In India’s political framework, the Prime Minister plays a pivotal role as the head of the cabinet and leader of the ministers. As per Article 75 of the Indian Constitution, the President of India appoints the Prime Minister, and the powers and authority of the Prime Minister, as laid out in Article 78, are constitutionally defined. The Prime Minister holds the foremost executive powers in the government, while the President primarily serves as a symbolic head of the state. This includes the Prime Minister’s responsibility for setting parliamentary meeting schedules and organizing agendas for Parliament sessions. Moreover, the Prime Minister holds the decisive authority regarding the proroguing or dissolution of the house. Additionally, the Prime Minister serves as the government’s chief spokesperson, conveying and announcing key government policies and addressing inquiries related to these policies.
List of Prime Ministers of India from 1947-2023
Here, we present the comprehensive list of Prime Ministers of India, spanning from the country’s independence in 1947 up to the present day.
Prime Minister of India: Narendra Damodardas Modi (2014-Incumbent)
Narendra Damodardas Modi, the 15th Prime Minister of India, is a member of the BJP and was re-elected in 2019. He has made significant policy changes during his tenure, such as abolishing the Planning Commission and establishing NITI Aayog for long-term policy planning. Prior to becoming Prime Minister, he served as the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Prime Minister of India: Manmohan Singh (2004-2014)
Dr. Manmohan Singh, the 13th Prime Minister of India, became the first Sikh Prime Minister of Independent India in 2004. He was re-elected in the 2009 general election and completed a full five-year term, making him one of the few to do so after Jawaharlal Nehru.
Prime Minister of India: Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1996, 1998-99, 1999-2004)
Atal Bihari Vajpayee served as the Prime Minister of India, first in 1996 and then in two subsequent terms until 2004. His tenure included significant events, such as the Pokhran-2 nuclear test in 1998.
Prime Minister of India: Inder Kumar Gujral (1997-1998)
Inder Kumar Gujral, the 12th Prime Minister of India, had a rich history in the Indian freedom struggle, including participation in the Quit India Movement led by Mahatma Gandhi. He was a member of both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.
Prime Minister of India: H.D. Deve Gowda (1996-1997)
Haradanahalli Doddegowda Deve Gowda became the 11th Prime Minister of India. He also held the office of Karnataka’s Chief Minister from 1994 to 1996.
Prime Minister of India: P.V. Narasimha Rao (1991-1996)
P.V. Narasimha Rao was the 9th Prime Minister of India, serving from 1991 to 1996. He hailed from the southern part of the country and held office for five years.
Prime Minister of India: Chandra Shekhar (1990-1991)
Chandra Shekhar served as Prime Minister for less than a year in 1990.
Prime Minister of India: V.P. Singh (1989-1990)
Vishwanath Pratap Singh, the seventh Prime Minister of India, took office in 1989 but had a brief tenure of less than a year.
Prime Minister of India: Rajiv Gandhi (1984-89)
Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister of India in 1984 after the tragic assassination of his mother, Indira Gandhi. He, too, met a tragic end when he was assassinated by an LTTE suicide bomber during the 1991 election campaign.
Prime Minister of India: Chaudhary Charan Singh (1979-80)
Chaudhary Charan Singh, the fifth Prime Minister of India, championed the rights of peasants and hailed from a humble background in Uttar Pradesh.
Prime Minister of India: Morarji Desai (1977-79)
Morarji Desai, a member of the Janata Party, became the Prime Minister in 1977, marking the first time a non-Congress Prime Minister held the position.
First Female Prime Minister of India: Indira Gandhi (1966-1977, 1980-1984)
Indira Gandhi, the 3rd Prime Minister of India, was the first woman to hold the position. She led the nation through challenging times, including the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. Her tenure was marked by both triumph and tragedy, as she was assassinated in 1984.
Prime Minister of India: Gulzarilal Nanda (1964, 1966)
Gulzarilal Nanda served as the acting Prime Minister of India for brief periods in 1964 and 1966 following the deaths of Lal Bahadur Shastri and Jawaharlal Nehru.
Second Prime Minister of India: Lal Bahadur Shastri (1964-1966)
Lal Bahadur Shastri assumed the position of Prime Minister in 1964. He led the country during the India-Pakistan war in 1965, which culminated in the Tashkent Agreement in 1966.
First Prime Minister of India: Jawaharlal Nehru (1947-1964)
Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, held office from 1947 until his passing in 1964. He played a vital role in the Indian Independence Movement and in shaping the nation’s early years.
How Prime Minister is Elected in India?
The election of the Prime Minister in India involves several important criteria:
- The candidate must be a citizen of India.
- The candidate should be a member of either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha.
- If a candidate is a member of the Lok Sabha, they must be at least 25 years old. If a candidate is a member of the Rajya Sabha, they must be 30 years of age.
- The President appoints a person as Prime Minister who is a member of neither of the Parliamentary Houses.
- The candidate must be a member of the political party or coalition with the majority of votes in the Lok Sabha.
- The selected candidate must not hold any office of profit under the Indian government or any other state government.
- The candidate should not have any criminal charges proven in any Indian court of justice.
Role of the Prime Minister
The Prime Minister in India plays several crucial roles:
- Advising the President on the appointment of the council of ministers.
- Initially, the Prime Minister’s term is for five years, but they can remain in power as long as they have majority support in the Lok Sabha.
- Conducting and presiding over Cabinet meetings and proceedings.
- Distributing various ministerial portfolios, including defense, home affairs, finance, railways, agriculture, law, and justice.
- The Prime Minister has the authority to change the departments allotted to ministers at any time.
- As the nation’s chief executive, the Prime Minister is responsible for taking necessary steps in all sectors of the country’s governance.
These Prime Ministers have shaped the course of India’s history, each leaving their unique mark on the nation’s development and progress.