Chief Minister


Appointment of chief minister

The Constitution does not contain any specific procedure for the selection and appointment of the Chief Minister.

Article 164 only says that the Chief Minister shall be appointed by the governor. However, this does not imply that the governor is free to appoint any one as the Chief Minister.

According to the Indian Constitution, the elected head of the council of ministers in a state is the Chief Minister (CM).

Although, the Governor is the official ‘head of the state’, yet it is the Chief Minister who is vested with the ‘de facto’ executive powers.

Chief Minister is the real head of a state, unlike the Governor, who is the ceremonial head.

Since India has adopted the Westminster Model of constitutional democracy, it is the CM who oversees the day-to-day functioning of the state government.

According to the Indian Constitution, in the everyday administration, the CM is assisted by the council of ministers, which consists of cabinet ministers, deputy ministers and others.

The CM is appointed by and sworn in by the Governor.

 

Selection Process of Chief Minister—

The appointing authority is the governor, who suggests a vote of confidence procedurally in the state legislature, to establish the selection of the Chief Minister.

According to the Westminster model of parliamentary system that India follows, the Chief Minister is not elected directly by the people of a state.

The people only elect particular representatives from various constituencies in a state, as members of the state legislature or the Vidhan Sabha (MLAs).

These representatives, especially from the majority party which forms the government, then choose the Chief Minister from among them.

The term of the Chief Minister is not fixed and he holds office during the pleasure of the governor.

The tenure of the Chief Minister is for a period of five years, when the state legislative assembly is dissolved and fresh elections are held.

However, the tenure of the Chief Minister can be terminated by the governor before the period of five years, when the majority party loses the confidence vote in the state legislative assembly.

 

Term of Office—

The tenure of CM is for five years, when the state legislative assembly is dissolved and fresh elections are held in the Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly).

However, the tenure of the Chief Minister can be terminated by the governor before the period of five years, when the majority party/alliance loses the confidence vote in the state legislative assembly.

The Chief Minister can also resign from his or her post before the completion of the term.

There is no age for the retirement of the Chief Minister.

Although, the minimum age for becoming the Chief Minister is 25 years, there is no upper age limit till when he or she can serve the post of a Chief Minister.

Salary of Chief Minister—

The salary of Chief Minister of a state in India, like that of the prime minister of the country, is accompanied by a number of other allowances, besides the basic pay, such as constituency allowances, sumptuary allowances ( tax free) and daily allowances.

The salary of the CM is decided by the respective state legislatures in the country, as per Article 164 of the Indian Constitution. Thus it varies from one state to another.

 

Power and Authority of Chief Minister—

The powers and functions enjoyed by the Chief Minister are similar to those of the Prime Minister of India, within a restricted jurisdiction of a state.

Some of these are mentioned below:

The CM holds the executive powers of state government.

He/she has the power to form his council of ministers, choosing members of his party for particular ministries within the working of the state.

The core council of ministers is called the Cabinet, members of which are decided by the Chief Minister.

The various departments are allotted to various ministers by the CM.

Ministers are removed from their portfolios if the CM does not like his/her performance.

The CM is the link between the Governor and the council of ministers.

He is required to communicate to the Governor the workings of the various wings of the government.

Similarly, the advice and suggestions of the Governor are communicated to the council of ministers by the CM.

The CM has a pivotal role in the financial matters of a state, including the budget, basic infrastructural and developmental priorities of the state, financial planning and economic growth of the state and others.

The Chief Minister is the chief spokesperson of the government of a state.

All major decisions in the state are taken by the CM with the support of the council of ministers.

Since the CM is the ‘executive’ head of the state, the technological, infrastructural and socio-economic development rests solely within his/her duty and jurisdiction.

The state government is financially aided by the Centre, in terms of resources and materials.

The Chief Minister is the chairman of the State Planning Board.

He/she acts as a vice-chairman of the concerned zonal council by rotation, holding office for a period of one year at a time.

He/she is a member of the Inter-State Council and the National Development Council, both headed by the prime minister.

He/she is the crisis manager-in-chief at the political level during emergencies.

 

Interesting Facts about Chief Ministers—

[A] The first woman Chief Minister in the history of independent India was Sucheta Kriplani of the Indian National Congress (INC). She served the post of the CM of Uttar Pradesh from 1963 to 1967.

Nandini Satpathy governed Odisha as the CM from 1972 to 1976.

[B] The first Dalit Chief Minister of any Indian state was Mayawati of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Mayawati also had a significant record of being one of the longest-serving Chief Ministers of UP, being in office for a total of 2554 days.

[C] Jyoti Basu of the CPI (M) is the longest-serving Chief Minister of any state in India. He remained the CM of West Bengal from 1977 to 2000, being in power for 8539 days. It was under his regime that the historic land reform movement ‘Operation Barga’ was carried out throughout rural West Bengal, a model soon replicated in other parts of the country.

[D] Nadendla Bhaskara Rao has served the shortest-term as a Chief Minister. He remained the CM of Andhra Pradesh for a very brief period of only 31 days in 1984.

[E] In a more recent instance, Arvind Kejriwal of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) functioned as CM of Delhi only for 49 days, after which he resigned over the non-passage of anti-graft legislation, the Jan Lokpal Bill.

[F] The only female Chief Minister to lead her government for three consecutive terms in any state of independent India is Sheila Dikshit of the INC. Dikshit remained the CM of Delhi for a continuous term from 1998 to 2013.

[G] The first Chief Minister who died in office was C. N. Annadurai from Tamil Nadu.

[H] Janaki Ramachandran of AIADMK is the only woman Chief Minister to have remained in office for a mere term of 23 days.

[I] J. Jayalalitha of the AIADMK, the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, was a popular actress in the film industry, before she joined politics.

[J] Mamata Banerjee is the only leader who could oust the 34 years of Left Front rule in the state (West Bengal).

[K] The first Muslim woman to become the Chief Minister of any state in India is Syeda Anwara Taimur. A Congress leader, she remained CM of the north-eastern state of Assam, from December 1980 to June 1981.

 

The relationship between the governor and the Chief Minister—

Article 163—

There shall be a council of ministers with the Chief Minister as the head to aid and advise the governor on the exercise of his functions, except in so far as he is required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion.

Article 164—

[a] The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the governor and other ministers shall be appointed by the governor on the advice of the Chief Minister;

[b] The ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the governor; and

[c] The council of ministers shall be collectively responsible to the legislative assembly of the state.

Article 167—

It shall be the duty of the Chief Minister:

[a] to communicate to the governor of the state all decisions of the council of ministers relating to the administration of the affairs of the state and proposals for legislation;

[b] to furnish such information relating to the administration of the affairs of the state and proposals for legislation as the governor may call for ; and

[c] if the governor so requires, to submit for the consideration of the council of ministers any matter on which a decision has been taken by a minister but which has not been considered by the council.