• 13 June 2024

In-Depth Analysis of India’s Most Successful Prime Ministers

Aug 14, 2023

As India celebrates its 77th Independence Day, we reflect upon the transformative journey led by its illustrious Prime Ministers of India. From Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to Narendra Modi, these leaders have left an indelible mark on the nation’s history. Join us in delving into the remarkable accomplishments of each Prime Minister during their tenure, shaping India’s growth and progress over the decades. Moreover, explore pivotal milestones shaping India’s current status and gain insights into visionary leadership guiding towards a promising future.

With Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as the first Prime Minister, India has been led by around 15 Prime Ministers since then. This article aims to highlight the leaders’ achievements during their terms in office.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (1947-1964):

  • Longest-serving Prime Minister (17 years).
  • Established premier institutions like IITs, IIMs, and AIIMS.
  • Additionally, emphasized agricultural expansion, irrigation initiatives, and land reform efforts.
  • Contributed to economic recovery by increasing GDP and GNP by 4%.
  • Furthermore, tackled societal shifts, decriminalized caste-based bias, and championed women’s rights.
  • Promoted primary education accessibility.

Gulzarilal Nanda (1964, 1966):

  • Acted as Prime Minister for short periods.
  • Moreover, adeptly navigated post-conflict critical junctures.
  • Introduced labor reforms.

Lal Bahadur Shastri (1964-1966):

  • Coined the slogan “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War.
  • Initiated the Green Revolution.
  • Boosted dairy industry, leading to the 1970 Operation Flood.
  • Contributed to nuclear power and international relations through the Tashkent Agreement.

Indira Gandhi (1966-1977, 1980-1984):

  • First and only female Prime Minister.
  • Nationalized banks and reduced unemployment.
  • Championed equal pay for genders and strengthened national security.
  • Integrated Sikkim as an Indian state in 1975.

Morarji Desai (1977-1979):

  • First non-Congress Prime Minister.
  • Banned high denomination currency notes.
  • Initiated peace talks with Pakistan.

Charan Singh (1979-1980):

  • Focused on novel strategies for development.
  • Advocate for upliftment of backward classes.

Rajiv Gandhi (1984-1989):

  • Contributed to the IT revolution and economic reforms.
  • Improved international relations.
  • Introduced reforms in economic policies.

Vishwanath Pratap Singh (1989-1990):

  • Implemented the Mandal Commission.
  • Handled domestic controversies and curbed insurgency.

Chandra Shekhar Singh (1990-1991):

  • Short tenure due to political instability.
  • Contributed minimally.

P.V. Narasimha Rao (1991-1996):

  • Known as the “Father of Indian Economic Reforms.”
  • Managed economic crisis, abolished License Raj, and opened equity markets for foreign investments.
  • Boosted India’s nuclear program

Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1996, 1998-2004):

  • Led Pokhran II nuclear tests.
  • Encouraged private sector and foreign investments.
  • Implemented National Highway Development Project and Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan.

H.D. Deve Gowda (1996-1997):

  • Brief tenure, head of the United Front Government.
  • Limited contributions due to political instability.

I.K. Gujral (1997-1998):

  • Moreover, put into practice the Gujral Doctrine.
  • Served for a short duration.

Dr. Manmohan Singh (2004-2014):

  • Moreover, renowned for fostering economic reforms and robust GDP growth.
  • Additionally, introduced the National Rural Healthcare Mission and RTI Act.
  • Furthermore, enhanced diplomatic ties and international relations.

Narendra Modi (2014-Present):

  • Introduced Make In India and Digital India campaigns.
  • Furthermore, executed the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • Launched various welfare schemes like Pradhan Mantri Yojna and Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan.
Indian Prime Ministers

Poll Results and Modi’s Popularity

In the Mood of the Nation Poll 2019 conducted by the India Today Group, Narendra Modi emerged as the most popular prime minister according to polled Indians. Moreover, his popularity eclipsed that of former prime ministers such as Indira Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and Jawaharlal Nehru.

Narendra Modi was ranked as the best prime minister by 37% of polled Indians. This indicates a significant shift in public sentiment over the years, as Modi’s popularity has risen steadily compared to previous polls. The comparison with Indira Gandhi’s declining popularity showcases the changing landscape of Indian politics and leadership preferences.

Evolution of Public Opinion on Modi

Narendra Modi’s popularity trajectory has seen a remarkable transformation. In 2016, he secured 14% support as the best prime minister, but by 2017, this number surged to 33%. In contrast, Indira Gandhi’s popularity dipped from 26% to 17% during the same period.

