NEW DELHI — Charan Singh, an independence leader who championed the cause of landless peasants and became India's fifth prime minister, died Friday after a long illness. He was 84.
Singh, who held several state and federal government posts during a career spanning 50 years, withdrew from political activity after a stroke in November, 1985, from which he never fully recovered.
Helped to Form Party
Popularly known as "Chaudhuri Saheb," Singh played a crucial role in the formation of the Janata Party and its victory over Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the 1977 general elections.
But as federal home minister, he developed serious differences with Prime Minister Morarji Desai that led to the breakup of the Janata government in 1979.