Morarji Desai was the Prime Minister of India from 1977 to 1979. He is generally considered one of the most highly respected and influential politicians in Indian history.
He served as a cabinet minister in independent India’s first government under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and later went on to become Prime Minister himself.
His team instituted several progressive programmes, including a fast-growing economy, zero inflation, increased investment in rural areas and enhanced social security for the poor.
About Morarji Desai
Morarji Desai is widely credit with turning around India’s economy. And making it among the fastest-growing in the world. He was responsible for much of India’s economic growth under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, during which he was described by insiders as being “more powerful [than Nehru himself]”. In 1979, this growth was so rapid that it initially made him popular among the Indian poor and middle class, who had experienced rapid inflation but were not subject to government rationing policies under his predecessor Morarji Desai.
Life of Desai
Morarji Desai was born in a Bhadeli village, Bulsar district today known as valsad, Gujarat. He born on 29th of February in 1896.
His early education
Graduating from the Dhanbad Government High School, Morarji Desai received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Dhanbad Government College and then a Master of Arts degree from the University of London. In 1942, Desai attend the crash course for army officers at Dehra Dun. Therefore, he serve with the British Indian Army in Burma and Assam before being transfer to India’s National Defence Academy at Pune. He was commission as an officer in the 1st Battalion of The Rajput Regiment (now The Rajputana Rifles).
Personal life of Desai
Morarji Desai married late, but had six sons and one daughter. His wife, Kantaben Desai, was a homemaker.
Morarji Desai started his career in politics as a freedom fighter under Mahatma Gandhi. He was jail several times during India’s freedom struggle. He became the Deputy Prime Minister of India in 1962 and held that post till his death.
After independence, Desai served in Jawaharlal Nehru’s cabinet as Minister for Home Affairs and Labour, and later as Minister for Transport, Railways and Communications.
Desai was the first Indian politician to introduce computerized ticketing system in 1961 which was done by CDSC Limited on experimental basis & JAM (Jawahar Lal Nehru) Project on major routes like Mumbai-Delhi sector which reduced costs & increased productivity.
Chief Minister of Bombay
In 1967, Morarji Desai became the Chief Minister of Bombay State. He has been accuse of ordering an ineffective rescue operation but this is denied by his family and supporters.
Desai advocated a strict policy against any separatist elements in Punjab, to the point that he refused to visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar until Indira Gandhi ordered him to do so after Operation Blue Star. His refusal earned him the enmity of Sikhs across India.
Partition of two state
There was internal strife in Bombay State which lead to Partition of the state in 1960. The state had four major cities Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Kolhapur. Poona was also include in the city groups of these four cities. Morarji Desai signed the agreement with Nehru for the partition of Bombay in 1960 but later on he changed his mind and opposed it. He also advocates that Marathi-speaking people along with others should be given greater status. Than other languages spoken in Bombay.
Morarji Desai was appoint to the Nehru cabinet as a minister in 1962 and continue in the cabinet under Indira Gandhi. In those days there was no such thing like coalition government but Desai had joined Nehru cabinet in the first place and continued till death. Desai had a special relationship with Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, and remained close to them throughout his life. He was regard as one of the closest advisors to Indira Gandhi.
Congress party leadership contest
Morarji Desai was a candidate for the post of President of Indian National Congress in 1964. In the election, he received 102 votes against Neelam Sanjiva Reddy’s 133 votes.
Indira Gandhi cabinet
Morarji Desai was appoint Prime Minister of India in 1977 by Indira Gandhi. He became the first Indian Prime Minister who was not a member of the Congress party at any stage in his life.
After taking charge, Desai announced that he would continue that economic policies as begun by his predecessor Indira Gandhi. After becoming PM, Desai made several key appointments to his cabinet, including Jagjivan Ram as Defence Minister and Dinesh Singh as Finance Minister. His government also continued with such ‘pro-poor’ policies as revising land ceiling laws and increasing spending on social services.
In the 1977 General Election, Congress lost power to the Janata Party in a landslide. Morarji Desai continue as Prime Minister. But his government was lost in a vote of no-confidence by the opposition. He resigned on 24 March 1979 and then became Governor of West Bengal.
Janata wave of 1977
The 1977 election was the first election after the Jana Sangh was split. Into two parties by its leader, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. Therefore, his government lost the vote of no confidence in Parliament.
The main cause for this defeat is the vote on Urgent measures for National Integration. Which is against Hindi being use as one of the official languages of India. The Nehru-Gandhi family oppose this move. It was one of few campaign issues that led to Congress losing the elections.
Awards and honors
Morarji Desai get Bharat Ratna in 1991 for his work for India.