Forum Post: The Best and the Worst

With highly-probable portends of an early election visible on the horizon, I’ve created a new category called Elections 2009.

Beginning with this post, I plan to record–very irregularly–a sort of a run-up of events, news, and other gossip–I’ll even create quizzes–leading up to the actual elections. It promises to be an interesting retrospect.

Let’s start with history. Here is the chronological list of the 14 Prime Ministers India has had so far.

  1. Jawaharlal Nehru
  2. G. Nanda
  3. L.B. Shastri
  4. Indira Gandhi
  5. Morarji Desai
  6. C. Charan Singh
  7. Rajiv Gandhi
  8. V.P. Singh
  9. Chandrashekar
  10. P.V. Narasimha Rao
  11. A.B. Vajpayee
  12. H.D. Deve Gowda
  13. I.K. Gujral
  14. Manmohan Singh

In no particular order, rate, who according to you is the best or the worst Prime Minister. Back up your rating with reasons. The comments section is open. :-)

PS: I know that at least four Prime Ministers don’t actually count, but include them if you will, in your assessments.

20 comments for “Forum Post: The Best and the Worst

  1. choloully
    June 23, 2011 at 11:26 AM

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    November 8, 2009 at 9:37 PM

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  3. Muralidhar P
    November 28, 2008 at 11:41 AM

    The Best PM includes : PVN, IG and MM Singh. The first worst goes to AB Vajpayee ( only reason is he couldnot stand with his words, He won by asking votes of Hindus and did nothing for them) . The weakest goes to IK Gujral. The H D Devegowda is Unfit to this post.

  4. rawem
    July 12, 2008 at 7:31 PM

    The best, Shastri and PVN Rao. The worst, Nehru, WePee Singh and MudMohan Singh.

  5. Sud
    July 10, 2008 at 2:06 AM

    The best and worst, according to me are
    - HD Deve Gowda and IK Gujral; PVN and ABV.

  6. Kumar
    July 7, 2008 at 1:01 PM

    (1)The good -> A.B.Vajpayee (did the right thing at right time…most of the times), the Bad -> J.L.Nehru (did the worst at the right time) and the not-so-Ugly -> P.V.N.Rao
    (2) A new nation required a strong and visionary leader during its constructive years. Nehru failed miserably and his legacy has been carried forward to these days.
    (3) It is not surprising to see that the dis-illusionment with the above list of ‘men’ are not surprising as the prime minister is not directly elected by Indian voters and in most of the cases a prime minister candidate is not show-cased by the political parties during election (example, Manmohan sigh…sorry singh).

    Sandeep,
    It might be worth-while to list out the Finance ministers (no one knows who they were..) as well, from an academic interest. However, most of the finance ministers prior to Manmohan singh are NOT noteworthy.

  7. July 7, 2008 at 12:09 PM

    Man Mohan Singh! WHO?

    PI.

  8. July 7, 2008 at 12:02 PM

    Hey, Sorry Folks….
    MorarJi Bhai Desai – unfortunately due to my oversight – forget to find a mention. well, his personal integrity and energy is unassailable. Ummmm… his was 28 months govt.( correct me if I am wrong), I was too young then, but remember about one scandal involving Jagjiwan Ram’s son ‘suresh’ (:) ) and ABV as foreign Minister had some bold policy initiatives. For some ‘weird’ reason the period of MorarJi’s governance is not in ‘public domain’, thus can not have a fair judgment on him. But at the same time I see no reason to ‘critiques’ him for whatever reason BUT for his ‘pathetic’ choice of Favorite drink ! :) Mercifully, he did not impose his choice on others.

    Regads,
    PI.

  9. July 7, 2008 at 11:54 AM

    The Best To Worst, in following order.
    1.P V Narsimhan Rao : Not only an astute politician, but very well educated, wise and ‘harbinger’ of very Vital Policy Initiatives. All the praise accorded to MMS for his ‘economic’ reforms in 90s, deservingly belongs to PVN Rao. Rather, seeing the MMS and PC’s performance in these years,it was PVN Rao who kept a check on these two ‘lunatics’ lest they mismanaged ‘economy’ as they have done this time.

    2.LBS and ABV: Both at same pedestal for their hard work, personal integrity. Both had ‘statesman’ like qualities and both deserve a rightful place in the history.

    3.Chandershekhar: I personally rate him high but for very small nos and much shorter tenure, this ‘erstwhile’ young Turk was not ‘appreciated’ for the potential he had. It is sad, a talented ‘statesman’ like him was wasted.

    4.Rajiv: Would be known as someone who squandered the opportunity, events bestowed on him even if by accident.

    5. Indira: Well, Indira had a charisma and she knew it.Tyrant,Unforgiving and brute as she was, these also were her qualities.Perhaps, times – then – demanded that.

    6.IKG and DEV Gowda. Charan Singh and G L Nanda: Hahahahah! It gives me some encouragement to try my hands in politics, if these two could become PMs than any tom, dick or harry can.:) Charan Singh, however was an exception,an astute politician with statesman like qualities. But his tenure was too short to make any positive or negative comment.G J Nanda was only a time gap PM, so no comments. Since I had the honor to meet him in person at his one room ‘dingy’ hole in New Delhi, I know he had a very difficult post retirement life. one who became (technically albeit)PM of India, did deserve some respect at least from Congress Party if not GOI.

