Politics

Prime Ministers Of India Through History

The Prime Minister of India is the nation's chief executive, and typically a leader of the majority party controlling the Lok Sabha.

The Indian nation is the second most populous in the world, and a country with a multi-party democratic government. There are six recognized national parties and 40 regional parties in the country. The major parties include India National Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party which are considered center-left and right-wing in India’s political culture. The federal government of India comprises of three branches, the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. The prime minister who is appointed by the president is also the head of government. Some of the most notable prime ministers who have served the people of India through history are looked at below.

Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru was a key figure in the politics of India. Born in 1889, he became the first prime minister of India on August 15, 1947, and served until his death on May 27, 1964. Jawaharlal Nehru was also a paramount leader of the Indians Independent Movement where he played a significant role in the fight for independence. After the setting up of the India’s constitution in 1950, he concentrated economic programs and socio-political reforms. He oversaw the transition of India from a colony to republic, nurtured multi-party democracy, and played a key role in Non-Alignment by considering the country as very important in South Asia. Through his leadership, the ICP dominated the country’s politics winning three consecutive elections in 1951, 1957, and 1962. Despite the political crisis during his later years, he is still celebrated in the country. Children’s day is celebrated in his honor in India.

Lal Bahadur Shastri

Lal Bahadur Shastri was selected to be the successor to Nehru on June 9, 1964, and served as the second Prime Minister of India until January 11, 1966. He was a loyal follower of Nehru and even served as one of his principal lieutenants. Lal Bahadur Shastri was appointed by the Congress's President, K. Kamaraj, because of his adherence to Nehruvian socialism. As the PM of India, he continued with most of his predecessor’s policies including Non-Alignment and socialism. His slogan in the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War, “Hail the soldier, Hail the farmer”, became a source of motivation for his fighting troops. He promoted the Green Revolution as one of his economic policies which promote the country’s food production. He died on January 11, 1966, a day after the end of Indo-Pakistan War.

Indira Gandhi

Indira Gandhi was the first, and as of yet the only, female Prime Minister to have served the Republic of India. She was a central figure in the Congress Party. She was the only child of the first PM, Nehru. She was appointed the PM after the death of Shastri and served between 1966 and 1977 and again between 1980 and 1984 becoming the longest PM to have served the country. She was a ruthless politician and mostly centralized power. She again led India to war with Pakistan where India won. She also presided over the state of emergency and ruled with a degree between 1975 and 1977. She was assassinated by her bodyguard in 1984.

Other notable Prime Ministers in India’s history have included Morarji Desai, Charan Singh, Rajiv Gandhi, V. P. Singh, and Chandra Shekhar, among others. The country has been served by 13 former Prime Ministers. Narendra Modi, the 14th Prime Minister, was appointed in 2014.

Prime Ministers Of India Through History

Prime Ministers of India Term(s) in Office
Jawaharlal Nehru 1947-1964
Lal Bahadur Shastri 1964-1966
Indira Gandhi 1966-1977; 1980-1984
Morarji Desai 1977-1979
Charan Singh 1979-1980
Rajiv Gandhi 1984-1989
V. P. Singh 1989-1990
Chandra Shekhar
1990-1991
P. V. Narasimha Rao
1991-1996
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
1996; 1998-2004
H. D. Deve Gowda
1996-1997
Inder Kumar Gujral
1997-1998
Manmohan Singh
2004-2014
Narendra Modi
2014-Present

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