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List of Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu


List of Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu

The state of Tamil Nadu in India has an electorate of more than 70 million people (7 crores)[1]

The complete list of Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu consists of the heads of government in the history of the state of Tamil Nadu in India since 1920. The area under the present-day state of Tamil Nadu has been part of different territorial configurations under Madras Presidency and Madras State in its history.[2][3] The current Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu is J. Jayalalitha who started her term on 23 May 2015.[4]


  • List of Chief Ministers 1
    • Madras Presidency 1.1
    • Madras State 1.2
    • Tamil Nadu 1.3
  • Timeline 2
  • Records 3
  • Footnotes and References 4
  • See also 5

List of Chief Ministers

Madras Presidency

Madras Presidency in 1909, southern portion

The British India that comprised present day Tamil Nadu, the Malabar region of North Kerala, the coastal and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh, and the Bellary, Dakshina Kannada, and Udupi districts of Karnataka. It was established in 1653 to be the headquarters of the English settlements on the Coromandel Coast.

The territory under the presidency comprised only Madraspatnam and surrounding regions. But, after the Anglo-French wars and the consequent alliance between the English East India Company and the Nawab of Arcot, it was expanded to comprise the region from Northern Circars to Cape Comorin. Alongside, the governance structure also evolved from a modest secretariat with a single secretary for the Public Department in 1670 to six departments overseen by a Chief Secretary by 1920. With the enactment of Government of India Act 1919, the first legislature was formed in 1920 after general elections.[5] The term of the legislative council was three years. It had 132 members of whom 34 were nominated by the Governor and the rest were elected.

Under the Government of India Act 1935, a bicameral legislature was set up with a legislative assembly consisting of 215 members and a legislative council having 56 members. The first legislative assembly under this act was constituted in July 1937. The legislative council was a permanent body with a third of its members retiring every three years.[6]

In 1939, the British government declared India's entrance into World War II without consulting provincial governments. The Indian National Congress protested by asking all its elected representatives to resign from the governments.[7] Congress came back to power in 1946 after new provincial elections.[8]

#[9] Name Portrait Took office Left office Term[10] Political party Election
1 A. Subbarayalu Reddiar 17 December 1920 11 July 1921 1 Justice Party[11] 1920 Madras Legislative Council Election
2 Raja of Panagal 11 July 1921 11 September 1923 1 Justice Party[11]
3 Raja of Panagal 19 November 1923 3 December 1926 2 Justice Party[12][13][14] 1923 Madras Legislative Council Election
4 P. Subbarayan 4 December 1926 27 October 1930 1 Unaffiliated[11] 1926 Madras Legislative Council Election
5 B. Munuswamy Naidu 27 October 1930 4 November 1932 1 Justice Party[11] 1930 Madras Legislative Council Election
6 Ramakrishna Ranga Rao 5 November 1932 November 1934 1 Justice Party[11]
7 Ramakrishna Ranga Rao November 1934 4 April 1936 2 Justice Party[11] 1934 Madras Legislative Council Election
8 P. T. Rajan 4 April 1936 24 August 1936 1 Justice Party[11]
9 Ramakrishna Ranga Rao 24 August 1936 1 April 1937 3 Justice Party[11]
10 Kurma Venkata Reddy Naidu 1 April 1937 14 July 1937 1 Interim provisional ministry[15][16][17][18] 1937 Madras Legislative Assembly Election
11 C. Rajagopalachari 14 July 1937 29 October 1939 1 Indian National Congress
Governor's Rule[19] 29 October 1939 30 April 1946
12 Tanguturi Prakasam 30 April 1946 23 March 1947 1 Indian National Congress 1946 Madras Legislative Assembly Election
13 O. P. Ramaswamy Reddiyar 23 March 1947 6 April 1949 1 Indian National Congress
14 P. S. Kumaraswamy Raja 6 April 1949 26 January 1950 1 Indian National Congress