Modi’s Leadership and Achievements

Additionally, Narendra Modi’s leadership has garnered extensive acclaim, positioning him as the top-rated prime minister. This surpasses the popularity of other eminent leaders like Indira Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and Jawaharlal Nehru. Furthermore, this widespread endorsement can be attributed to his policies, governing approach, and initiative outcomes. Contrasting his popularity with other iconic leaders accentuates his role as a transformative figure in Indian politics.

Analyzing Nehru and Modi’s Approaches

A comparative analysis between Nehru and Modi’s approaches reveals distinct shifts. While Nehru focused on protecting minority rights and preventing Hindu majoritarianism, Modi’s tenure has seen a departure from this approach towards a more inclusive discourse. Nehru’s approach to secularism generally emphasized safeguarding minority rights, even at the expense of absolute equality. Additionally, it sheds light on his stance towards promoting religious harmony. Moreover, his strategy underscored the importance of inclusivity within a diverse society. In contrast, Modi’s tenure has witnessed a shift towards embracing the plurality of Indic identities, fostering inclusivity, and breaking away from identity-based politics.

From Nehru’s “Idea of India” to Modi’s “New India”

Pandit JawaharLal Nehru Vs Narendra Modi

Furthermore, Narendra Modi’s “New India” vision marks a departure from Nehruvian ideals. His policies have reshaped India’s story, nurturing inclusivity and celebrating cultural diversity.

Voting of the best Prime Minister of India
Pic Credits : India Today

Prime Ministers of India and Years in Office

Prime Ministers of India and Years in Office


Prime Ministers of India

Prime Ministers of India and Their Key Achievements

  • Jawaharlal Nehru (1947 – 1964)
    • Longest-serving Prime Minister of India, with a tenure of 17 years.
    • Established premier institutions like IITs, IIMs, AIIMS.
    • Introduced agricultural reforms.
  • Indira Gandhi
    • Served as Prime Minister twice, from 1966 to 1977 and from 1980 to 1984.
    • Only female Prime Minister of India.
    • Awarded Bharat Ratna.
    • Nationalized banks, reduced unemployment, and strengthened international and domestic policies.
  • Gulzari Lal Nanda
    • Served as acting Prime Minister twice, in 1964 and 1966.
    • Brief tenures during critical times after the deaths of Nehru and Shastri.
    • Initiated labor reforms.
  • Morarji Desai
    • First non-Congress Prime Minister of India, serving from 1977 to 1979.
    • Oldest person to hold the Prime Minister’s office.
    • Banned currency notes worth Rs 1,000, Rs 5,000, and Rs 10,000.
    • Initiated peace talks with Pakistan.
  • Rajiv Gandhi
    • India’s youngest Prime Minister, serving from 1984 to 1989.
    • Contributed to India’s IT revolution.
    • Reduced license raj and introduced economic reforms.
    • Improved relations with both USA and USSR.
  • P.V. Narasimha Rao
    • First South Indian Prime Minister, serving from 1991 to 1996.
    • Key architect of economic reforms in 1991.
    • Managed India’s economic crisis.
    • Abolished License Raj and opened equity markets for foreign investments.
  • Atal Bihari Vajpayee
    • First non-Congress Prime Minister to complete a full term.
    • Conducted Pokhran-II nuclear tests.
    • Implemented National Highway Development Project and Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan.
  • Dr. Manmohan Singh
    • Served as Prime Minister from 2004 to 2014.
    • Implemented economic reforms, including the RTI Act.
    • Improved diplomatic relations and achieved high GDP growth.
  • Narendra Modi
    • Current Prime Minister since 2014.
    • Introduced initiatives like Make In India, Digital India, and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
    • Implemented Goods and Services Tax (GST) and other economic reforms.

Some Interesting Facts about India’s PM

  • Longest-serving Prime Minister of India
    • Jawaharlal Nehru (1947 – 1964)
  • India’s second-longest-serving Prime Minister
    • Indira Gandhi
  • Two times as acting Prime Minister
    • Gulzari Lal Nanda
  • The Bharat Ratna was awarded to the first Female Prime Minister
    • Indira Gandhi
  • First Prime Minister of India who was not a member of the Congress
    • Morarji Desai
  • The highest civilian honour in Pakistan was given to the Indian Prime Minister
    • Morarji Desai
  • India’s youngest Prime Minister
    • Rajiv Gandhi
  • First South Indian Prime Minister
    • P.V. Narasimha Rao
  • First Prime Minister of India who was a member of the Rajya Sabha
    • Indira Gandhi

Also, read https://thelogicalpie.com/understanding-the-communal-riots-in-india-a-timeline/blog/

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