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FORMER CABINET ALLY WILL SUCCEED GANDHI AS INDIA’S PRIME MINISTER

SHARE FORMER CABINET ALLY WILL SUCCEED GANDHI AS INDIA’S PRIME MINISTER

Vishwanath Pratap Singh Friday was appointed India's new prime minister to succeed Rajiv Gandhi, his one-time ally who was defeated in bitter national elections last month.

President Ramaswamy Venkataraman named Singh prime minister, an hour after Singh was unanimously elected parliamentary leader of his centrist coalition.The United News of India news agency said Singh would be sworn in by Venkataraman on Saturday and given 30 days to prove his coalition has the support of a majority in Parliament.

Singh, 58, a former Gandhi Cabinet minister, campaigned in the elections against what he called the widespread corruption and ineptitude of Gandhi's Congress Party.

Singh's election to lead the National Front coalition did not come easily. There were last-minute conferences, a fistfight and allegations of skullduggery within the front, which is united by little more than antipathy toward Gandhi and his party.