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Inder Kumar Gujral Biography

Inder Kumar Gujral served as the Prime Minister of India from 21 April 1997 to 19 March 1998. Born on 4 December 1919, in Jhelum, Pakistan, he actively participated in India’s freedom struggle.

He served as India’s ambassador to Russia. Gujral left the Congress Party in the mid-1980s to join the Janata Dal. After the 1989 elections, he served as the Minister of External Affairs in V.P.Singh’s ministry. One of the main issues during his stint as the External Affairs minister was Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent Gulf War. He became the External Affairs once again in the H.D. Devegowda-led United Front government, formed after the elections of 1996. It was during this period that India tried to improve its relations with the neighbouring countries, in what came to be known as the ‘Gujral Doctrine’. He became the Prime Minister of India on April 21, 1997, after the Congress party, which had been supporting the United Front government decided to withdraw support and insisted on a change at the helm of affairs if they were to continue to lend support.

During Gujral’s stint as the Prime Minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav, who was the then Chief Minister of Bihar broke away from the Janata Dal and formed his own party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal.(RJD). Gujral had asked Lalu to resign when the CBI sought and secured the permission of the Bihar governor to prosecute Lalu in the fodder scam. Gujral served as the Prime Minister for a total period of over 11 months. One of the controversial decisions of his government was when it recommended President’s rule in Uttar Pradesh, but had to finally back down when President K.R. Narayanan refused to sign the recommendation and sent it back to the government for reconsideration.

He did not contest the 1999 elections and left active politics. Apart from being the Prime Minister and the External Affairs Minister, he also served as a Minister in the Ministries of Communications and Parliamentary Affairs, Information & Broadcasting, Works & Housing, Planning and Ministry of External Affairs.

Inder Kumar Gujral passed away on November 30th 2012 in Medanta Hospital, Gurgaon Haryana) of multiple organ failure, after being diagnsed with a lung infection.