NEW DELHI, India, May 29, Reuter: Former Indian

Prime Minister Charan Singh, who led the country for six months in 19791980, died early today at the age of 85, his family announced.

Singh, who briefly headed the Janata (People’s) Party government until the return of Indira Gandhi’s Congress Party at general elections in January, 1980, had been in failing health since suffering a stroke in November, 1985.

The son of a peasant in India’s northern Uttar Pradesh state, he took part in the freedom struggle against British rule and after independence spent the rest of his life in state and national politics.

Singh was largely responsible for forging the non-Congress Janata alliance which defeated Mrs. Gandhi’s Congress at elections in 1977.

Ina bid to restore the alliance he took over as leader in July of that year at the age of 76, but his brief rule lasted only 24 days before he resigned in the face of certain defeat in a no confidence motion.

He then stayed on as caretaker until elections in January 1980 which swept Mrs. Gandhi back to power.

Article extracted from this publication >>  June 5, 1987