in the State and given charge of the Departments of Justice and Information. Later he took over as the Minister for Revenue and Agriculture in the Cabinet of Dr. Sampurnanand in 1952. When he resigned in April 1959, he was holding charge of the Department of Revenue and Transport.
In Shri C.B. Gupta’s Ministry he was Minister for Home and Agriculture (1960). Shri Charan Singh served as Minister for Agriculture and Forests (1962-63) in Smt. Sucheta Kripalani’s Ministry. He gave up the Department of Agriculture in 1965 and assumed charge of the Local Self-government department in 1966. In Shri C.B. Gupta’s Ministry he was Minister for Home and Agriculture (1960). Shri Charan Singh served as Minister for Agriculture and Forests (1962-63) in Smt. Sucheta Kripalani’s Ministry. He gave up the Department of Agriculture in 1965 and assumed charge of the Local Self-government department in 1966. After the Congress split, he became the Chief Minister of U.P. for the second time in February 1970 with the support of the Congress Party. However, President’s Rule was imposed in the State on October 2, 1970. Shri Charan Singh served Uttar Pradesh in various capacities and won a reputation as a hard taskmaster who would not tolerate inefficiency, nepotism and corruption in administration. A gifted parliamentarian and a pragmatist, Shri Charan Singh is known for his eloquence and courage of conviction.
He was the chief architect of land reforms in U.P.; he took a leading part in formulation and finalisation of the Dept. Redemption Bill 1939, which brought great relief to rural debtors. It was also at his initiative that the salaries and other privileges enjoyed by Ministers in U.P. were drastically reduced. As Chief Minister he was instrumental in bringing about the Land Holding Act 1960 which was aimed at lowering the ceiling on land holdings to make it uniform throughout the State. Few political leaders in the country could match Shri Charan Singh in their command of popular will at the grass-roots level. A dedicated public worker and staunch believer in social justice, Shri Charan Singh’s strength stemmed essentially from the confidence he enjoyed among millions of peasants. Chaudhary Charan Singh led a simple life and spent his spare time reading and writing. He was the author of several books and pamphlets, including 'Abolition of Zamindari', 'Co-operative Farming X-rayed', 'India’s Poverty and its Solution', 'Peasant Proprietorship or Land to the Workers' and 'Prevention of Division of Holdings Below a Certain Minimum'.
Shri Morarji Desai (March 24, 1977 - July 28, 1979) - Party (Janta Party)
Shri Morarji Desai was born on February 29, 1896 in Bhadeli village, now in the Bulsar district of Gujarat. His father was a school teacher and a strict disciplinarian. From his childhood, young Morarji learnt from his father the value of hard work and truthfulness under all circumstances. He was educated St. Busar High School and passed his matriculation examination. After graduating from the Wilson Civil Service of the then Bombay Province in 1918, he served as a Deputy Collector for twelve years. In 1930, when India was in the midst of the freedom struggle launched by Mahatma Gandhi, Shri Desai, having lost his confidence in the British sense of justice, decided to resign from Government service and to plunge into the struggle. It was a hard decision to take but Shri Desai felt that 'when it was a question of the independence of the country, problems relating to family occupied a subordinate position'. Shri Desai was imprisoned thrice during the freedom struggle. He became a Member of the All India Congress Committee in 1931 and was Secretary of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee untill 1937. When the first Congress Government assumed office in 1937 Shri Desai became Minister for Revenue, Agriculture, Forest and Co-operatives in the Ministry headed by Shri B.G. Kher in the then Bombay Province. The Congress Ministries went out of office in 1939 in protest against India involvement in the World War without the consent of the people.
Shri Desai was detained in the individual Satyagraha launched by Mahatma Gandhi, released in October, 1941 and detained again in August, 1942 at the time of the Quit India Movement. He was released in 1945. After the elections to the State Assemblies in 1946, he became the Minister for Home and Revenue in Bombay. During his tenure, Shri Desai launched a number of far-reaching reforms in land revenue by providing security tenancy rights leading to the ‘land to the tiller’ proposition. In police administration, he pulled down the barrier between the people and the police, and the police administration was made more responsive to the needs of the people in the protection of life and property. In 1952, he became the Chief Minister of Bombay. According to him, unless the poor and the under privileged living in villages and towns enjoy a decent standard of life, the talk of socialism will not have much meaning. Shri Desai gave concrete expression to his anxiety by enacting progressive legislations to ameliorate to the hardships of peasants and tenants. In this, Shri Desai’s Government was far ahead of any other State in the country. And what was more, he implemented the legislation with an unswerving sincerity earning wide reputation for his administration in Bombay. After the reorganisation of the States, Shri Desai joined the Union Cabinet as Minister for Commerce and Industry on November 14, 1956. Later, he took the Finance portfolio on March 22, 1958.
