New Delhi: When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hoists the national flag from the ramparts of Red Fort on Independence Day on Sunday, it will be a seven in a row for him with only Jawahar Lal Nehru and Indira Gandhi ahead of the economist-turned politician.
Singh will jump to the third position among all prime ministers who had the honour of hoisting the national tricolour at the historic Red Fort overtaking his predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Singh already has the distinction of having become the third longest serving premier in the country after Nehru and his daughter Indira.
Red Fort, a symbol of national integration has seen Nehru, the first Head of Government, unfurling the national flag 17 times, the most by any Indian Prime Minister. He is closely followed by Indira Gandhi in the second place getting the honour 16 times.
In the fourth place is Vajpayee, the BJP stalwart, who unfurled the tricolour six times. After the defeat of the National Democratic Alliance in 2004 general elections UPA came to power and Manmohan Singh took the oath as Prime Minister of India on May 22, 2004.
Since then Singh has hoisted the flag at Red Fort six times. This Independence Day would be the seventh time that Singh would be hoisting the National Flag putting him ahead of Vajpayee.
Vajpayee who led NDA from 19th March 1998 to May 22, 2004 unfurled the national flag continuously for six times at the Red Fort. He became the Prime Minister on May 16, 1996 also but could not continue in the office more than 14 days and had to resign on June 1, 1996.
Nehru hoisted the flag for the first time at the Red Fort after India became Independent of the British rule on August 15, 1947. After unfurling the flag, Nehru delivered his famous speech "Tryst with Destiny".
Nehru remained in office till May 27, 1964 and hoisted the flag continuously for 17 times. Indira Gandhi assumed office in 1966 till March 24, 1977 and again from January 14, 1980 to October 31, 1984.
In her first tenure, Gandhi hoisted the flag at Red Fort continuously for 11 times followed by five times in her second tenure. In the history of independent India, Gulzarilal Nanda and Chandrasekhar are the only two Prime Ministers who did not get a chance to hoist the flag at the ramparts of Red Fort.
After the death of Nehru, Gulzarilal Nanda took over as the Prime Minister on May 27, 1964 but he resigned on June 9 in the same year and he was replaced by Lal Bahadur Shastri.
Likewise, Chandrasekhar assumed Prime Minister's office on November 10, 1990 but he had to resign before the Independence Day of 1991 on June 21, 1991.
After the death of Lal Bahadur Shastri, Nanda remained in the office from January 11-24, 1966 to be replaced by Indira Gandhi.
Chaudhury Charan Singh, V P Singh, H D Deve Gowda and Inder Kumar Gujaral hoisted the flag onece each during their tenure as Prime Ministers.
Lal Bahadur Shastri and Morarji Desai got a chance twice each to unfurl the tricolour, while Rajiv Gandhi and P V Narasimha Rao did it five times each. Rajiv remained in office from October 31, 1984 to December 1, 1989 while Rao was in office from June 21, 1991 to May 10, 1996. PTI