List of Prime Ministers of India
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politics and government of
The Prime Minister of India is the political leader of the country and the principal head of government of the Republic of India. As addressed to in the Constitution of India, the prime minister is the chief of government, chief advisor to the president, head of the Council of Ministers and the leader of the majority party in parliament. The office holder is responsible for nominating all other members of the government, chairing cabinet meetings. The office of Prime Minister was created immediately after the establishment of India, according to the Indian Independence Act, in 1947.[a] There have been 13 and one acting prime ministers since 1947. From Indian National Congress; six, Janata Dal; three and one from Janata Party, Janata Party (Secular), Samajwadi Janata Party, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have served at the post.
Jawaharlal Nehru was appointed the first Prime Minister of independent India by the Governor General in 1947. He served at the post till 27 May 1964 when he died in office, making him the longest serving Prime Minister of the country. Gulzarilal Nanda succeed him as the acting Prime Minister and served until elections. Lal Bahadur Shastri was selected as the second Prime Minister of the country on 9 June 1964 and the place was taken by Nanda as an acting Prime Minister again, when he died. Indira Gandhi assumed the office as the third Prime Minister on 24 January 1966 and served till 24 March 1977, making her the first female Prime Minister of India. Morarji Desai, the first Janata Party leader[b] and Charan Singh the first Janata Party (Secular)[c] leader served at the post chronologically until Gandhi was reelected for the post on 14 January 1980. She served at the position till 31 October 1984 when she was assassinated,[d] making her the country's second longest serving and the world's second longest serving female Prime Minister.
Rajiv Gandhi, son of the late Indira, succeeded his mother as the sixth prime minister on 31 October 1984. V. P. Singh, the first Janata Dal leader[e] and Chandra Shekhar, the first Samajwadi Janata Party[f][g] then occupied the post until the election of P. V. Narasimha Rao of the Indian National Congress in 1991. He was succeeded by Atal Bihari Vajpayee; the first Bharatiya Janata Party[h] leader to take the position 16 May 1996, however the government fell after 13 days as BJP was unable to get the support from other parties. H. D. Deve Gowda and Inder Kumar Gujral, both from Janata Dal served at the post chronologically forming the United Front until reelection of Vajpayee in 1998 who formed the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government for the first time. The government collapsed after thirteen months resulting in fresh polls in which Vajpayee was reelected for the third time. He served at the post till 22 May 2004 when Indian National Congress again came to power with Dr. Manmohan Singh assuming the post as the 13th Prime Minister, forming the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for the first time.[i] Singh continued as prime minister following the 2009 general elections, and governs with the support of the UPA.
Party of Prime Minister:
- No.: Incumbent number
- CM: Council of Ministers
- † Assassinated or died in office
- § Returned to office after a previous term
- RES Resigned
- NC Resigned following a no-confidence motion
|CM||Term of office||Elections
MP for Phulpur
|1952 (1st)||Indian National Congress|||
|Indo-Pakistani War of 1947; created Planning Commission of India and initiated Five-year plan to increase government investment in agriculture and industry; launched programmes to build irrigation canals, dams and spread the use of fertilizers to increase agricultural production; oversaw widespread poverty and unemployment, even with improvements in agriculture and infrastructure; oversaw establishment of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management; criminalised caste discrimination and increased the legal rights and social freedoms of women; pioneered the policy of non-alignment and co-founded the Non-Aligned Movement; Sino-Indian War; signed the Indus Waters Treaty; granted asylum to the Dalai Lama; oversaw liberation of Goa.He died in office (heart attack).|
MP for Sabarkantha
|– (3rd)||Indian National Congress|||
|Served as caretaker Prime Minister until the election of Lal Bahadur Shastri.|