Shri Desai translated into action what he had professed in matters of economic planning and fiscal administration. In order to meet the needs of defense and development, he raised large revenues, reduced wasteful expenditure and promoted austerity in Government expenditure on administration. He kept deficit financing very low by enforcing financial discipline. He brought curbs on extravagant living of the privileged section of society. In 1963, he resigned from the Union Cabinet under the Kamraj Plan. Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, who succeeded Pt. Nehru as Prime Minister, pursuaded him to become Chairman of the Administrative Reforms Commission for restructuring the administrative system. His long and varied experienced of public life stood him in good stead in his task. In 1967, Shri Desai joined Smt. Indira Gandhi’s cabinet as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of Finance. In July, 1969, Smt. Gandhi took away the Finance portfolio from him. While Shri Desai conceded that the Prime Minister has the prerogative to change the portfolios of colleagues, he felt that his self-respect had been hurt as even the common courtesy of consulting him had not shown by Smt. Gandhi. He, therefore, felt he had no alternative but to resign as Deputy Prime Minister of India. When the Congress Party split in 1969, Shri Desai remained with the Organisation Congress. He continued to take a leading part the opposition. He was re-elected to Parliament in 1971. In 1975, he went on an indefinite fast on the question of holding elections to the Gujarat Assembly which had been dissolved. As a result of his fast, elections were held in June, 1975. The Janata Front formed by the four opposition parties and Independents supported by it, secured an absolute majority in the new House. After the judgement of the Allahabad High Court declaring Smt. Gandhi’s election to the Lok Sabha null and void, Shri Desai felt that in keeping with democratic principles, Smt. Gandhi should have submitted her resignation.
Shri Desai was arrested and detained on June 26, 1975, when Emergency was declared. He was kept in solitary confinement and was released on January 18, 1977, a little before the decision to hold elections to the Lok Sabha was announced. He campaigned vigorously throughout the length and breadth of the country and was largely instrumental in achieving the re-sounding victory of the Janata Party in the General Elections held in March, 1977 for the Sixth Lok Sabha. Shri Desai was himself selected to the Lok Sabha from the Surat Constituency in Gujarat. He was later unanimously elected as Leader of the Janata Party in Parliament and was sworn in as the Prime Minister of India on March 24, 1977. Shri Desai and Gujraben were married in 1911. Of their five children, one daughter and a son are surviving. As Prime Minister, Shri Desai was keen that the people of India must be helped to become fearless to an extent where even if the highest in the land commits a wrong, the humblest should be able to point it out to him. "No one, not even the Prime Minister", he was repeatedly said "should be above the law of the land". For him, truth was an article of faith and not an expediency. He seldom allowed his principles to be subordinated to the exigencies of the situation. Even in the most trying circumstances, he stood by his convictions. As he himself observed, 'one should act in life according to truth and one’s faith'.