    7. Nehru:No need to explain why.

    8.VP Singh: WEEPY SINGH is the WORST EVER PM India had a misfortune to get.The seeds of ‘caste divisions’ he sowed borne the poisionus fruits like laloos, Paswans, mulayams etc etc. He stands at the same pedestal as his not so illustrious forefather ‘JAICHAND’.

    Hey, San hope have not gone overboard :)
    Could not help it, as I hold strong views on all of them and further it is a good initiative so I look forward to keep poking my nose here, frequently .:)
    Regards.
    PI.

  10. Ganesh
    July 7, 2008 at 11:47 AM

    Worst – Jawahar Lal Nehru
    For making my Country and its men forget History and its Territory as well. For his economic blunders and his idea of Secularism based on Falsity and Marxist historians.
    Best – P V Narasimha Rao / Atal Bihari –
    PVN gave us the Economic Freedom. Atalji reinstated our self confidence through Kargil , Nuclear Tests ..etc

  11. July 7, 2008 at 11:22 AM

    Hey Sandeep, you forgot to include Sonia Gandhi.. and who is this Manmohan Singh?? ;-)

  12. July 7, 2008 at 11:21 AM

    Well,

    PVNR was the best.. were it not for him, we would have been just another country with a broken economy, and without Kashmir (or whatever we have left of it)

    For worst, there are many contenders… I vote for Nehru and Manmohan Singh

  13. Atlantean
    July 6, 2008 at 11:09 PM

    The Worst – Nehru
    The Best – Vajpayee

    … for reasons already enumerated by some of the comments here.

  14. July 5, 2008 at 9:51 AM

    1.Lal Bahadur Shashtri (for very very strong morale and ideals)
    2.Atal Bihari Vajpayee (for a great stature and mass appeal)
    3.Indira Gandhi (for great victory and iron image)
    4.Jawaharlal nehru (for legacy of democracy, secularism)
    5.Rajiv Gandhi (for freshness and change)
    6.Manmohan Singh (for economic reforms)
    7-8-9-10-11 are just doesn’t matter
    12.Morarji Desai (for stupidness and arrogance)
    13.PV Narsimharao (for wasted talent and opportunity)
    14.VP Singh (for almost everything)

    others are immaterial.

  15. Kishkindhaa
    July 5, 2008 at 9:14 AM

    As has been pointed out by others, the nehruvian regimes very closely approximate Manmohan’s little cabaret show in gross incompetence, unabashed appeasement, and unfettered proliferation of 4M elements. It is only because we had become used to Vajpayee’s relative competence that Manmohan today seems like an absolute failure. I have also read that Indira did Pakistanis a purposeful favor by cutting off the gangrenous limb of East Pakistan.

  16. July 5, 2008 at 6:58 AM

    Best was Atal Bihari Vajpayee – international gains with going nuclear and win in Kargil, stable economy and some decent economic policy changes along with a new highway networks that were not changed/improved for 60 or more years, and best of all, no pseudo-secular nonsense and appeasement politics, for a change, in Delhi. Of course, the big failure was releasing terrorists but at least he got the innocent hostages safe and sound to their families from Talabanistan.

    Worst was obviously Nehru – with 17 years of power grab, first for promoting socialism, second for promoting pseudo-secularism along with appeasement politics (which only accelerated after him), third, and most important, a hugely avoidable defeat in the fight with China and stalemate in the fight with Land of the Pure. He should rank at the bottom of everyone’s list because he couldn’t protect the nation’s borders. There is no greater failure.

  17. N
    July 5, 2008 at 6:10 AM

    PVN Rao, the best ever with Vajpayee and Indira Gandhi a close second.

    PVN for doing all the right things from opening up the economy onwards. Vaj for roads etc. (low marks for hostage crisis) and IG for Bangladesh and Punjab.

  18. kaafir
    July 5, 2008 at 5:18 AM

    Oh, and thanks for adding the ‘recent comments’ section. :)

  19. kaafir
    July 5, 2008 at 5:17 AM

    It might be nice if you can add the years of their PM-ship in parenthesis next to their names. Thanks.

  20. anonymous coward
    July 5, 2008 at 1:13 AM

    Me too young to comment on most of the people in the list, but anyhow, I’ll give my opinion :). I think that Vajpayee was the best and VP Singh the worst.

    Vajpayee’s second term came at a very critical juncture for India. The 3rd front jokers were just a bunch of opportunists clinging to power. Everyone was contending for the post of PM. With Vajpayee’s second term, we had a stable period of governance which saw the economy booming. After the nuclear tests, the world began to treat India with a new respect.

    VP Singh tried to save his government by using the OBC quota. In a few years from now, this one decision will come back to haunt India. We are already seeing its pernicious effects, where students in IIT are covering poor performance by claiming they were discriminated. History will judge VP Singh very poorly.

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