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Gulzarilal Nanda Biography

Gulzarilal Nanda was the second Prime Minister of India who served twice as acting Prime Minister for very short periods of time. He was born on July 4, 1898 in Sialkot, Punjab which now lies in Pakistan. Before 1947 he was popularly known as the owner of ‘Nanda Bus Service’. He worked as a research scholar on Labor problems at Allahabad University and later became Professor of Economics at National College in Bombay in 1921.

It was during this time that he was greatly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi. In 1921, Nanda joined Gandhi in his Non Cooperation Movement and served a jail term for his involvement in Gandhi’s Satyagraha. In 1947 he went to Geneva as government delegate to the International Labor Conference. He then became the Vice-chairman of the Planning Commission in March 1950. He also served as Labor Minister of the Bombay Constituency. He was elected to the Lok Sabha thrice. In his first term in 1952, he served as the minister for Planning, Irrigation and Power.

In 1957, in his second term he was appointed as the Union Minister for Labor, Employment and Planning. He became acting Prime Minister for the first time after Jawaharlal Nehru’s death. He served for less than a month until the Congress, the ruling party, chose the next head. He became the acting Prime Minister for a second time after Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death in 1966. This time also he held office for a very short time until the new Prime Minister was elected.

Although he had served for very short periods as the acting Prime Minister, he is remembered for his work as Labor Minister. He was an ardent follower of Gandhi’s principles and was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India. Gulzarilal Nanda died on January 15,1998.