Smt. Indira Gandhi (January 24, 1966 - March 24, 1977 and January 14, 1980 - October 31, 1984) - Party(Congress & Congress[I])
Born on November 19, 1917 in an illustrious family, Smt. Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. Being academically inclined, she studied at Ecole Nouvelle, Bex (Switzerland), Ecole Internationale, Geneva, Pupils' Own School, Poona and Bombay, Badminton School, Bristol, Vishwa Bharati, Shantiniketan and Somerville College, Oxford. She was conferred Honorary doctoral degree by a host of Universities such as Andhra, Agra, Bangalore, Vikram, Punjab, Gurukul, Nagpur, Jamia Milia, Poona, El Salvador of Buenos Aires, Waseda of Tokyo, Moscow State, Oxford, Charles of Prague, Mauritius, Baghdad and the U.S.S.R. With an impressive academic background she also got the Citation of Distinction from the Columbia University. Smt. Indira Gandhi was actively involved in the freedom struggle. In her early childhood she founded the Bal Charkha Sangh and in 1930, the 'Vanar Sena' of children to help the Congress party during the Non-Cooperation Movement. She was imprisoned in September 1942, and worked in riot-affected areas of Delhi in 1947 under Gandhiji's guidance. She got married to Feroze Gandhi on March 26, 1942 and had two sons. Smt. Gandhiwas a Member, Congress Working Committee and Central Election of the party in 1955; Member, Central Parliamentary Board of Congress, 1958; Chairperson, National Integration Council of A.I.C.C.; President, All India Youth Congress, 1956 and Women's Dept. A.I.C.C.; President, Indian National Congress, 1959-60; and Indian National Congress from January 1978. From 1964 to 66 she was the Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. Then she held the highest office as the Prime Minister of India from January 1966 to March 1977 and again from January 14, 1980. Concurrently, she was the Minister for Atomic Energy from September 1967 to March 1977; and Minister for Space from June 1972 to March 1977, and from January 1980 was Chairperson, Planning Commission. From 1966-1977 she was the President of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research; and Chairperson, Hindi Salahkar Samiti. She held the additional charge of the Ministry of External Affairs from September 5, 1967 to February 14, 1969; Ministry of Finance from July 16, 1969 to June 26, 1970; Ministry of Home Affairs from June 1970 to November 1973; Ministry of Information & Broadcasting from March 1971 for a while; and Ministry of Defence from January 1980.
Smt. Indira Gandhi was associated with a large number of organisations and institutions, some of which are: President, Board of Trustees of Kamala Nehru Memorial Hospital; Trustee, Gandhi Smarak Nidhi and Kasturba Gandhi Memorial Trust; Chairperson, Swaraj Bhavan Trust; Founder and Chairperson, Bal Sahyog, New Delhi in 1954; Chairperson, Bal Bhavan Board and Children's National Museum, New Delhi in 1955; Founder and President, Kamala Nehru Vidyalaya, Allahabad; Vice Chairperson, Central Social Welfare Board, 1953-57; Life-Patron, Indian Council for Child Welfare; Vice-President, International Council of Child Welfare; Patron-in-chief, Indian Council for Affairs, 1960; Patron, Foreign Students Association in India. She was Chancellor Visva Bharati University; Jawaharlal Nehru University and North-Eastern University 1966-77; Member, Delhi University Court; Indian Delegation to UNESCO, 1960-64; Member, Executive Board of UNESCO, 1960-64; Member, National Defence Council 1962; Executive Committee of National Defence Fund, 1962; Chairperson, Citizen's Central Council 1962; and Sangeet Natak Academy 1965-74. She was also a Member, National Integration Council; President, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha; Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Society and Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund; Patron, Indian Society of International Law.
After having held such important positions, she also became a Member, Rajya Sabha, August 1964-February 1967; Member, Fourth Lok Sabha 1967-71; Fifth Lok Sabha 1971-77; and Sixth Lok Sabha during November-December 1978. She was elected to the Seventh Lok Sabha from Rae Bareli (U.P.) and Medak (Andhra Pradesh), January 1980. She chose to retain the Medak seat and relinquished the Rae Bareli seat. She was chosen as the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party in 1967-77 and for the Congress Parliamentary Party from January 1980. She found recreation in whatever she did and equal relaxation in being close to nature, in different forms of art, in physical activities like hiking in the mountains, or even reading about an unfamiliar subject. Interested in a wide array of subjects, she viewed life as an integrated process, where activities and interests are different facets of the whole, not separated into compartments or labeled under different heads. She had many achievements to her credit. She was the recipient of Bharat Ratna, 1972; Mexican Academy Award for Liberation of Bangladesh 1972; 2nd Annual Medal, FAO, 1973; Sahitya Vachaspati (Hindi) by Nagari Pracharini Sabha, 1976. She also received Mothers' Award, U.S.A., 1953; Islbella d'Este Award of Italy for outstanding work in diplomacy, Yale University's Howland Memorial Prize; for two consecutive years in 1967 and 1968 was the woman most admired by the French according to a poll by the French Institute of Public Opinion. According to a special Gallup Poll Survey in U.S.A. in 1971 she was the most admired person of the world and Diploma of Honour was conferred by the Argentine Society in 1971 for the Protection of Animals.
