Chief Minister

Appointment of chief minister

The Constitution provides no clear process for choosing the chief minister and appointing him. 

Article 164 merely specifies that the governor shall appoint the chief minister. 

It does not mean, however, that the governor is free to appoint anyone as chief minister. 

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

Although the Governor is the official head of the state, yet actual executive powers are vested in Chief Minister.

Governor is the nominal head.

Chief Minister is the real head.

Chief Minister controls the state government’s day-to-day functioning. 

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

The governor appoints the chief minister.


Selection Process of Chief Minister

Appointing Authority of the Chief Minister is the Governor.

The people of a state do not elect the Chief Minister directly.

The citizens elect only specific representatives from different constituencies in a state, as members of the state legislature or the Vidhan Sabha (MLAs). 

Those representatives then choose the chief minister from among them.

The Chief Minister’s term is not specified, and he assumes office during the Governor’s pleasure. 

The Chief Minister’s term is for a period of five years until the state legislature is dissolved and fresh elections are held.

Nonetheless, the Governor can terminate the Chief Minister’s tenure before 5 years after the majority party loses the confidence vote in the legislative assembly.


Term of Office

CM holds five years until the state assembly is abolished and fresh elections are conducted in the Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly).

Nonetheless, the governor can terminate the chief minister’s tenure before the five-year period when the majority party/alliance loses the confidence vote in the state legislative assembly.

The chief minister can even withdraw from his post before the term expires.

There’s no chief minister’s retirement age.

While the chief minister’s minimum age is 25 years, there is no upper age limit until he or she will fill a chief minister’s post.


Salary of Chief Minister

In accordance with Article 164 of the Indian Constitution, the salary of the CM is determined by the respective state legislatures.

It also differs between states.

In addition to basic pay, wages such as electoral allowances, sumptuous allowances (tax-free) and regular allowances shall be added to the salary of the Chief Minister of State in India.


Power and Authority of Chief Minister

The executive powers of the state government are vested in Chief Minister.

He/she has the power to form its ministerial council and appointing members of its party for different ministries within the functioning of the State.

The Central Ministerial Council is called the Cabinet, on which the Chief Minister determines.

Chief Minister assigns various departments to various ministers.

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

Chief Minister acts as the connecting link between the council of ministers and the Governor.

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

The Governor’s advice and recommendations shall be conveyed through the CM to the Council of Ministers.

The CM plays a key role in a state’s financial affairs, including the government’s budget, basic infrastructural and development goals, financial planning and economic growth of other states.

The chief minister is a state government’s official spokesman.

All major state decisions are made by the CM, with the approval of the ministerial council.

As the CM is the state’s’ executive’ leader, the advancement of technology, infrastructure, and socio-economic growth falls entirely within its responsibility and authority.

He/she 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

Sucheta Kriplani of the Indian National Congress (INC) was the first woman Chief Minister in independent India, serving from 1963 to 1967 (Uttar Pradesh).

Mayawati of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was the first Dalit Chief Minister of any Indian state, serving for 2554 days.

Jyoti Basu of the CPI (M) (West Bengal) is the longest-serving Chief Minister of any state in India. He held the office for 8539 days. Land reform movement ‘Operation Barga’ was carried out throughout rural West Bengal during his regime.

Nadendla Bhaskara Rao (Andhra Pradesh) has served the shortest-term as a Chief Minister.  He served the office for 31 days in 1984.

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.

The only female Chief Minister to lead her government for three consecutive terms in any state of independent India is Sheila Dikshit (CM od Delhi) of the INC.

CN. Annadurai from Tamil Nadu was the first Chief Minister who died in office.

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

The first Muslim woman to become the Chief Minister of any state in India is Syeda Anwara Taimur (Assam).

She served the office 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.