Chandra Shekhar who served as the eighth Prime Minister of India took charge at a difficult moment in India's history. The VP Singh government had just fallen in the aftermath of the post-Mandal Commission agitations and from November 1990 to June 1991 Chandra Shekhar headed a minority government of a breakaway faction of the Janata Dal with outside support from the Congress as a stop-gap arrangement to delay elections. Crucially the Indian economy was in a shambles with his government having to authorize the mortgaging of gold to avoid default of payment. Making matters worse Rajiv Gandhi pulled the rug from under its feet leading to its fall in just six months before his assassination in May 1991 that further plunged the country into uncertainty in the exacting general election season.
Chandra Shekhar's time in office was short but critical in laying the ground for the PV Narsimha Rao government and liberalization of the economy that would take place later that year. This book looks at the pivotal role that the strongman from Ballia Uttar Pradesh played in the transition of power at a decisive juncture and the lessons his tenure holds for the India of today.