Her famous publications are The Years of Challenge 1966-69; The Years of Endeavour 1969-72; India (London) 1975; Inde (Lausanne) 1979 and numerous other collection of speeches and writings. She travelled widely in India and all over the world, paid official visits to many countries such as: Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burma, Canada, Chile, China, Czechoslovakia, Bolivia, Egypt, France, German Democratic Republic, Federal Republic of Germany, Guyana, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Syria, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, U.A.E., the United Kingdom, U.S.A., U.S.S.R., Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and United Nations Headquarters.
Lal Bahadur Shastri (June 9, 1964 - January 11, 1966) - Party(Congress)
Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri was born on October 2, 1901 at Mughalsarai, a small railway town seven miles from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. His father was a school teacher who died when Lal Bahadur Shastri was only a year and half old. His mother, still in her twenties, took her three children to her father’s house and settled down there. Lal Bahadur’s small town schooling was not remarkable in any way but he had a happy enough childhood despite the poverty that dogged him. He was sent to live with an uncle in Varanasi so that he could go to high school. Nanhe, or 'little one' as he was called at home, walked many miles to school without shoes, even when the streets burned in the summer’s heat. As he grew up, Lal Bahadur Shastri became more and more interested in the country’s struggle for freedom from foreign yoke. He was greatly impressed by Mahatma Gandhi’s denunciation of Indian Princes for their support of British rule in India. Lal Bahadur Sashtri was only eleven at the time, but the process that was end day to catapult him to the national stage had already begun in his mind.
Lal Bahadur Shastri was sixteen when Gandhiji called upon his countrymen to join the Non-Cooperation Movement. He decided at once to give up his studies in response to the Mahatma’s call. The decision shattered his mother’s hopes. The family could not dissuade him from what they thought was a disastrous course of action. But Lal Bahadur had made up his mind. All those who were close to him knew that he would never change his mind once it was made up, for behind his soft exterior was the firmness of a rock. Lal Bahadur Shastri joined the Kashi Vidya Peeth in Varanasi, one of the many national institutions set up in defiance of the British rule. There, he came under the influence of the greatest intellectuals, and nationalists of the country. ‘Shastri’ was the bachelor’s degree awarded to him by the Vidya Peeth but has stuck in the minds of the people as part of his name.
In 1930, Mahatma Gandhi marched to the sea beach at Dandi and broke the imperial salt law. The symbolic gesture set the whole country ablaze. Lal Bahadur Shastri threw himself into the struggle for freedom with feverish energy. He led many defiant campaigns and spent a total of seven years in British jails. It was in the fire of this struggle that his steel was tempered and he grew into maturity. When the Congress came to power after Independence, the sterling worth of the apparently meek and unassuming Lal Bahadur Shastri had already been recognised by the leader of the national struggle. When the Congress Government was formed in 1946, this 'little dynamo of a man' was called upon to play a constructive role in the governance of the country. He was appointed Parliamentary Secretary in his home State of Uttar Pradesh and soon rose to the position of Home Minister. His capacity for hard work and his efficiency became a byeword in Uttar Pradesh. He moved to New Delhi in 1951 and held several portfolios in the Union Cabinet - Minister for Railways; Minister for Transport and Communications; Minister for Commerce and Industry; Home Minister; and during Nehru’s illness Minister without portfolio. He was growing in stature constantly. He resigned his post as Minister for Railways because he felt responsible for a railway accident in which many lives were lost. The unprecedented gesture was greatly appreciated by Parliament and the country. The then Prime Minister, Pt. Nehru, speaking in Parliament on the incident, extolled Lal Bahadur Shastri’s integrity and high ideals. He said he was accepting the resignation because it would set an example in constitutional propriety and not because Lal Bahadur Shastri was in any way responsible for what had happened. Replying to the long debate on the Railway accident, Lal Bahadur Shastri said; "Perhaps due to my being small in size and soft of tongue, people are apt to believe that I am not able to be very firm. Though not physically strong, I think I am internally not so weak."
