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Choudhary Charan Singh Biography

Choudhary Charan Singh was born on December 23,1902 in Noorpur district of Uttar Pradesh in a poor peasant’s family. He was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violence and entered India’s independence movement. After India’s Independence he came to be associated with socialism in the rural areas.

In 1952 he was Revenue Minister of Uttar Pradesh and one of his major contributions was that he did away with the Zamindari system and also brought in Land Reform Acts. He was a strong opponent of Nehru’s socialism and fell out with the Congress party. He left Congress in 1967 to form his independent party known as the Bharatiya Lok Dal.

He served twice as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh but for short periods. During the emergency he was jailed by Indira Gandhi. In the election of 1977 his party gave support to Morarji Desai’s government. Soon problems in the coalition government led him to leave Desai’s government. After Desai resigned, Charan Singh was sworn in as Prime Minister with the support of just 64 members and backed by the Congress party.

His tenure in office lasted from July 28, 1979 to January 14,1980. He is the only Prime Minister during whose reign the Lok Sabha did not meet even once. This was so because a day before the meeting of the Parliament the Congress party withdrew their support. He resigned from office and new elections were held after six months to elect the next Prime Minister. Thereafter he headed the Opposition until his death on May 29,1987.

His memorial in New Delhi was named Kisan Ghat because of his lifelong association with the farming communities of North India.