NEW DELHI: After having been the longest serving chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi on Thursday edged past Atal Bihari Vajpayee to ink his name as the longest serving non-Congress prime minister of the country.
Overall, he is the fourth longest serving PM behind Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Manmohan Singh.
Vajpayee was earlier the longest serving prime minister from a non-Congress background. His three terms had logged in a total of 2,268 days, said the BJP IT department head Amit Malviya.
Vajapayee had two brief terms before completing the full term during 1999-2004, with the BJP cobbling up a large National Democratic Alliance, which consisted of a battery of socialist stalwarts, including George Fernandes, Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav.
Modi will unfurl the national flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Saturday for seventh time in a row.
Hailing the feat of Modi, BJP vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said that the most remarkable of his achievements include “ending cynicism about the political class and rulers, making democracy deliver and honestly ensuring genuine good governance”.
"Today, PM Sh @NarendraModi becomes the 4th longest serving Prime Minister in Indian history! He also becomes the longest serving Indian PM of non-Congress origin. Vajpayee ji served for 2268 days in all his terms combined. Today PM Modi has surpassed that tenure," Union minister Jitendra Singh tweeted on Thursday.
Singh is Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
Most of the prime ministers from the non-Congress ranks could not complete their terms except for Vajpayee and Modi on account of differences with their alliance partners.
Jawaharlal Nehru, the country's first prime minister who never headed a state government, served at the helm at the Centre for 16 years and 286 days.
Indira Gandhi comes third in the length of her tenure as an elected head of a government with a term of 15 years and 350 days as PM.
Like her father, she was also never a chief minister.
Though there have been several chief ministers, including Jyoti Basu of West Bengal and Pawan Kumar Chamling of Sikkim, who have served for a longer period as head of an elected government than Modi but they were never prime minister.
With the BJP's preeminent leader set to serve as prime minister for at least four more years, his record is likely to stay for a very long time, sources said.
(With PTI Inputs)