V. V. Giri

V V Giri
V V Giri

Varahagiri Venkata Giri (10 August 1894 – 23 June 1980), commonly known as V. V. Giri, was the fourth President of the Republic of India from 24 August 1969 to 24 August 1974.

As President, Giri subordinated the office of the President to the Prime Minister and came to be known as a “Rubber Stamp President”.

Giri was born in Berhampur in the Ganjam district of Odisha, into a Telugu Brahmin family. His father, V. V. Jogayya Pantulu, was a successful lawyer and political activist of the Indian National Congress. Giri’s mother Subhadramma was active in the national movement in Berhampur during the Non Cooperation and Civil Disobedience Movements and was arrested for leading a strike for prohibition during the Civil Disobedience Movement.

Between 1947 – 1951, Giri served as India’s first High Commissioner to Ceylon. In the General Elections of 1951, he was elected to the 1st Lok Sabha from Pathapatnam Lok Sabha Constituency in the Madras State. On being elected to Parliament, Giri was appointed Minister of Labour in 1952. His policy initiatives as minister gave rise to the Giri Approach in industrial dispute resolution.  Between 1957-1967, Giri served as governor of Uttar Pradesh (1957–1960), Kerala (1960–1965) and Karnataka (1965–1967).

Giri was sworn in as the second Governor of Kerala on 1 July 1960. As Governor, Giri’s active voicing of Kerala’s fiscal needs with the Planning Commission led to the state being allocated significantly more funds in the Third Five Year Plan.

Giri was elected the third Vice President of India on 13 May 1967, a post he held for nearly two years till 3 May 1969. Giri was the first Vice President to not complete his full term in office on account of being elevated to the office of the President and was the third Vice President to be elected to the Presidency.

Following the death in office of President Zakir Hussain on 3 May 1969, Giri was sworn in as acting President the same day. Giri resigned from his post on 20 July 1969 to contest the Presidential elections as an independent candidate. Immediately before resigning, Giri, in his capacity as Acting President, promulgated an ordinance that nationalised 14 banks and insurance companies. After the end of his term, Giri was honoured with the Bharat Ratna. Giri died in 1980.

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