In between his Ministerial assignments, he continued to lavish his organising abilities on the affairs of the Congress Party. The landslide successes of the Party in the General Elections of 1952, 1957 and 1962 were in a very large measure the result of his complete identification with the cause and his organisational genius. More than thirty years of dedicated service were behind Lal Bahadur Shastri. In the course of this period, he came to be known as a man of great integrity and competence. Humble, tolerant, with great inner strength and resoluteness, he was a man of the people who understood their language. He was also a man of vision who led the country towards progress. Lal Bahadur Shastri was deeply influenced by the political teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. "Hard work is equal to prayer," he once said, in accents profoundly reminiscent of his Master. In the direct tradition of Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri represented the best in Indian culture.
Shri Gulzarilal Nanda (May 27, 1964 - June 9, 1964 and January 11, 1966 - January 24, 1966)- Party (Congress)
Born on July 4, 1898, in Sialkot (Punjab), Shri Gulzarilal Nanda was educated at Lahore, Agra and Allahabad. He worked as a research scholar on labour problems at the University of Allahabad (1920-1921) and became Professor of Economics at the National College (Bombay) in 1921. He joined the Non-Cooperation Movement the same year. In 1922, he become Secretary of the Ahmedabad Textile Labour Association in which he worked until 1946. He was imprisoned for Satyagraha in 1932, and again from 1942 to 44.
Shri Nanda was elected to the Bombay Legislative Assembly in 1937 and was Parliamentary Secretary (Labour and Excise) to the Government of Bombay from 1937 to 1939. Later, as Labour Minister of the Bombay Government (1946-50), he successfully piloted the Labour Disputes Bill in the State Assembly. He served as Trustee, Kasturba Memorial Trust; Secretary, Hindustan Mazdoor Sevak Sangh; and Chairman, Bombay Housing Board. He was also a Member of the National Planning Committee. He was largely instrumental in organising the Indian National Trade Union Congress and later became its President. In 1947, he went to Geneva as a Government delegate to the International Labour Conference. He worked on the 'The Freedom of Association Committee' appointed by the Conference and visited Sweden, France, Switzerland, Belgium and England to study labour and housing conditions in those countries.
In March 1950, he joined the Planning Commission as its Vice-Chairman. In September the following year, he was appointed Planning Minister in the Union Government. In addition, he was also given charge of the portfolios of Irrigation and Power. He was elected to the House of the People from Bombay in the general elections of 1952 and was re-appointed Minister for Planning Irrigation and Power. He led the Indian Delegation to the Plan Consultative Committee held at Singapore in 1955, and the International Labour Conference held at Geneva in 1959. Shri Nanda was elected to the Lok Sabha in the 1957 general elections, and was appointed Union Minister for Labour and Employment and Planning and, later, as Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission. He visited the Federal Republic of Germany Yugoslavia and Austria in 1959.
He was re-elected to the Lok Sabha in the 1962 general elections from Sabarkantha Constituency in Gujarat. He initiated the Congress Forum for Socialist Action in 1962. He was Union Minister for Labour and Employment in 1962 and 1963 and Minister for Home Affairs from 1963 to 1966. Following the death of Pt. Nehru, he was a sworn in as Prime Minister of India on May 27, 1964. Again on January 11, 1966, he was sworn in as Prime Minister following the death of Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri at Tashkent.
Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru (August 15, 1947 - May 27, 1964 )- Party (Congress)
Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru was born in Allabahad on November 14, 1889. He received his early education at home under private tutors. At the age of fifteen, he went to England and after two years at Harrow, joined Cambridge University where he took his tripos in Natural Sciences. He was later called to the Bar from Inner Temple. He returned to India in 1912 and plunged straight into politics. Even as a student, he had been interested in the struggle of all nations who suffered under foreign domination. He took keen interest in the Sinn Fein Movement in Ireland. In India, he was inevitably drawn into the struggle for independence. In 1912, he attended the Bankipore Congress as a delegate, and became Secretary of the Home Rule League, Allahabad in 1919. In 1916 he had his first meeting with Mahatma Gandhi and felt immensely inspired by him. He organised the first Kisan March in Pratapgarh District of Uttar Pradesh in 1920. He was twice imprisoned in connection with the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1920-22.
