The Prime Minister is the head of the Government. The President is the Head of State. The Prime Minister along with his Council of Ministers is jointly responsible to the President. Even though many think the President is only a ceremonial head of the State, the fact is he has important legislative, executive and judicial functions.
After the elections to the Lok Sabha, it is the President who invites the leader of the majority party to form the government. It may be mentioned that it is not laid down in the Constitution that he can invite only the leader of the majority party but in practice the PM has to have the confidence of Majority in Parliament. But when no party has majority, the President has lot of discretion to invite any member who in his view will be able to for the Government.
All executive functions of the Government are done in the name of President though all files do not go to him. There is a delegation called Transaction of business Rules which has stipulated the delegation. All ‘Group A’ appointments in the Central Government are done in the name President. He signs the credentials of officers who represents India abroad and in international organisations. He also appoints Vice Chancellors of Central Universities.
All the bills passed by both Houses of Parliament becomes Acts only after the President signs them. The President can return the bills for clarifications and if they are passed again and sent for approval, the President has to to sign. But if the President neither signs nor returns the bill there is little the PM or government can do. This is sometimes called as Pocket Veto.
The President also appoints Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts. All the functions of the President is done on the recommendation of the Government headed by the Prime Minister.
In the above view it is evident a good rapport between the PM and the President is of utmost importance in smooth transaction of government’s business.
Chief Ministers who became Prime Ministers
- Morarji Desai, Chief Minister of Bombay State, Prime Minister from February 1952-November 1956, March 1977-July 1974.
- Charan Singh, Chief Minister of UP, Prime Minister from April 1967-February 1968 and February-October 1970, July 1979-January 1980.
- P Singh, Chief Minister of UP, Prime Minister from June 1980-June 1982, December 1989-November 1990.
- V Narasimha Rao, Chief Minister of AP, Prime Minister from September 1971-January 1973, June 1991-May 1996.
- D Deve Gowda, Chief Minister of Karnataka, Prime Minister from December 1994-May 1996, June 1996-April 1997.
- Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, Current Prime Minister.