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Election anecdote: Why number 13 was unlucky for Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 23:10

Zee Media Bureau/Manisha Singh

New Delhi: Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the first person from the Bharatiya Janata Party to become the Prime Minister of India. He was sworn in as PM three times. However, the first two times, the number 13 proved unlucky for him.

The BJP emerged as the single largest party in the 1996 Lok Sabha polls. The then president Shankar Dayal Sharma invited Vajpayee to form the government and he was sworn in as the 10th Prime Minister of India.

But the BJP failed to garner enough support from other parties to obtain a majority and Vajpayee resigned after 13 days. He submitted his resignation to the President after delivering a stirring speech in Parliament.

The two United Front governments that was formed after Vajpayee resigned could not last their full term and fell between 1996 and 1998. The Parliament was dissolved and fresh elections were held.
The 1998 Lok Sabha polls again saw BJP emerge as the single largest party. This time around a coalition was formed led by BJP and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came into being. Vajpayee was once again sworn in as the PM.

The NDA proved its majority in House but this government lasted for 13 months. It fell in mid-1999 when the AIADMK under J Jayalalitha withdrew its support to the Vajpayee led government which lost the vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha by a single vote.
However, the Opposition was also not able to come up with the numbers to form an alternate government and so the Lok Sabha was once again dissolved.

When fresh elections were held, the NDA came back with an absolute majority and Vajpayee became the PM for the third time. His government lasted till 2004, completing full term of five years, the first non-Congress government to have done so.

First Published: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 23:10

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