Pt. Nehru became the General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee in September 1923. He toured Italy, Switzerland, England, Belgium, Germany and Russia in 1926. In Belgium, he attended the Congress of Oppressed Nationalities in Brussels as an official delegate of the Indian National Congress. He also attended the tenth anniversary celebrations of the October Socialist Revolution in Moscow in 1927. Earlier, in 1926, at the Madras Congress, Nehru had been instrumental in committing the Congress to the goal of Independence. While leading a procession against the Simon commission, he was lathi-charged in Lucknow in 1928. On August 29, 1928 he attended the All-Party Congress and was one of the signatories to the Nehru Report on Indian Constitutional Reform, named after his father Shri Motilal Nehru. The same year, he also founded the 'Independence for India League', which advocated complete severance of the British connection with India, and became its General Secretary.
In 1929, Pt. Nehru was elected President of the Lahore Session of the Indian National Congress, where complete independence for the country was adopted as the goal. He was imprisoned several times during 1930-35 in connection with the Salt Satyagraha and other movements launched by the Congress. He completed his 'Autobiography' in Almora Jail on February 14, 1935. After release, he flew to Switzerland to see his ailing wife and visited London in February-March, 1936. He also visited Spain in July 1938, when the country was in the throws of Civil War. Just before the court-break of the Second World War, he visited China too.
On October 31, 1940 Pt. Nehru was arrested for offering individual Satyagraha to protest against India's forced participation in war. He was released along with the other leaders in December 1941. On August 7, 1942 Pt. Nehru moved the historic 'Quit India' resolution at the A.I.C.C. session in Bombay. On August 8,1942 he was arrested along with other leaders and taken to Ahmednagar Fort. This was his longest and also his last detention. In all, he suffered imprisonment nine times. After his release in January 1945, he organized legal defence for those officers and men of the INA charged with treason. In March 1946, Pt. Nehru toured South East Asia. He was elected President of the Congress for the fourth time on July 6, 1946 and again for three more terms from 1951 to 1954.
President of India
The president of India is the executive head of State and First Citizen of India. The executive powers vested in the President are to be exercised on the advice of the council of Ministers responsible to the parliament. The 42nd amendment to the Constitution has made it obligatory on the part of the President to accept the advice of the Council of Ministers.
Election ProcessThe president of India indirectly elected through "Electoral College" consisting of Elected members of both the Houses of Parliament & elected members of the Legisletive Assemblies of the states. According to the 70th Amendment Act, 1992, the expression "States" inckudes the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Pondicherry. The total voting strength of the parliament is equal to the total voting strength of all state asemblies together. The Supreme Court of India inquires all disputes regarding President's election. After electing the president takes OATH in presence of Chief Justice of India, or in absence of Chief Justice, senior most judge of SC.
In case the office falls vacant due to the death, resignation or removal, the Vice-President acts as President. If he is not available then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, if not then senior most judge of the Supreme Court shall act as the Persident of India. The election is to be held within 6 month of the vacancy.
In Presidential elections history V. V. Giri is the only person who won the election as an independent candidate in 1969. And Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy was elected unopposed as no one else filed nomination for the post of the President in 1977.
Elegibility to Contest Election for the President
He/She must be a citizen of India.
Completed 35 yrs of age
Eligible to be a member of Lok Sabha
Must not hold any Govt. Post. except (President, Vice-President, Govornor of any State, Minister of Union or State)
An elected president is elegible to hold his/her office for the 5yrs term. And as per the Article 57 there is no upper limit on the no. of times a person can become President. He/She can give resigation to Vice President before his/her full term.
Impeachment (Article 61)
The President can be impeached only on the ground of violation of Constitution (This impeachment procedure called Quasi-judicial procedure). The impeachment procedure can be initiated in either House of the Parliament. The charge must come in the form of a proposal which must be signed at least one-fourth of the total membership of that house. Before the resolution could be passed, a fourteen days notice must be given to the President. If after the notice, the House passes the resolution by a majority of not less than two-third membership of that House, the matter will be referred to the other House. After the charges are framed by one house, the other House investigates them. At this time President has the right to defend himself either in person or through his lawyer. If after the investigation, the other house passes the resolution by not less than two-third majority of that House, the President stands impeached from his office from the date on which the motion is so passed.
