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April 19, 1997: Gujral is India’s new prime minister

The three-week old political crisis in India, following the fall of Deve Gowda’s government, is likely to continue

Image Credit: Gulf News Archives
Inder Kumar Gujral.
Gulf News

The three-week old political crisis in India, following the fall of Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda’s government, is likely to continue even though his ruling United Front coalition claimed that it had ‘unanimously’ selected 78-year-old External Affairs Minister, Inder Kumar Gujral, as the new party leader who will now replace Gowda as prime minister. The cracks within the 13-party coalition became apparent minutes after both Gowda himself and the UF convener and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Chandrababu Naidu, told journalists in New Delhi that “we are happy and proud to have selected Gujral as the new leader unanimously”. Gujral, a 77-year-old scholar, said “I am thankful to all the political parties who have stood behind me in the UF and also to the Congress for extending its support”. Gujral added, “I bow my head in all humility to the people of India and will to the best of my ability give them a clean government, a government which serves them and attends to all their basic problems — these being poverty, backwardness and the denial of social justice”.

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