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India: Who was the first chief minister who went on to become to India Prime Minister?

Who was the first chief minister who went on to become to India Prime Minister?

12.1.21

/ by Bodopress

India Prime Minister

Who was the first chief minister who went on to become to India Prime Minister?

Morarji Desai was  the first non-Congress India Prime Minister in March 1977.

Morarji Desai was the Chief Minister of the erstwhile Bombay State during 1952-56.

Before the independence of India, he became Bombay's Home Minister and was later elected Chief Minister of Bombay state in 1952. It was a period when movements for linguistic states were on the rise, particularly in South India. Bombay was a bi-lingual state, home to Gujarati-speaking and Marathi-speaking people. Since 1956, activist organisation Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti led a movement for a Marathi-speaking state of Maharashtra. Morarji Desai was opposed to such movements, including the Mahagujarat Movement led by Indulal Yagnik demanding a new state of Gujarat. Desai proposed that the metropolitan Mumbai be made a Union territory. His logic was that a separate development region would suit the city's cosmopolitan nature, with citizens from diverse settings across various linguistic, cultural, and religious backgrounds living there for generations. Despite his Gandhian ideals, Desai ordered the police to open fire on the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti demonstrators who had gathered at Flora Fountain to demand a Marathi-speaking state. The protesters were led by Senapati Bapat. In the carnage that followed, 105 protesters, including an eleven-year-old girl, were killed. The issue escalated and is believed to have forced the Central Government to agree to two separate states based on language. After the formation of the present State of Maharashtra, Bombay, now Mumbai became its state capital. Flora Fountain was renamed "Hutatma Chowk" ("Martyrs' Square" in Marathi) to honour the people killed in the firing. Later Desai moved to Delhi when he was inducted as finance Minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.


 Five people became Prime Ministers after being Chief Ministers of their respective States.


They were - Morarji Desai, Charan Singh, V. P. Singh, P. V. Narasimha Rao and H. D. Deve Gowda.


Morarji Desai was the Chief Minister of the erstwhile Bombay State during 1952-56.


He became the first non-Congress Prime Minister in March 1977.


Charan Singh, who succeeded him as the PM in 1979, was the Chief Minister of the undivided Uttar Pradesh in 1967-1968 and again in 1970.


V. P. Singh, also from U.P., became Prime Minister in the National Front government (December 1989-November 1990).



P. V. Narasimha Rao, the first Prime Minister from South India, held the post from 1991-1996.


He was Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh between 1971-1973.


H. D. Deve Gowda was Chief Minister of Karnataka when he was chosen to lead the United Front government in June 1996.


Many have described the post of the PM as follows -


1. Lord Morely - He described Prime Minister as ‘primus inter pares’ (first among equals) and ‘keystone of the cabinet arch’.


2. Sir William Vernor Harcourt - He described Prime Minister as ‘inter stellas luna minores’ (a moon among lesser stars).


3. Jennings - All roads in the constitution lead to the Prime Minister.


4. H. J. Laski - On the relationship between the Prime Minister and the cabinet, he said that the Prime Minister “is central to its formation, central to its life, and central to its death”. He described him as“the pivot around which the entire governmental machinery revolves.”


5. H. R. G. Greaves - “The Government is the master of the country and he (Prime Minister) is the master of the Government.”


6. Munro - He called Prime Minister as “the captain of the ship of the state”.


7. Ramsay Muir - He described Prime Minister as “the steersman of steering wheel of the ship of the state.”

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