|2||Lal Bahadur Shastri
MP for Allahabad
|– (3rd)||Indian National Congress|||
|Indo-Pakistani War of 1965; pushed for Green Revolution in India and Operation Flood; The National Dairy Development Board was formed; died in office from a heart attack at a summit in Tashkent.|
MP for Sabarkantha
|– (3rd)||Indian National Congress|||
|Served as caretaker Prime Minister once again, until Indira Gandhi was chosen as the new leader.|
MP for Rae Bareli
| – (3rd)
|Indian National Congress|||
|Nationalized banks; won the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, which resulted in the formation of Bangladesh; signed the Shimla Agreement; tested the first nuclear weapon with Smiling Buddha; initiated Green Revolution in India; imposed state of emergency 1975–1977.|
MP for Surat
|1977 (6th)||Janata Party|||
|Improved relations with Pakistan, China and the United States while reducing its dependence on the Soviet Union; launched Sixth Five-Year Plan, aiming to boost agricultural production and rural industries; the plan proved unsuccessful leading to resurging inflation, fuel shortages, unemployment and poverty; lost many MPs from Janata Party, including his rival Charan Singh due to internal power struggle in the party which led to his resignation.|
MP for Baghpat
|– (6th)||Janata Party (Secular)
with Indian National Congress
|Initiated informal high level diplomatic relations with Israel; lost support of Congress, which led to his resignation as Prime Minister only three weeks after he was sworn in and without sitting even one session in the Lok Sabha; continued as caretaker Prime Minister till the 1980 Parliamentary elections.|
MP for Medak
|1980 (7th)||Indian National Congress (Indira)|||
|Enhanced relations with the Soviet Union which had been undermined during the Janata Party regime; abrogated the failed Sixth Five-Year Plan and launched the Seventh Five-Year Plan; initiated cautious economic reform with Operation Forward in 1982; initiated Operation Blue Star to counter the Khalistan movement for a separate nation for Sikhs, the outcome of which subsequently led to her assassination on 31 October 1984 while still in office.|
MP for Amethi
|1984 (8th)||Indian National Congress|||
|1984 anti-Sikh riots; significantly reduced License Raj and initiated more economic reforms; expanded telecommunications and information technology in India; signed the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord; Bofors scandal; nullified the Supreme Court's judgement on the Shah Bano case.|
|7||V. P. Singh
MP for Fatehpur
|1989 (9th)||Janata Dal
|Negotiated terrorist kidnapping of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's daughter; visited Golden Temple to ask for forgiveness for Operation Blue Star; withdrew IPKF from Sri Lanka; initiated fixed quota/reservation for all public sector jobs for Other Backward Classes as per recommendation from Mandal Commission; Protests by upper caste students over the implementation of the Mandal Commission recommendations; Ram Janmabhoomi agitation and subsequent loss of vote of no confidence because of it.|
MP for Ballia
|– (9th)||Samajwadi Janata Party|||
|Resigned due to accusations of spying on former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, and subsequent withdrawal of Congress' support; Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.|
|9||P. V. Narasimha Rao
MP for Nandyal
|1991 (10th)||Indian National Congress|||
|Initiated the process of Economic liberalisation in India; SEBI Act 1992; establishment of formal diplomatic relations with Israel; Demolition of Babri Masjid; formation of National Stock Exchange of India; 1993 Bombay bombings; introduced TADA to prosecute anyone indulging in terror activities.|
|10||Atal Bihari Vajpayee
MP for Lucknow
|1996* (11th)||Bharatiya Janata Party|||
|*Hung parliament. Was in power for only 13 days, after BJP could not gather enough support from other parties to form a majority. Never sat a single session in the Lok Sabha.|
|11||H. D. Deve Gowda
MP (Rajya Sabha) for Karnataka
|1996* (11th)||Janata Dal
|*Hung parliament. After a failed attempt of forming a BJP government, Congress refused to form a government and instead supported a minority United Front coalition led by Janata Dal. President of China Jiang Zemin begins the first visit by a Chinese head of state to India;|
|12||Inder Kumar Gujral
MP (Rajya Sabha) for Bihar
|– (11th)||Janata Dal
|Fodder scam; Jain Commission; Gujral Doctrine.|
|(10)||Atal Bihari Vajpayee
MP for Lucknow
