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K. R. Narayanan

President of India

Died when: 85 years 13 days (1020 months)
Star Sign: Scorpio

 

K. R. Narayanan

Kocheril Raman Narayanan (27 October 1920 – 9 November 2005) was an Indian statesman, diplomat, academician and politician who served as the tenth president of India (1997–2002) and ninth vice president of India (1992–1997).

Born in Perumthanam, Uzhavoor village, in the princely state of Travancore (present day Kottayam district, Kerala), and after a brief stint with journalism and then studying political science at the London School of Economics with the assistance of a scholarship, Narayanan began his career in India as a member of the Indian Foreign Service in the Nehru administration.

He served as ambassador to Japan, United Kingdom, Thailand, Turkey, China and United States and was referred to by Nehru as "the best diplomat of the country".

He entered politics at Indira Gandhi's request and won three successive general elections to the Lok Sabha and served as a Minister of State in Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's cabinet.

Elected as vice president in 1992, Narayanan went on to become president in 1997.He was the first person from the Dalit community to hold either post.

Narayanan is regarded as an independent and assertive president who set several precedents and enlarged the scope of India's highest constitutional office.

He described himself as a "working president" who worked "within the four corners of the Constitution"; something midway between an "executive president" who has direct power and a "rubber-stamp president" who endorses government decisions without question or deliberation.

He used his discretionary powers as a president and deviated from convention and precedent in many situations, including – but not limited to – the appointment of the Prime Minister in a hung Parliament, in dismissing a state government and imposing President's rule there at the suggestion of the Union Cabinet, and during the Kargil conflict.

He presided over the golden jubilee celebrations of Indian independence and in the country's general election of 1998, he became the first Indian president to vote when in office, setting another new precedent.


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