Powers of President
Appoints PM, ministers, Chief Justice and judges of Supreme Court and High Courts, chairman and members of UPSC, Comptroller and Auditor General, Attorney General, Chief Election Comissioner and other members of Election Commission, Governors, Members of Finance Commission, Ambassadors etc.
He/ She directly administers the Union Territories through the Lt. Governor, Commissioner or Administrator.
The President's pardoninf power comprises a group of analogous powers like pardon, reprieve, remission, respite and communication.
Appoint the Chief Justice and judges of Supreme Court and High Court
Represents country in international forums.
Sends ambassadors and receives diplomats.
International treaties and agreements are concluded on his behalf.
All money bills can originate in Parliament only on recommendadation of President.
No demand for a grant can be made except on his recommendation.
He/She can make advances out of the Contingency Fund of India to meet any unforseen expenditure.
Appoints Finance Commission (after every 5yrs) that recommends distribution of taxes between Union and State Govts.
He is the Supreme Commander of the Defense Forces in India.
Appoints Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force.
Declares wars and concludes peace subject to the approval of the Parliament.
The President can promulgate 3 types of Emergencies: (i)National Emergency (Article 352), (ii)State Emergency (President Rule Article 356), (iii)Financial Emergency
Addresses the first session after general elections and at the commencement of the first session of each year.
Can send messages to both the Houses, whether with respect to a Bill pending in the Parliament or otherwise.
Can summon and prorogue the sessions of the 2 houses & can dissolve Lok Sabha..
Can address both the houses jointly or separately.
He/She can appoint any member of the Lok Sabha to preside over its procedings when both the offices of Speaker and the Deputy Speaker fall vacant simultaneously.
Nominate 12 members of Rajya Sabha.
Nominates 2 members of Anglo-Indian community in Lok Sabha if they haven't recieved adequate representation.
Can enact laws through ordinance when the parliament is in recess (Article 123). These ordinances must be passed by parliament within 6 weeks of reassembly.
His/Her prior recommendation or permission is needed to introduce certain types of Bills boundaries of a State, a Money Bill etc.
Election Comission in India - Chief Election Commisioners of India
An independent Election Commission has been established under the Constitution in order to carry out and regulate the holding of elections in India.
The Election Commission was established in accordance with the Constitution on 25th January 1950. Originally a Chief Election Commissioner ran the commission, but first in 1989 and later again in 1993 two additional Election Commissioners were appointed.The Election Commission is responsible for the conduct of elections to parliament and state legislatures and to the offices of the President and Vice-President.
The Election Commission prepares, maintains and periodically updates the Electoral Roll, which shows who is entitled to vote, supervises the nomination of candidates, registers political parties, monitors the election campaign, including candidates’ funding. It also facilitates the coverage of the election process by the media, organises the polling booths where voting takes place, and looks after the counting of votes and the declaration of results. All this is done to ensure that elections can take place in an orderly and fair manner.
At present, there are two Election Commissioners appointed by the President. Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only by parliamentary impeachment. The Commission decides most matters by consensus but in case of any dissension, the majority view prevails.
CHIFE ELECTION COMMISSIONERS OF INDIA
Sukumar Sen 21 March 1950-19 December 1958
K.V.K. Sundaram 20 December 1958-30 September 1967
S.P. Sen Verma 1 October 1967-30 September 1972
Dr Nagendra Singh 1 October 1972-6 February 1973
T. Swaminathan 7 February 1973-17 June 1977
S.L. Shakdhar 18 June 1977-17 June 1982
R.K. Trivedi 18 June 1982-31 December 1985
R.V.S. Peri Sastri 1 January 1986-25 November 1990
Smt V.S. Rama Devi 26 November 1990-11 December 1990
T.N. Seshan 12 December 1990-11 December 1996
M.S. Gill 12 December 1996-13 June 2001
J.M. Lyngdoh 14 June 2001-7 February 2004
T.S. Krishna Murthy 8 February 2004-15 May 2005
B.B. Tandon 16 May 2005-07 February 2006
N. Gopalaswamy 8 February 2006 - 30 April 2009
Navin Chawla 2 May 2009