|1998 (12th)||Bharatiya Janata Party
(National Democratic Alliance)
|Pokhran nuclear tests; Imposition of US-led economic sanctions by many nations on India as a result of the test, which were subsequently lifted; resigned after losing a vote of confidence due to withdrawal of support from the AIADMK in 1999, but returned to power a few months later after the BJP-led NDA won the subsequent Parliamentary elections; Bus diplomacy in an attempt to improve relations with Pakistan; Kargil War; initiated more economic reforms and privatised a large number of public sector units; National Highway Development Project; Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana; expanding ties with Israel; improved relations with the United States; introduced POTA to strongly deal with terrorism; Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan; Bifurcation of the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh to form Uttaranchal, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh respectively; Agra summit; 2001 Indian Parliament attack and Operation Parakram; Indian Airlines Flight 814 hijack; 2002 Gujarat violence; establishment of the National Technical Research Organisation.|
|13||Dr. Manmohan Singh
MP (Rajya Sabha) for Assam
|Incumbent||2004 (14th)||Indian National Congress
(United Progressive Alliance)
|Continued the NDA government's policy of improving relations with the United States; Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement; won the 2008 Lok Sabha vote of confidence which was necessitated following the Left Front's withdrawal of support to the Congress-led UPA over the nuclear deal with the US; US $ 1 Trillion Economy milestone reached; continued the NDA government's policy of expanding ties with Israel; Economic crisis of 2008; National Rural Employment Guarantee Act; Right to Information Act; National Rural Health Mission; Introduction of Aadhaar scheme; 2008 Mumbai attacks and subsequent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act; 2010 Commonwealth Games and related controversies; 2G spectrum scam; Right to Education Act; Anna Hazare's Jan Lokpal agitation; Coalgate; brought in more economic reforms by approving FDI in single- and multi-brand retail as well as in aviation; Economic crisis of 2013, with the Indian rupee hitting an all time low of 68.80 against the US dollar and growth slowing to 4.4%; Food Security Bill; Announced the bifurcation of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh to form Telangana, which led to massive protests and unrest in the state.|
Living former Prime Ministers
As of November 2013[update], there are two living former Prime Ministers of India, the oldest being Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1996, 1998-2004, born 1924). The most recent former Prime Minister to die was I. K. Gujral (1997-1998), on 30 November 2012. Jawaharlal Nehru (1947-1964), Lal Bahadur Shastri (1964-1966) and Indira Gandhi (1966-1977, 1980-1984) were the only Prime Ministers to have died in office.
|Name||Term of office||Date of birth|
|H. D. Deve Gowda||1996-1997||18 May 1933|
|Atal Bihari Vajpayee||1996
|25 December 1924|
- The post of the Prime Minister of Pakistan was also created simultaneously.
- He was also the first leader from a party other than Indian National Congress to be selected for the post
- in coalition with Indian National Congress
- The assassination was considered to be a revenge of the Operation Blue Star.
- He also formed independent India's first multi-party government
- The party was formed by merging two parties; Janata Dal (Secular) and Janata Party.
- Supported by Indian National Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party; the only government which was supported by both the parties.
- Bharatiya Janta Party is currently one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Indian National Congress
- Dr. Manmohan Singh was elected as the Prime Minister, however, Sonia Gandhi serves as the chairperson of the UPA.
- There was some earlier debate as to whether Nanda was a Prime Minister or merely an acting Prime Minister, but constitutional experts and historians now agree that he should be regarded as the second Prime Minister of India and his title should not be qualified by the term "acting" (the Constitution does not have a position of acting Prime Minister). By contrast, the constitution does provide for an acting President, who discharges the duties of a President.
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