V. P. Singh, a former prime minister of India who was considered the father of coalition politics there and who stirred controversy by championing the rights of the country’s poorest citizens, died on Thursday in New Delhi. He was 77.
Having broken with Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the wake of a scandal, he united the entire spectrum of parties against the Congress Party of Mr. Gandhi under one umbrella and forged the National Front, with additional support from the Bharatiya Janata Party and left-wing parties. The National Front came to power after defeating the Congress Party in the 1989 general elections.
On Dec. 2, 1989, Mr. Singh became the 10th prime minister of India. He gained wide notoriety by moving to carry out the long-forgotten Bindheshwari Prasad Mandal Commission recommendations to reserve a fixed number of all the jobs in the public sector for the historically disadvantaged members of the lower and backward classes.