Madras State

Map of southern India showing the reorganisation of 1956

Madras State, precursor to the present day state of Tamil Nadu, was created after India became a republic on 26 January 1950.[20] It comprised present-day Tamil Nadu and parts of present-day Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. The first legislature of the Madras State to be elected on the basis of universal suffrage was constituted on 1 March 1952, after the general elections held in January 1952.[21]

The state was split up along linguistic lines in 1953, carving out Kerala, and Mysore were carved out of the Madras state. Under the implementation of the Andhra Pradesh and Madras Alteration of Boundaries Act, 1959, with effect from 1 April 1960, Tirutani taluk and Pallipattu sub-taluk of Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh were transferred to Madras State in exchange for territories from the Chingelput and Salem Districts.[5][22]

#[9] Name Portrait Took office Left office Term[10] Political party Election
1 P. S. Kumaraswamy Raja 26 January 1950 9 April 1952 1 Indian National Congress 1946 Madras Legislative Assembly Election
2 C. Rajagopalachari 10 April 1952 13 April 1954 2 Indian National Congress 1952 Madras Legislative Assembly Election
3 K. Kamaraj 13 April 1954 31 March 1957 1 Indian National Congress
4 K. Kamaraj 13 April 1957 1 March 1962 2 Indian National Congress 1957 Madras Legislative Assembly Election
5 K. Kamaraj 15 March 1962 2 October 1963 3 Indian National Congress 1962 Madras Legislative Assembly Election
6 M. Bakthavatsalam 2 October 1963 6 March 1967 1 Indian National Congress
7 C. N. Annadurai 6 March 1967 14 January 1969 1 DMK 1967 Madras Legislative Assembly election

Tamil Nadu

The political state of Tamil Nadu in India was created in 1969 when erstwhile Madras State was renamed

Madras State was renamed as Tamil Nadu (Tamil for Tamil country) on 14 January 1969.[20] The legislative assembly adopted a resolution on 14 May 1986, to abolish the legislative council. Thereafter, the legislative council was abolished through an act of Parliament named the Tamil Nadu Legislative Council (Abolition) Act, 1986[23] with effect from 1 November 1986. The state legislature is unicameral, and consists of 235 members including one nominated member.[6]

The Chief Minister commands most of the executive powers while the Governor has a largely ceremonial role. The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, like other Chief Ministers of India, is elected by legislators of the political party or the coalition which commands a simple majority in the legislative assembly. The tenure of the Chief Minister extends as long as he or she enjoys the confidence of the assembly. The incumbent shall vacate the office in the event of a successful motion of no confidence. Also, the President of India, acting under the recommendations of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Government of India, can dismiss an elected government using certain provisions of Article 356 of the Constitution of India. In 1976, Karunanidhi's government was dismissed and President's rule was imposed on the grounds of corruption.[24] If a vacancy is caused to the office of the Chief Minister due to death, demitting, or dismissal, the Governor can invite another person to form the government and request him or her to move a confidence-seeking motion in the Assembly. In the event of no one enjoying majority support, the Assembly is either dissolved or put in suspended animation and the state comes under President's rule or a caretaker government until fresh elections are held for the assembly. The incumbent shall be disqualified if convicted of a criminal offence with a jail sentence of two years or more. In 2014, Jayalalithaa lost her post due to a special court sentencing her to four years of prison term in the disproportionate assets case.[25]

#[9] Name Portrait Took office Left office Term[10] Political party[26] Election
1 C. N. Annadurai 14 January 1969 3 February 1969[27] 1 DMK 1967 State assembly election
2 V.R. Nedunchezhiyan (acting)[20] 3 February 1969 10 February 1969 1 DMK
3 M. Karunanidhi 10 February 1969 4 January 1971 1 DMK
4 M. Karunanidhi 15 March 1971 31 January 1976 2 DMK 1971 State assembly election
President's rule[20] 31 January 1976 30 June 1977
5 M. G. Ramachandran 30 June 1977 17 February 1980 1 AIADMK 1977 State assembly election
President's rule 17 February 1980 9 June 1980
6 M. G. Ramachandran 9 June 1980 15 November 1984 2 AIADMK 1980 State assembly election
7 M. G. Ramachandran 10 February 1985 24 December 1987 3 AIADMK 1984 State assembly election
8 V.R. Nedunchezhiyan (acting)[20] 24 December 1987 7 January 1988 2 AIADMK
9 Janaki Ramachandran 7 January 1988 30 January 1988 1 AIADMK
President's rule 30 January 1988 27 January 1989
10 M. Karunanidhi 27 January 1989 30 January 1991 3 DMK 1989 State assembly election
President's rule 30 January 1991 24 June 1991
11 J. Jayalalithaa 24 June 1991 12 May 1996 1 AIADMK 1991 State assembly election
12 M. Karunanidhi 13 May 1996 13 May 2001 4 DMK 1996 State assembly election
-[28] J. Jayalalithaa 14 May 2001 21 September 2001 -[28] AIADMK 2001 State assembly election
13 O. Panneerselvam 21 September 2001 1 March 2002 1 AIADMK
14 J. Jayalalithaa 2 March 2002 12 May 2006 2[28] AIADMK
15 M. Karunanidhi 13 May 2006 15 May 2011[29] 5[30] DMK 2006 State assembly election
16 J. Jayalalithaa 16 May 2011 27 September 2014[25] 3[31] AIADMK 2011 State assembly election
17 O. Panneerselvam 29 September 2014[32] 22 May 2015[33] 2 AIADMK
18 J. Jayalalithaa 23 May 2015[4] Incumbent 4 AIADMK



  • Ignoring an intervening President's rule from 17 February 1980 to 9 June 1980, the Chief Minister with the longest tenure (in successive terms) in office was M. G. Ramachandran, lasting 10 years, 5 months and 25 days from 30 June 1977 until his death on 24 December 1987.
  • K. Kamaraj was the Chief Minister with the longest tenure without intervening President's rules. His terms lasted from 13 April 1954 to 2 October 1963, i.e. 9 years, 5 months and 19 days.
  • The shortest period is 24 days by Janaki Ramachandran who held office from 7 January 1988 to 30 January 1988.
  • The person to have been appointed Chief Minister the maximum number of times is M. Karunanidhi. He is the only Chief Minister with 5 terms in office (10 February 1969 – 4 January 1971, 15 March 1971 – 31 January 1976, 27 January 1989 – 30 January 1991, 13 May 1996 – 13 May 2001, 13 May 2006 – 15 May 2011).
  • On 21 September 2001, the Supreme Court of India ruled that the appointment of Ms. Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister on 14 May 2001 was null and invalid, with retrospective effect. Therefore, technically, decisions of her cabinet during the period May–September 2001 in effect became legal fiction.
  • J. Jayalalithaa became the first incumbent Chief Minister to lose her post in a graft case when a special court sentenced her to four years of prison term on 27 September 2014.[25]

Footnotes and References

  1. ^ Mariappan, Julie (31 May 2013). "Tamil Nadu population rises to 7.2 crore in a decade". The Times of India. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  2. ^ — Government of Tamil Nadu — Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu since 1920
  3. ^ Government of Tamil Nadu — Assemblies — An Overview
  4. ^ a b "Jayalalitha sworn in as chief minister of Tamil Nadu". BBC News. 23 May 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Government of Tamil Nadu — Tamil Nadu Secretariat — Brief History
  6. ^ a b Legislative bodies of India - Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly
  7. ^ The Telegraph - Own Goal - Partition became inevitable once the Congress resigned in 1939
  8. ^ Pakistan - toward partition
  9. ^ a b c The colours indicate the political party affiliation of each Chief Minister.
  10. ^ a b c The ordinal number of the term being served by the person specified in the row in the corresponding period
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h World — Provinces of British India
  12. ^ Rajaraman, P. (1988). The Justice Party: a historical perspective, 1916-37. Poompozhil Publishers. pp. 212–220. 
  13. ^ Sundararajan, Saroja (1989). March to freedom in Madras Presidency, 1916-1947. Lalitha Publications. pp. 334–389.  
  14. ^ S. Krishnaswamy (1989). The role of Madras Legislature in the freedom struggle, 1861-1947. People's Pub. House (New Delhi). pp. 126–131. 
  15. ^ Though Congress won the election, it refused to form the government as it did not like the Governor's veto power over the cabinet. The Governor of Madras, Lord Erskine, decided to form an interim provisional Government with non-members and opposition members of the Legislative Assembly. V. S. Srinivasa Sastri was first offered the Chief Ministership of the interim government but he refused to accept it. Eventually an interim Government was formed under Kurma Venkata Reddy Naidu on 1 April 1937. It lasted till July, when the Congress accepted Viceroy Linlithgow's assurance that the veto would not be abused and decided to form the government.
  16. ^ Ramanathan, K. V. (2008). The Satyamurti letters: the Indian freedom struggle through the eyes of a parliamentarian, Volume 1. Pearson Education India. pp. 301–5. ISBN 81-317-1488-8, ISBN 978-81-317-1488-1. 
  17. ^ Menon, Visalakshi (2003). From movement to government: the Congress in the United Provinces, 1937-42. Sage. p. 75. ISBN 0-7619-9620-6, ISBN 978-0-7619-9620-0. 
  18. ^ Nagarajan, Krishnaswami (1989). Dr. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar: a biography. Annamalai University. pp. 63–70. 
  19. ^ Congress Ministries in all the provinces of British India resigned on 29 October 1939 protesting the viceroy's declaration of war against Germany. Madras Presidency remained under "the direct rule of the Governor of the Province" till the next elections were held in March 1946. (INDIA (FAILURE OF CONSTITUTIONAL MACHINERY) HC Deb 16 April 1946 vol 421 cc2586-92)
  20. ^ a b c d e World — Indian states since 1947
  21. ^ Government of Tamil Nadu — The State Legislature — Origin and Evolution
  22. ^ Historical Importance of Kanchipuram
  23. ^ "The Tamil Nadu Legislative Council (Abolition) Act, 1986.". 
  24. ^ The Hindu - Delhi's warning
  25. ^ a b c "Jayalalitha is the first CM to lose post in a graft case". DNA India. 27 September 2014. 
  26. ^ This column only names the chief minister's party. The state government he heads may be a complex coalition of several parties and independents; these are not listed here.
  27. ^ "DMK, AIADMK pay homage to Annadurai". Archived from the original on 2005-03-04. ... the leader's life was cut short by cancer 3 February 1969. 
  28. ^ a b c On 21 September 2001, a five-judge constitutional bench of the Supreme Court of India ruled in a unanimous verdict that "a person who is convicted for a criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment for a period of not less than two years cannot be appointed the Chief Minister of a State under Article 164 (1) read with (4) and cannot continue to function as such". Thereby, the bench decided that "in the appointment of Ms. Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister there has been a clear infringement of a Constitutional provision and that a writ of quo warranto must issue". In effect her appointment as Chief Minister was declared null and invalid with retrospective effect. Therefore, technically, she was not the Chief Minister in the period between 14 May 2001 and 21 September 2001 (The Hindu — SC unseats Jayalalithaa as CM, Full text of the judgment from official Supreme Court site).
  29. ^ The Hindu - Karunanidhi resigns
  30. ^ BBC News - New leader for Tamil Nadu state
  31. ^ "Jayalalithaa begins third term as Chief Minister today". NDTV. 16 May 2011. 
  32. ^ Jayalalithaa's trusted aide Panneerselvam sworn as Tamil Nadu's new chief minister
  33. ^ O Panneerselvam resigns from Chief Minister post

See also

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