Chandra Shekhar, a socialist, was sworn in as India's eighth prime minister Saturday. He will lead a country wracked by religious and caste violence with its weakest government ever.

Chandra Shekhar, 63, replaces V.P. Singh, who lost the prime minister's job after a Hindu right-wing party defected from his coalition government because of Singh's opposition to a project to tear down a Moslem mosque.Chandra Shekhar's government controls about 60 seats in the 522-member lower house of Parliament.

He will rely on the support of the Congress party, the largest in the house with 195 seats. Congress leader and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi refused to form a government or join Chandra Shekhar in a formal coalition.

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