List of Presidents of India
The President of India is the head of state and first citizen of India. The President is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces. Although the president is vested such powers by the constitution of India, the position is largely a ceremonial role and the executive powers are de facto exercised by the Cabinet Ministers and Prime Minister. The post of President is known in Hindi as Rashtrapati, a Sanskrit neologism meaning "lord of the realm". The President is elected by the Electoral College composed of elected members of the parliament houses, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, and also members of the Vidhan Sabha, the state legislative assemblies.
There have been 13 presidents of India since the introduction of the post in 1950. The post was established when India was declared as a republic with the adoption of the Indian constitution. Apart from these thirteen, three acting presidents have also been in office for short periods of time. Varahagiri Venkata Giri became Acting President of India in 1969 following the death of Zakir Hussain, who died in office. Giri was elected President a few months later. He remains the only person to have held office both as a president and acting president. The President may remain in office for a tenure of five years, as stated by article 56, part V, of the constitution of India. In the case where a president's term of office is terminated early or during the absence of the president, the vice president assumes office. By article 70 of part V, the parliament may decide how to discharge the functions of the president where this is not possible, or in any other unexpected contingency. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, is the only person to have held office for two terms.
Seven presidents have been members of a political party before being elected. Six of these were active party members of the Indian National Congress. The Janata Party has had one member, Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, who later became president. Two presidents, Zakir Hussain and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, have died in office. Their vice-presidents functioned as acting president until a new president was elected. Following Hussain's death, two acting presidents held office until the new president, Varahagiri Venkata Giri, was elected. Varahagiri Venkata Giri himself, Hussain's vice president, was the first acting president. When Giri resigned to take part in the presidential elections, he was superseded by Muhammad Hidayatullah as acting president. The current President is Pranab Mukherjee elected on 25 July 2012. Mukherjee held various posts in the cabinet ministry for the Government of India such as Finance Minister, Foreign Minister, Defence Minister and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission. He originally comes from West Bengal and is also the first Bengali to hold the post of the President. The ex- president, Pratibha Patil, who was in office till 25 July 2012, was elected as the 12th President of India in 2007. She is also the first woman to serve as President of India.
This list is numbered based on Presidents elected after winning an Indian Presidential election. The terms of Varahagiri Venkata Giri, Muhammad Hidayatullah, and Basappa Danappa Jatti, who have functioned as acting presidents, are therefore not numbered. The President of India does not represent any political party. The colours used in the table indicate the following:
- The symbol (*) with a light brown background indicates an Acting President of India.
|#||Name||Portrait||Took office||Left office||Vice President||Notes|
|1||Dr. Rajendra Prasad
|26 January 1950||12 May 1962||Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan||1952 election & 1957 election
Prasad, from Bihar, was the first President of independent India. He was also a freedom fighter during the Indian independence movement. Prasad was the only president to serve two terms in office.
|2||Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
|13 May 1962||13 May 1967||Dr. Zakir Hussain||1962 election
Radhakrishnan was a prominent philosopher, writer, a Knight of the Realm and also held the position of vice chancellor of the Andhra University and Banaras Hindu University. He was also made a Knight of the Golden Army of Angels by Pope Paul VI.
|3||Dr. Zakir Hussain
|13 May 1967||3 May 1969||Varahagiri Venkata Giri||1967 election
Hussain was vice chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University and a recipient of Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna. He died in office.
|Varahagiri Venkata Giri *
|3 May 1969||20 July 1969||Giri was appointed as Acting President of India following the death of Hussain. He resigned in a few months to take part in the presidential elections.|
|Mohammad Hidayatullah *
|20 July 1969||24 August 1969||Hidayatullah served as the Chief Justice of India, and was a recipient of the Order of the British Empire. He served as Acting President of India until the election of Giri as the President of India.|
|4||Varahagiri Venkata Giri
|24 August 1969||24 August 1974||Gopal Swarup Pathak||1969 election
Giri is the only person to have served as both an acting president and president of India. He was a recipient of the Bharat Ratna, and has functioned as Indian Minister of Labour and High Commissioner to Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
|5||Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed
|24 August 1974||11 February 1977||Basappa Danappa Jatti||1974 election
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed served as a Minister before being elected as president. He died in 1977 before his term of office ended, and was the second Indian president to die in office.
|Basappa Danappa Jatti *
|11 February 1977||25 July 1977||Jatti was the vice president of India during Ahmed's term of office, and was sworn in as Acting President of India upon Ahmed's death. He earlier functioned as the Chief Minister for the State of Mysore.|
|6||Neelam Sanjiva Reddy
|25 July 1977||25 July 1982||Muhammad Hidayatullah||1977 election
N.S.Reddy was the first Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh State. Reddy was the only Member of Parliament from the Janata Party to get elected from Andhra Pradesh. He was unanimously elected Speaker of the Lok Sabha on 26 March 1977 and relinquished this office on 13 July 1977 to become the 6th President of India.
|7||Giani Zail Singh
|25 July 1982||25 July 1987||Ramaswamy Venkataraman||1982 election
In March 1972, Singh assumed the position of chief Minister of Punjab, and in 1980, he became Union Home Minister.
|25 July 1987||25 July 1992||Shankar Dayal Sharma||1987 election
In 1942, Venkataraman was jailed by the British for his involvement in the Indian independence movement. After his release, he was elected to independent India’s Provisional Parliament as a member of the Congress Party in 1950 and eventually joined the central government, where he first served as Minister of Finance and Industry and later as Minister of Defence.
|9||Shankar Dayal Sharma
|25 July 1992||25 July 1997||Kocheril Raman Narayanan||1992 election
Sharma was Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, and the Indian Minister for Communications. He has also served as the governor of Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra.
|10||Kocheril Raman Narayanan
|25 July 1997||25 July 2002||Krishan Kant||1997 election
Narayanan served as India's ambassador to Thailand, Turkey, China and United States of America. He received doctorates in Science and Law and was also a chancellor in several universities. He was also the vice-chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University.
|11||Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
|25 July 2002||25 July 2007||Bhairon Singh Shekhawat||2002 election
Kalam is a scientist who played a leading role in the development of India's ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs. He also received the Bharat Ratna. Kalam was affectionately known as the People's President.
|25 July 2007||25 July 2012||Mohammad Hamid Ansari||2007 election
Patil is the first woman to become the President of India. She was also the first female Governor of Rajasthan.
|25 July 2012||Incumbent||Mohammad Hamid Ansari||2012 election
Mukherjee held various posts in the cabinet ministry for the Government of India such as Finance Minister, Foreign Minister, Defence Minister and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission.
Living Former or Present Presidents
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- The Hindu – A presidential poll in the coalition age
- Zee News: Former Presidents