Prime Ministers of India

The Prime Minister heads the executive branch of the Government of India. In 1947, Jawahar Lal Nehru was appointed the first Prime Minister of India. Since then thirteen people — twelve male and one female — have held this office, for durations ranging from just thirteen days to over sixteen years. The current Prime Minister of India is Dr. Manmohan Singh. He leads the United Progressive Alliance in the Rajya Sabha and has been in office since 2004.

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I. K. Gujral JANATA DAL 21 Apr 1997 – 18 Mar 1998 1952 1957 1962 1967 1971 1977 2009 1980 1984 1989 1991 1996 1997 1999 2004 Jawahar Lal Nehru INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS 15 Aug 1947 – 27 May 1964 1947 2013 2009 1962 1992 1977 1992 Morarji Desai JANATA PARTY 24 Mar 1977 – 28 Jul 1979 Charan Singh JANATA PARTY (S) 28 Jul 1979 – 14 Jan 1980 Rajiv Gandhi INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS 31 Oct 1984 – 1 Dec 1989 Indira Gandhi INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS 24 Jan 1966 – 24 Mar 1977 Indira Gandhi INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS (I) 14 Jan 1980 – 31 Oct 1984 Chandra Shekhar SAMAJWADI JANATA PARTY 10 Nov 1990 – 21 Jun 1991 V. P. Singh JANATA DAL 2 Dec 1989 – 10 Nov 1990 P.V. Narsimha Rao INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS 21 Jun 1991 – 16 May 1996 Atal Bihari Vajpayee BHARATIYA JANATA PARTY 16 May 1996 – 1 Jun 1996 19 Mar 1998 – 22 May 2004 H.D. Deve Gowda JANATA DAL 1 Jun 1996 – 21 Apr 1997 Manmohan Singh INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS 22 May 2004 – till date Gulzarilal Nanda INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS 27 May 1964 – 9 Jun 1964 11 Jan 1966 – 24 Jan 1966 Lal Bahadur Shastri INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS 9 Jun 1964 – 11 Jan 1966
Number of PMs
Years of Rule
Even though half of the country’s PMs have been from parties other than the Indian National Congress, they have been in office for less than a quarter of the total time India has been free.
is the longest-lasting term served by a Prime Minister (Jawaharlal Nehru)
is the shortest term served by a Prime Minister (Gulzarilal Nanda)
is the longest-lasting term served by a Prime Minister not from the Congress Party (Atal Bihari Vajpayee)
For a little less than a quarter of the time, India has had a female Prime Minister — Indira Gandhi.
Prime Minister was assassinated while still in office (Indira Gandhi)
Prime Ministers lost a vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha (V.P. Singh & Atal Bihari Vajpayee)
Prime Ministers were re-elected while in office (Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Manmohan Singh)

Some notes:

— In the timeline, years in black are Lok Sabha election years, and correspond to the year in which elected Prime Ministers came to power. The timeline starts the term of each Prime Minister on the date they were sworn in.

— The Prime Minister with the shortest term is Gulzarilal Nanda. Even though Atal Bihari Vajpayee resigned after 13 days, he continued to serve for three more till the next Prime Minister was chosen.

— Indira Gandhi was the only Prime Minister assassinated in office. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated out of office while campaigning. The Indian National Congress had lost the previous elections.

— Only twice have governments fallen due to the loss of a vote of confidence. In all other cases the Prime Minister resigned when the coalition could not form a majority.


Data used here was obtained from the following:
Ramachandra Guha (2007). India after Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy. Picador. ISBN 9780330396103.
Penguin India Factfile, 2nd Edition (2008). Penguin Books. ISBN 9780143102472.

Further verification was done using: