Deputy Prime Ministers of India

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The Deputy Prime Minister of India is a senior member of the Union Council of Ministers who assists the Prime Minister in governance, decision making and represents the nation in various capacities (portfolio). Although the post has no defined constitutional role, it still holds importance in the structure of the government.

Since India gained independence on August 15, 1947, there have been 7 Deputy Prime Ministers of India. There is no Deputy Prime Minister in the current government and the post is vacant since 23 May 2004.

List of Deputy Prime Ministers

Deputy Prime Ministers of IndiaTenurePrime Minister
Sardar Patel1947–1950Jawaharlal Nehru
Morarji Desai1967–1969Indira Gandhi
Charan Singh and Jagjivan Ram (jointly)1979–1979Morarji Desai
Y. B. Chavan1979–1980Chaudhary Charan Singh
Devi Lal1989–1990V.P. Singh
Devi Lal1990–1991Chandra Shekhar
L. K. Advani2002–2004Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was an Indian Independence nationalist and Barrister who served as the first deputy Prime Minister of India. His tenure lasted from August 15, 1947 to December 15, 1950. He was often referred to as the “Iron Man of India”, was a prominent leader of the Indian independence movement. In the year 1991, the Government of India honored him with ‘Bharat Ratna’ in recognition of his contribution. 31 October is celebrated as National Unity Day on his birth anniversary to commemorate his contribution in the integration of the nation.

Morarji Desai

Morarji Desai (29 February 1896 – 10 April 1995) became the second Deputy Prime Minister of the country, who later became the Prime Minister of India. He was the Deputy Prime Minister from 13 March 1967 to 19 July 1969 during the government of Indira Gandhi. He held many important posts such as the 4th Prime Minister of India (1977-79), Chief Minister of Bombay State, Home Minister, and Finance Minister. Morarji Desai was awarded India’s highest civilian honor ‘Bharat Ratna’ as well as Pakistan’s highest honor ‘Nishan-e-Pakistan’. He was the first Indian to receive the ‘Nishan-e-Pakistan’ honor. 

Chaudhary Charan Singh

Two Deputy Prime Ministers were made for the first time in India when the Janata Party government was formed for the first time in the country. One of them was Jagjivan Ram, the other was Chaudhary Charan Singh. He entered politics as part of the Indian Independence Movement motivated by Mahatma Gandhi. Chaudhary Charan Singh’s tenure lasted from January 24, 1979 to July 28, 1979. On July 28, 1979, with the support of Congress (I), he became the 5th Prime Minister of the country. Charan Singh was the only Prime Minister who never faced the Parliament. 

Jagjivan Ram

Jagjivan Ram, popularly known as “Babu Jagjivan Ram” was the Deputy Prime Minister of India in the government of Chaudhary Charan Singh as well as Morarji Desai. He was the first Dalit Deputy Prime Minister. Apart from being a politician, Babu Jagjivan was also a freedom fighter and a member of the Constituent Assembly. He played a major role in the foundation of the All India Depressed Classes League, an organization dedicated to attain equality for untouchables in 1935. After being elected to Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1937, he organized the rural labour movement.

Yashwantrao Chavan 

Yashwantrao Chavan (12 March 1913 – 25 November 1984), also known as Y.V. Chavan was the 5th person to become the Deputy Prime Minister of India. When Chaudhary Charan Singh became the Prime Minister of the country in 1979, he appointed Y.V. Chavan as Deputy Prime Minister in his government. Yashwantrao Chavan’s tenure as Deputy Prime Minister lasted from August 28, 1979 to January 14, 1980. He holds the record of being the only Maharashtrian leader who held the four most important portfolios in the Union government. They are Home, External Affairs, Defence and Finance.

Devi Lal

Chaudhary Devi Lal (25 September 1914 – 6 April 2001) served as the sixth Deputy Prime Minister of India. He is the only person who held the post of Deputy Prime Minister twice. For the first time in V.P. Singh government and for the second time during Chandrashekhar’s tenure as Prime Minister. He was born in Teja Kheda village of Sirsa district of present-day Haryana. His mother’s name was Shugna Devi and father’s name was Lekhram Sihag. Devi Lal (full name: Devi Lal Dayal) emerged as a farmer leader from the state of Haryana and served as the Chief Minister of Haryana from 1977 to 1979 and again from 1987 to 1989. He was the founder of the Indian National Lok Dal. He was popularly known as ‘Tau’.

L. K. Advani

Lal Krishna Advani became the seventh and last Deputy Prime Minister of India. His tenure as Deputy Prime Minister was from June 29, 2002 to May 22, 2004. When the NDA government was formed under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Advani took over the responsibility of Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. Lal Krishna Advani was born in Karachi, present-day Pakistan, to parents Kishan Chand and Gyanidevi Advani.

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