The Prime Minister of India is the chief executive of the Government of India. Although the President of India is the constitutional, nominal, and ceremonial head of state, in practice and ordinarily, the executive authority is vested in the Prime Minister and their chosen Council of Ministers. The prime minister is the leader elected by the party with a majority in the lower house of the Indian parliament, the Lok Sabha, which is the main legislative body in the Republic of India. The prime minister and their cabinet are at all times responsible to the Lok Sabha. The prime minister can be a member of the Lok Sabha or of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the parliament. The prime minister ranks third in the order of precedence.
The prime minister is appointed by the President of India; however, the prime minister has to enjoy the confidence of the majority of Lok Sabha members, who are directly elected every five years, unless a prime minister resigns. The prime minister is the presiding member of the Council of Ministers of the Union government. The prime minister unilaterally controls the selection and dismissal of members of the Council; and allocation of posts to members within the government. This Council, which is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha as per Article 75(3), assists the President regarding the operations under the latter's powers; however, by the virtue of Article 74 of the Constitution, such 'aid and advice' tendered by the Council is binding.
Since 1947, India has had 14 prime ministers.[a] Jawaharlal Nehru was India's first prime minister, serving as prime minister of the Dominion of India from 15 August 1947 until 26 January 1950, and thereafter of the Republic of India until his death in May 1964. (India conducted its first post-independence general elections in 1952). Earlier, Nehru had served as prime minister of the Interim Government of India during the British Raj from 2 September 1946 until 14 August 1947, his party, the Indian National Congress having won the 1946 Indian provincial elections.) Nehru was succeeded by Lal Bahadur Shastri, whose 1 year 7-month term ended in his death in Tashkent, then in the USSR, where he had signed the Tashkent Declaration between India and Pakistan. Indira Gandhi, Nehru's daughter, succeeded Shastri in 1966 to become the country's first female prime minister. Eleven years later, her party the Indian National Congress lost the 1977 Indian general election to the Janata Party, whose leader Morarji Desai became the first non-Congress prime minister. After Desai resigned in 1979, his former associate Charan Singh briefly held office until the Congress won the 1980 Indian general election and Indira Gandhi returned as prime minister. Her second term as prime minister ended five years later on 31 October 1984, when she was assassinated by her bodyguards. Her son Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as India's youngest premier. Members of Nehru–Gandhi family have been prime minister for approximately 38 years.
After a general election loss, Rajiv Gandhi's five-year term ended; his former cabinet colleague, Vishwanath Pratap Singh of the Janata Dal, formed the year-long National Front coalition government in 1989. A seven-month interlude under prime minister Chandra Shekhar followed, after which the Congress party returned to power, forming the government under P. V. Narasimha Rao in June 1991, Rajiv Gandhi having been assassinated earlier that year. Rao's five-year term was succeeded by four short-lived governments—Atal Bihari Vajpayee from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for 13 days in 1996, a year each under United Front prime ministers H. D. Deve Gowda and Inder Kumar Gujral, and Vajpayee again for 19 months in 1998–99. In 1998, Vajpayee's National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won the general election, the first non-Congress alliance to do so, and he served a full five-year term as prime minister. The Congress, and its United Progressive Alliance won the general elections in 2004 and 2009, Manmohan Singh serving as prime minister between 2004 and 2014. The BJP won the 2014 Indian general election, and its parliamentary leader Narendra Modi formed the first non-Congress single party majority government. Modi has served as prime minister since, his party winning the 2014 Indian general election.
