Morarji Desai

20 November, 2012

Morarji Ranchhodji Desai, Prime Minister of India from 1977 to 1979, was born into a Gujarati family in Bhadeli (in the then Bombay Presidency). He received a very good education from Wilson College of Bombay and soon joined the freedom-struggle movement. A committed Congressman, he was the efficient chief minister (1952–1956) of the not-yet-partitioned state of Bombay. He was then called to Delhi, first as the commerce and then finance minister, where he proved his efficacy, so much so that he appeared to be a serious contender for the post of prime minister. His conservative ways, his austerity, and liberal economic views, however, did not serve him well. An obstinate rival of Indira Gandhi, he broke with her in 1969 and, together with the “Old Guard” of the Congress Party, a Syndicate of “people from the past”, he formed a dissident Congress organization, the Congress (O). Later, he and his party joined the JP Movement (Jayaprakash Narayan). He was jailed, along with many other political leaders, when Emergency was imposed in 1975. When the Janata Party was formed in 1977, he appeared to be the best choice to answer the demands of the various components of the new coalition. As Prime Minister of India from March 1977 to July 1979, he had to deal with many conflicting pressures (e.g., from his rival Charan Singh, and also in the debate over certain political leaders’ holding double party memberships [in the Janata Party and the RSS]). He was led to resign in July 1979; but his successor, Charan Singh, never managed to obtain a vote of confidence in Parliament. Morarji died in April 1995.

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OEMV , Morarji Desai , Mass Violence & Résistance, [online], published on: 20 November, 2012, accessed 17/02/2021,, ISSN 1961-9898
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