List of Indian Prime Ministers who did not complete their tenure

We have a list that explains why some of our former Prime Ministers had to step down, leave, or act as interim PMs of India.

In India, the Prime Minister’s term is not a fixed term. He or  She holds the office during the President’s pleasure. However, the President cannot dismiss the Prime Minister at their whim. So long as the Prime Minister enjoys full Lok Sabha support, they cannot be dismissed by the President. Just for the record, a full term is about 5 years. Quite similar to the term in the Lok Sabha. However, if the Lok Sabha withdraws their support, they must resign or the President can oust them.


  • PM Gulzarilal Nanda – 27th May 1964 to 9th June 1964, first interim Prime Minister of India. An economist who aced in labor issues. Nanda took up twice the 13-day stints following the untimely deaths of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964 and Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966. He was a Bharat Ratna awardee, India’s highest civilian recognition, in 1997.


  • Lal Bahadur Shastri – 9th June 1964 to 11 January 1966 (1 year 216 days) He passionately promoted the White Revolution– an India-wide campaign to increase the production and supply of milk – by supporting the Amul milk co-operative of Anand, Gujarat, and established the National Dairy Development Board. Shastri also passionately promoted the Green Revolution in India in the year 1965. He was instrumental in the slogan of ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ whilst India was at war with Pakistan in 1965.


  • Morarji Desai – 24th March 1977 to 28th July 1979 (2 years 126 days) Senior citizen to become India’s Prime Minister from Janata Party to form the government (81 years old) and first to resign from office. Desai is remembered prominently for his peace activism and establishing peaceful engagements between India and Pakistan. Soon after India became Nuclear ready in 1974, Desai was instrumental in putting India on friendly terms with China and Pakistan. Pakistan honored him with their highest civilian award, the Nishan-e-Pakistan on 19 May 1990. India also awarded him with Bharat Ratna.


  • Charan Singh – 28th July 1979 to 14th January 1980 (170 days) Only PM who did not face the Parliament. Very peculiar turn of events when Charan Singh took the office of Prime Minister on 28 July 1979, the Indian Congress backed him and Yashwantrao Chavanof Congress was his Deputy Prime Minister. Right, when Singh wanted to show his majority support in Lok Sabha, Indira Gandhi decided to shock him by withdrawing her support for his government, and he stepped down on 20 August 1979, the only Prime Minister who has not faced parliament.


  • Vishwanath Pratap Singh Gaharwar – 2nd December 1989 to 10th November 1990 (343 days) First PM to step down after a vote of no confidence. Throughout his time as the PM of India, he orchestrated the Mandal Commission report of backward castes, which led to major violent protests against the Mandal Commission act. VP Singh also launched the 62nd Amendment and worked out the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Act in 1989.


  • Chandra Shekhar Singh Solanki – 10th November 1990 to 21st June 1991 (223 days), samaj wadi party candidate. First Prime Minister of India who never held any portfolio in the government. He could not pass a proper budget when Moody’s (financial institution) lowered India’s credit rating. This made World Bank and IMF vary in lending loans to India. He was highly criticized for this. However, on the international front, he let US Military planes refuel in Indian airports during the Gulf War gave him international recognition and applause.


  • Atal Bihari Vajpayee – 16th May to 1st June 1996 (16 days) first PM with the shortest tenure and the most beloved Prime Minister. He served thrice as the PM of India, the first term of 13 days in 1996, the second term of 13 months from 1998 to 1999, and finally a full term from 1999 to  2004. He was a poet and a writer. India led Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998. Vajpayee decided to improve diplomacy with Pakistan and went to Lahore by bus to meet with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. After the 1999 Kargil War with Pakistan, he sought to restore relations through engagement with President Pervez Musharraf, inviting him to India for a summit at Agra.


  • Haradanahalli Doddegowda Deve Gowda – 1st June 1996 to 21st April 1997 (324 days) Janata Dal candidate. He very smartly provided financial closure and was instrumental in the development of the Delhi Metro


  • Inder Kumar Gujral – 21st April 1997 to 19 March 1998 (332 days). He was an activist and the 12th PM of India. Gujral blocked his Fridays to meet with the general public. He donned many hats, like being the Minister of Information and Broadcasting during the emergency. In 1976, he was chosen as the Ambassador of India to the Soviet Union. In 1996, he became the Minister of External Affairs in the Deve Gowda ministry.