|BJP (2)[b] INC/INC(I)/INC(R) [c] (6+1 acting[d]) JD (3) JP (1) JP(S) (1) SJP(R) (1)|
(birth and death)
|Constituency||Term of office||Time in office||Lok Sabha[e]||Ministry||Appointed by||Party|
|Took office||Left office|
|Constituent Assembly member for United Provinces||15 August 1947||15 April 1952||16 years, 286 days||Constituent Assembly[f]||Nehru I||C. Rajagopalachari||Indian National Congress|
|Phulpur||15 April 1952||17 April 1957||1st||Nehru II|
|17 April 1957||2 April 1962||2nd||Nehru III|
|2 April 1962||27 May 1964†||3rd||Nehru IV|
|Sabarkantha||27 May 1964||9 June 1964||13 days||Nanda I||Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan|
|2||Lal Bahadur Shastri
|Allahabad||9 June 1964||11 January 1966†||1 year, 216 days||Shastri|
|Sabarkantha||11 January 1966||24 January 1966||13 days||Nanda I|
|Rajya Sabha MP for Uttar Pradesh||24 January 1966||4 March 1967||11 years, 59 days||Indira I|
|Rae Bareli||4 March 1967||15 March 1971||4th|
|15 March 1971||24 March 1977||5th||Indira II||V. V. Giri|
|Surat||24 March 1977||28 July 1979[RES]||2 years, 126 days||6th||Desai||B. D. Jatti
|Baghpat||28 July 1979||14 January 1980[RES]||170 days||Charan||Neelam Sanjiva Reddy||Janata Party (Secular)|
|Medak||14 January 1980[§]||31 October 1984†||4 years, 291 days||7th||Indira III||Indian National Congress (I)|
|Amethi||31 October 1984||31 December 1984||5 years, 32 days||Rajiv||Zail Singh|
|31 December 1984||2 December 1989||8th|
|7||Vishwanath Pratap Singh
|Fatehpur||2 December 1989||10 November 1990[NC]||343 days||9th||Vishwanath||R. Venkataraman||Janata Dal
|Ballia||10 November 1990||21 June 1991[RES]||223 days||Chandra Shekhar||Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya)|
|9||P. V. Narasimha Rao
|Nandyal||21 June 1991||16 May 1996||4 years, 330 days||10th||Rao||Indian National Congress (I)|
|10||Atal Bihari Vajpayee
|Lucknow||16 May 1996||1 June 1996[RES]||16 days||11th||Vajpayee I||Shankar Dayal Sharma||Bharatiya Janata Party|
|11||H. D. Deve Gowda
|Rajya Sabha MP for Karnataka||1 June 1996||21 April 1997[RES]||324 days||Deve Gowda||Janata Dal
|12||Inder Kumar Gujral
|Rajya Sabha MP for Bihar||21 April 1997||19 March 1998[RES]||332 days||Gujral|
|(10)||Atal Bihari Vajpayee
|Lucknow||19 March 1998[§]||13 October 1999[NC]||6 years, 64 days||12th||Vajpayee II||K. R. Narayanan||Bharatiya Janata Party
|13 October 1999||22 May 2004||13th||Vajpayee III|
|Rajya Sabha MP for Assam||22 May 2004||22 May 2009||10 years, 4 days||14th||Manmohan I||A. P. J. Abdul Kalam||Indian National Congress
|22 May 2009||26 May 2014||15th||Manmohan II||Pratibha Patil|
|Varanasi||26 May 2014||30 May 2019||8 years, 166 days||16th||Modi I||Pranab Mukherjee||Bharatiya Janata Party
|30 May 2019||Incumbent||17th||Modi II||Ram Nath Kovind|
|No.||Name||Party||Length of term|
|Longest continuous term||Total years of premiership|
|1||Jawaharlal Nehru||INC||16 years, 286 days||16 years, 286 days|
|2||Indira Gandhi||INC/INC(I)/INC(R)||11 years, 59 days||15 years, 350 days|
|3||Manmohan Singh||INC||10 years, 4 days||10 years, 4 days|
|4||Narendra Modi||BJP||8 years, 166 days||8 years, 166 days|
|5||Atal Bihari Vajpayee||BJP||6 years, 64 days||6 years, 80 days|
|6||Rajiv Gandhi||INC(I)||5 years, 32 days||5 years, 32 days|
|7||P. V. Narasimha Rao||INC(I)||4 years, 330 days||4 years, 330 days|
|8||Morarji Desai||JP||2 years, 126 days||2 years, 126 days|
|9||Lal Bahadur Shastri||INC||1 year, 216 days||1 year, 216 days|
|10||Vishwanath Pratap Singh||JD||343 days||343 days|
|11||Inder Kumar Gujral||JD||332 days||332 days|
|12||H. D. Deve Gowda||JD||324 days||324 days|
|13||Chandra Shekhar||SJP(R)||223 days||223 days|
|14||Charan Singh||JP(S)||170 days||170 days|
|Acting||Gulzarilal Nanda||INC||13 days||26 days|
|No.||Political party||Number of Prime ministers||Total years of holding PMO|
|1||INC/INC(I)/INC(R)||6 (+1 acting)||54 years, 123 days|
|2||BJP||2||14 years, 243 days|
|3||JD||3||2 years, 269 days|
|4||JP||1||2 years, 126 days|
The head of government is the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister is the head of government.
An elected President is the nominal head of state but exercises little power.
...The president is the constitutional head. (p. 185)
The President is the head of the Union of India
...the executive authority is vested in the prime minister and in their Council of Ministers. (p. 185)
Executive power, ordinarily, is exercised by Prime Minister.
... Like the British system, there are two houses of parliament – the Lok Sabha, which has 545 members, is the main legislative body. In practice, it is the party with a majority in the Lok Sabha which elects its leader as the Prime Minister.
Along with his or her cabinet, the Prime Minister is responsible to the Lower House of Parliament.
...Both for the Union and the states, a "cabinet-type" system of parliamentary government has been instituted in which the executive is continuously responsible to the legislature. (p. 185)