Narendra Modi who took oath as prime minister for his second term on May 2019 is set to become the longest serving non-Congress leader to occupy the office. With 2,272 continuous days in office as of Friday, Modi will match the record held by the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee who served in office for 2,272 days across three separate terms. On Saturday, he will surpass it.
In May 2014, Modi was first elected PM when he led the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections winning 282 seats in the Lower House. Five years later, he returned to power with an unprecedented 303 MPs.
Vajpayee who was first elected PM in 1996, was in office between May 16 and June 1, a tenure that lasted 13 days. His second stint came in 1998, when he was PM for 13 months between March 1998 and April 1999. This was followed by a five-year term between 1999 and 2004. While Vajpayee resigned on May 27, 1996, after his 13-day stint, and after delivering one of the best speeches Parliament has ever heard, his successor Deve Gowda was sworn in only on June 1. Technically, Vajpayee was the caretaker PM for those days, a fact some calculations of his tenure overlook.
Other than Vajpayee and Modi, PMs with long tenure include India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who assumed office on August 15, 1947 stayed in the seat till May 27, 1964, a total of 6,130 days or almost 17 years. His daughter Indira Gandhi who first assumed office on January 24, 1966 continued till March 24, 1977; she returned as PM on January 14, 1980 and continued till her assassination on October 31, 1984. She was in office for 5,829 days. Dr Manmohan Singh was PM for 10 years between May 22, 2004 and May 26, 2014, a total of 3,656 days. Then come Modi and Vajpayee.
On Modi’s term, BJP national vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said his leadership has left an indelible mark on polity as well as governance. “Some PMs left a mark on polity while others on governance. He has made a mark on both.”
Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said, “Prime Minister Modi will be remembered for setting scary, disappointing and nation-damaging records.” “He is the first Prime Minister to give the unwarranted gift of highest unemployment, giving clean chit to land grabber China apart from being the architect of biggest and scariest economic disaster existent in India,” Shergill added.
Abhay Deshpande, a political commentator, said, “He’s taken the BJP from a party with a fractured mandate to a party with a clear mandate. It is obvious he will be in a position to create a record for being the longest serving non-Congress PM.”
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