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Will Manmohan Singh repeat Vajpayee's feat?

Will Manmohan Singh be able to repeat Atal Bihari Vajpayee's feat who came back for a second consecutive term as prime minister breaking a 20-year jinx.

delhi Updated: May 10, 2009 14:26 IST

Will Manmohan Singh be able to repeat Atal Bihari Vajpayee's feat who came back for a second consecutive term as prime minister breaking a 20-year jinx.

Vajpayee made a spectacular return in 1998, the first leader to do so since 1977, after losing power within 13 months as his government was defeated on the floor of the Lok Sabha by just one vote.

With election results scheduled to be out on May 16, the answer will be clear next week if Singh, a renowned economist who "accidentally" came into politics, will get a second stint at the helm of government.

The 76-year-old is the first leader to be projected as PM candidate by the Congress which has lorded over the affairs of the country for 50 years of the six decades since independence.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi have put their weight behind his candidature and have often declared that the issue is "non-negotiable".

If Singh becomes the Prime Minister again, he will also be the first Congress Prime Minister outside the Gandhi-Nehru family to do so and that too while heading a coalition government.

Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi expressed confidence that Singh will follow the footsteps of previous Congress Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and get a second Prime Ministerial stint.

Singhvi claimed that Vajpayee did not achieve the distinction as he did not complete the first two stints.

After the Janata Party experiment in 1977 which saw two Prime Ministers Moraraji Desai and Charan Singh, Indira Gandhi came to power in 1980. After her assassination in October 1984, Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister following a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha polls.

He could not repeat the magic in 1989 and chose to sit in the opposition despite the Congress emerging as the single largest party.

Since then getting a majority in Parliamnet has virtually proved to be a mirage for political parties.

While V P Singh was in the PM's chair for eleven months after the 1989 polls, Chandrashekhar who sprang a surprise on him lasted just four months.

P V Narasimha Rao completed a full term from 1991 to 1996 while Atal Bihari Vajpayee who followed him lasted just a few days with his government being dubbed as "thirteen day wonder" by opposition Congress.

H D Deve Gowda was then at the helm for 11 months and I K Gujral for four months. Then in 1998 and 1999 it was Vajpayee while Manmohan Singh caused an upset in 2004.

Singh joined politics after he became Finance Minister in the P V Narasimha Rao Government in 1991 and became the architect of economic reforms process. While Rao failed to return to power, it remains to be seen how Singh scores.