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Yeddyurappa two-day term among the shortest for a chief minister. See who else is on the list

From Jagdambika Pal, who was Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister for a day to Janaki Ramachandran, who held power in Tamil Nadu for 23 days, here are India’s shortest-serving chief ministers.

Karnataka Elections 2018 Updated: May 19, 2018 16:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
BS Yeddyurappa,Shortest serving chief minister,Karnataka
BS Yeddyurappa at the Karnataka assembly on Saturday. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

Bharatiya Janata Party leader BS Yeddyurappa on Saturday resigned as the chief minister of Karnataka, two days after he took oath. Yeddyurappa was given a day’s time by the Supreme Court to prove his majority in a floor test, after the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) approached the apex court.

In an emotional speech, Yeddyurappa announced that he will resign from his post as chief minister, as the BJP did not have the numbers to face a majority test. This makes him the shortest serving chief minister of Karnataka, holding office for a little more than two days.

But he isn’t alone. Political machinations during government formation have served up several such situations in India, where chief ministers have held power for as little as one day.

Here are some of India’s shortest serving chief ministers:

Jagdambika Pal, one day

The 1998 elections in Uttar Pradesh turned up high drama, that eventually lead to Jagdambika Pal becoming a ‘one-day’ chief minister.

Kalyan Singh was Uttar Pradesh chief minister at the time, the head of a precarious government resting on support of defectors from other parties. After a floor test that witnessed unprecedented violence in the assembly, governor Romesh Bhandari recommended President’s Rule in the state.

The Centre didn’t agree, and Kalyan Singh went ahead and appointed a 98-member strong cabinet to reward all defectors, including a breakaway faction from Congress called Loktantrik Congress which included leaders Naresh Agarwal and Jagdambika Pal.

On February 21, 1998, the Loktantrik Congress withdrew its support to the Kalyan Singh government. The governor dismissed the government and swore in Jadgambika Pal as the chief minister late at night, a decision that the high court reversed the next morning.

Satish Prasad Singh, one week

In 1968, Satish Prasad Singh became the youngest chief minister of Bihar, albeit only for a week. But unlike in the other political scenarios, Satish gave up his seat voluntarily.

The events unfolded when Mahamaya Prasad Sinha, Bihar’s first non-Congress chief minister, could not survive a party revolt. A faction within the Congress rebelled, led by KB Sahay, and was supported by the breakaway Sanjukta Socialist Party (SSP) led by BP Mandal. The SSP wanted Mandal to become the chief minister, but before that transition, they chose Satish who took oath on January 27, 1968.

As CM, Satish recommended Mandal’s name as an MLC on February 2 and the new chief minister took oath on February 5, 1968.

SC Marak, 13 days

In Meghalaya, veteran Congress leader SC Marak was once in power only for thirteen days, from February 27, 1998 to March 10, 1998.

He became the state’s chief minister on February 27, 1998 but could continue for just 12 days when his Congress-led coalition resigned, paving way for United Parliamentary Forum leader BB Lyngdoh to become the next CM. However, right before this debacle, Marak had completed a successful stint as Meghalaya’s chief minister for five years, from February 1993 to 1998.

Janaki Ramachandran, 23 days

Janaki Ramachandran, popularly known as V Janaki, was a Tamil actress, a politician and the wife of MG Ramachandran, the founder of the AIADMK party. Janaki was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for 23 days, from January 7, 1988 to January 30 of the same month.

After MGR’s death in December 1987, a succession battle split the AIADMK down the middle. One faction proposed Janaki as the leader, while a smaller faction sided with the claim of J Jayalalithaa, MGR’s political mentee.

Janaki’s bid was accepted by the then governor of Tamil Nadu, Sunder Lal Khurana, who swore her in as the chief minister and allowed her three weeks to prove her majority. The speaker of the assembly, also a Janaki supporter, disqualified MLAs belonging to the opposition DMK and Jayalalithaa’s supporters. On the day of the floor test, DMK and AIADMK legislators violently clashed in the assembly and police had to intervene.

Though the speaker announced that the cabinet had won the motion of confidence, the Central Government under Rajiv Gandhi refused to accept it and used Article 356 of the Constitution to dismiss Janaki’s government next month.

CH Mohammad Koya, 45 days

CH Mohammad Koya was an Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) who served as the chief minister of Kerala for 45 days, from October 12, 1979 to December 1, 1979.

Koya became the Kerala assembly speaker in 1961 after the demise of KM Seethi Sahib and went on to serve in the cabinets of chief ministers EMS Namboodiripad and C Achutha Menon, among others.

He was sworn in as the tenth chief minister of the state on October 12, 1979, but his tenure lasted only 45 days, making him the shortest serving CM of the state and its only Muslim one. However, in the next United Democratic Front(UDF) government headed by K Karunakaran which was formed, Koya served as Deputy Chief Minister.

First Published: May 19, 2018 16:49 IST