The president of India is the head of state of India and the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. The president is referred to as the first citizen of India.[1][2] Although vested with these powers by the Constitution of India, the position is largely a ceremonial one and executive powers are de facto exercised by the prime minister. [3]

The president is elected by the Electoral College composed of elected members of the parliament houses, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, and also members of the Vidhan Sabha, the state legislative assemblies.[2] Presidents 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.[2]

There have been 14 presidents of India since the post was established when India was declared as a republic with the adoption of the Indian constitution in 1950.[4] Apart from these fourteen, three acting presidents have also been in office for short periods of time. Varahagiri Venkata Giri became the acting president in 1969 after Zakir Husain, 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.[5] Rajendra Prasad, the first president of India, is the only person to have held office for two terms.[6]

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 Husain and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, have died in office. Their vice presidents served as acting presidents until a new president was elected. Following Zakir Husain's death, two acting presidents held office until the new president, V. V. Giri, was elected. When Giri resigned to take part in the presidential elections, he was succeeded by Mohammad Hidayatullah as acting president.[7] The 12th president, Pratibha Patil, is the first woman to hold the office, elected in 2007.[8]

On 25 July 2017, Ram Nath Kovind took office as the 14th president of India.[9][10]

Presidents by state of birth[11]
Presidents by state of birth[11]


Presidential Standard of India (1950–1971)

India achieved independence from the British on 15 August 1947, initially as a dominion within the Commonwealth of Nations with George VI as king, represented in the country by a governor-general


  Acting President (3)
  President Independent candidate (5)
  President was a candidate of Indian National Congress (INC) (7)
  President was a candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) (1)
  President was a candidate of the Janata Party (JP) (1)

Died in office-Died in office



  BJP   INC/INC(I)/INC(R) Indian National Congress (R)   JP

Portrait Tenure Elected Political affiliation

(at time of appointment)

Prime Minister
Took office Left office
1 Rajendra Prasad
26 January 1950 13 May 1962 1952
Indian National Congress Jawaharlal Nehru
2 Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
13 May 1962 13 May 1967 1962 Independent Jawaharlal Nehru
Gulzarilal Nanda
Lal Bahadur Shastri
Gulzarilal Nanda
Indira Gandhi
3 Zakir Husain
13 May 1967 3 May 1969
(died in office.)
1967 Independent Indira Gandhi
4 V. V. Giri
3 May 1969 20 July 1969 Independent Indira Gandhi
5 Mohammad Hidayatullah
20 July 1969 24 August 1969 Independent Indira Gandhi
(4) V. V. Giri
24 August 1969 24 August 1974 1969 Independent Indira Gandhi
6 Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed
24 August 1974 11 February 1977
(died in office.)
1974 Indian National Congress Indira Gandhi
7 B. D. Jatti
11 February 1977 25 July 1977
Indian National Congress Indira Gandhi

Morarji Desai

8 Neelam Sanjiva Reddy
25 July 1977 25 July 1982 1977 Janata Party Morarji Desai
Charan Singh
Indira Gandhi
9 Giani Zail Singh
25 July 1982 25 July 1987 1982 Indian National Congress Indira Gandhi
Rajiv Gandhi
10 R. Venkataraman
25 July 1987 25 July 1992 1987 Indian National Congress Rajiv Gandhi
VP Singh
Chandra Shekhar
PV Narasimha Rao
11 Shankar Dayal Sharma
25 July 1992 25 July 1997 1992 Indian National Congress PV Narasimha Rao
AB Vajpayee
HD Deve Gowda
IK Gujral
12 K. R. Narayanan
25 July 1997 25 July 2002 1997 Indian National Congress IK Gujral
AB Vajpayee
13 A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
25 July 2002 25 July 2007 2002 Independent AB Vajpayee
Manmohan Singh
14 Pratibha Patil
25 July 2007 25 July 2012 2007 Indian National Congress Manmohan Singh
15 Pranab Mukherjee
25 July 2012 25 July 2017 2012 Indian National Congress Manmohan Singh
Narendra Modi
16 Ram Nath Kovind
25 July 2017 Incumbent 2017 Bharatiya Janata Party Narendra Modi

See also


  1. ^ "President Ram Nath Kovind is Indias first citizen. Your chances begin only at Number 27". Times of India. Archived from the original on 30 July 2017. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "The Constitution of India". Ministry of Law and Justice of India. Archived from the original (.doc) on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  3. ^ "India gets first woman president since independence". BBC News. 25 July 2007. Archived from the original on 15 February 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
  4. ^ "1950: India becomes a republic". BBC News. 26 January 1950. Archived from the original on 17 January 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
  5. ^ "NDA vs Oppn: India might to witness tightest presidential poll since 1969". Hindustan Times. 26 April 2017. Archived from the original on 29 July 2017.
  6. ^ Harish Khare (6 December 2006). "Selecting the next Rashtrapati". The Hindu. India. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
  7. ^ Shekhar Iyer (25 June 2007). "Shekhawat will not resign to contest poll". Hindustan Times. India. Archived from the original on 11 January 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  8. ^ "First female president for India". BBC News. 21 July 2007. Archived from the original on 1 February 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2008.
  9. ^ Hebbar, Nistula (20 July 2017). "Ram Nath Kovind enters Rashtrapati Bhavan with big win". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 20 July 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  10. ^ The Hindu Net Desk (25 July 2017). "Ram Nath Kovind takes oath as President, Rajya Sabha discusses farmers' crisis – top stories for today". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Infographic: Which states India's Presidents have hailed from". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 4 December 2017. Retrieved 18 November 2017.