Prime Ministers of India 1947-Present

Narenda Modi Prime Ministers of India

A Timeline of Prime Ministers of India from 1947 to present day

In 1947 India gained independence from Britain and, after a three-year interim period, took control of its own government


Jawaharlal Nehru – 15th August 1947 – 27th May 1964
Indian National Congress
Nehru had been an prime supporter of independence for India and was leader of the Indian National Congress. He became first Prime Minister of after India gained independence in August 1947. For the first 3 years he was interim Prime Minister but then became full Prime Minister. Nehru led the mourning for Mahatma Gandhi who was assassinated in 1948. He won the 1957 and 1962 elections and died in office on 27th May 1964.
Lal Bahadur Shastri – 9th June 1964 – 11th January 1966
Indian National Congress
Became Prime Minister after being elected leader of the Indian National Congress. He led India through the 1965 war with Pakistan. He died while in office.
Indira Gandhi – 24th January 1966 – 24th March 1977
Indian National Congress
Indira, the daughter of first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, after being elected leader of the Indian National Congress. She is India’s only female Prime Minister. She supported East Pakistan which gained independence from Pakistan as Bangladesh. She called an election in 1977 to consolidate her rule.
Moraji Desai – 24th March 1977 – 28th July 1979
Janata Party
Desai became Prime Minister of India after winning the 1977 election. Divisions in the Janata Party forced Desai to resign as Prime Minister.
Charan Singh 28th July 1979 – 14th January 1980
Janata Party
Singh became Prime Minister after the resignation of Desai. He resigned after his government lost the support of the Indian National Congress.
Indira Gandhi – 14th January 1980 – 31st October 1984
Indian National Congress
Indira Gandhi returned as Prime Minister of India for the second time after winning the 1980 election. In June 1980, Gandhi’s son, Sanjay, who had entered politics, was killed in a plane crash. Indira Gandhi was assassinated on 31st October 1984 by two of her bodyguards. The assassination was in retaliation for Gandhi’s authorisation of Operation Bluestar, a military operation to remove militant religious leaders from the Golden Temple.
Rajiv Gandhi – 31st October 1984 – 2nd Decmeber 1989
Indian National Congress
Rajiv was the son of Indira Gandhi and he took over as Prime Minister following his mother’s assassination. His first task was to quell widespread rioting that took place following his mother’s death. His party won the December 1984 election but lost the 1989 election.
Vishwanath Pratap Singh – 2nd December 1989 – 10th November 1990
Janata Dal
Became Prime Minister after his party won the 1989 election. After less than a year in office he lost a vote of no confidence.
Chandra Shekhar – 10th November 1990 – 21st June 1991
Samajwadi Janata Party
Shekhar took over after the fall of Singh’s government. India was facing an economic crisis after creating a budget deficit. In May, the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi led to a surge in support for the Indian National Congress and he resigned on 6th March. He continued in office until elections could be held.
P.V. Narasimha Rao – 21st June 1991 – 16th May 1996
Indian National Congress
Rao became Prime Minister following the 1991 elections. His first task was to make reforms in order to deal with the economic crisis. He remained in office for the full five years.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee – 16th May 1996 – 1st June 1996
Bharatiya Janata Party
The 1996 election resulted in a hung parliament. Vajpayee initially became Prime Minister of a coalition government but resigned after 16 days because he lacked the support needed to do the job.
H. D. Deve Gowda 1st June 1996 – 21st April 1997
Janata Dal
After the resignation of Vajpayee, Gowda became head of the coalition government. He resigned in April 1997.
Inder Kumar Gujral – 21st April 1997 – 19th March 1998
Janata Dal
He became Prime Minister after the resignation of Gowda. Like his predecessor his term of office lasted less than a year.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee – 19th March 1998 – 22nd May 2004
Bharatiya Janata Party
Vajpayee became Prime Minister for the second time at the head of a coalition government following the 1998 election. Fresh elections were held in 1999 after the coalition broke up and he managed to form a majority government.
Manmohan Singh – 22nd May 2004 – 26th May 2014
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress won the most seats in the 2004 election and managed to form a majority government. Sonia Gandhi, widow of Rajiv Gandhi, was leader of the Indian National Congress but was prevented from becoming Prime Minister as she had been born in Italy. She recommended Manmohan Singh to be Prime Minister. He became the first Sikh Prime Minister. Singh succeeded in improving the economy until the global financial crisis of 2008. Despite the economic downturn Singh retained the premiership following the 2009 election to serve another five year term before losing the 2014 election.
Narendra Modi – 26th May 2014 – Present
Bharatiya Janata Party
Modi became Prime Minister after winning the 2014 election. He was re-elected in 2019 and remains in office.


Published May 25, 2020 @ 2:50 pm – Updated – [last-modified]

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2020). Prime Ministers of India 1947 – Present. Last accessed [date]


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