Shekhar, Chandra

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Chandra Shekhar (Chandra Shekhar Singh), 1927–2007, Indian political leader, prime minister of India (1990–91), b. Uttar Pradesh. Active in the Socialist party, he served in the upper house of parliament (1962–67), joining the Congress party in 1964. A critic of Indira Ghandi's leadership of the party, he was jailed during the state of emergency she called in the mid-1970s. In 1977, after his release from prison and Congress's election loss, he became president of the newly formed Janata party and served in the lower house of parliament. In 1988 Janata merged with several other parties to form Janata Dal under V. P. Singh, who became prime minister in 1989. Believing he should have been prime minister, Shekhar broke with Janata Dal and formed the Samajwadi Janata party. With the backing of Congress, he formed a weak minority government, resigning when Congress withdrew its support.