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Manmohan Singh

Dr. Manmohan Singh
Date of Birth: September 26, 1932
Place of Birth: Gah, West Punjab
Prime Minister of India
Tenure Order: 14th Prime Minister
Political party: Congress (I)
Took office: May 22, 2004
Predecessor: Atal Behari Vajpayee

Manmohan Singh (ਮਨਮੋਹਨ ਸਿੰਘ in Gurmukhi script मनमोहन सिंह in Devnagari Punjabi) (born September 26, 1932, Gah, West Punjab (now in Pakistan)) is the fourteenth prime minister of India. He is from the left-of-center Indian National Congress party. A member of the Sikh faith, Singh was sworn in on May 22, 2004 as India's first non-Hindu Prime Minister.

Singh is regarded as the architect of India's original economic reform programme. His policies of economic liberalization, serving in his capacity as finance minister under the government of Narasimha Rao in the mid 1990s, brought the country back from a looming economic bankruptcy. Singh is an economist by training, and has formerly served in the International Monetary Fund. He was educated at Nuffield College, Oxford, St John's College, Cambridge and Punjab University; he holds a doctorate in economics from Oxford.

Although his economic policies – which included the reduction of several redundant socialist policies – were widely popular, especially among the middle class, Singh lost his seat to the Lok Sabha from South Delhi in 1999. He was also a member of the Rajya Sabha from Assam since 1991 and a leader of the opposition from 1998 – 2004 when India was governed by the right-of-center Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP.

A rather low-key politician, Manmohan Singh has had a "squeaky clean" image and was advisor to opposition chief Sonia Gandhi throughout the election campaign in 2004. He was awarded the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 2002.

Singh has been married since 1958; he and his wife have three daughters.

His appointment is notable as it comes 20 years after India witnessed significant tensions between the Indian central government and the Punjabi Sikh community. After Congress Party Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the mother-in-law of Sonia Gandhi, ordered central government troops to storm the Golden Temple (the holiest site in Sikhism) in Amritsar, Punjab to quell a separatist movement, she was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguard. The result was a tremendous nationwide crisis in which many innocent Sikh civilians were murdered.

Road to becoming Prime Minister of India

The Congress alliance won a surprisingly high number of seats in the Parliamentary elections of 2004. The Left Front decided to support a Congress alliance government from outside in order to keep the "communal forces" out of power. Sonia Gandhi was elected leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party and was expected to become the Prime Minister but in a surprise move, declined to accept the post and instead nominated Dr. Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister. There were protests within the Congress about her refusal but eventually people accepted her decision and the allies too accepted her choice. Singh secured the nomination for prime minister on May 19, 2004 when President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam officially asked him to form a government.


Manmohan Singh with Condoleezza Rice

Preceded by:
Atal Behari Vajpayee
Prime Minister of India
Followed by:

External links

Prime Ministers of India

Jawaharlal NehruGulzarilal NandaLal Bahadur ShastriIndira GandhiMorarji DesaiChoudhary Charan SinghRajiv GandhiVishwanath Pratap SinghChandra ShekharP. V. Narasimha RaoH. D. Deve GowdaInder Kumar GujralAtal Behari VajpayeeManmohan Singh

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