Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday took oath as Odisha’s Chief Minister for the fifth consecutive time, becoming one of the longest-serving Chief Ministers in India. Here’s a list of leaders who have remained at the helm of affairs of Indian states for the longest duration, after Independence.
Pawan Kumar Chamling, Sikkim
December 12, 1994 – May 26, 2019
Term: 24 years, 5 months, 14 days
Pawan Kumar Chamling, the former chief minister of Sikkim, holds the distinction of being the longest-serving chief minister after independence. Chamling is the founder and president of the Sikkim Democratic Front. After five successive terms since 1994, Chamling’s SDF government had to face defeat by Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) in the recently-held state assembly elections. Chamling is a poet and lyricist in the Nepali language. He writes under the pen name Pawan Chamling Kiran.
Jyoti Basu, West Bengal
June 21, 1977 – November 5, 2000
Term: 23 years, 4 months, 15 days
Jyoti Basu served as the chief minister of West Bengal from 1977 to 2000. He belonged to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and is known as an Indian Marxist ideologue, statesman and theorist. In 1996, Jyoti Basu was projected as the consensus leader of the United Front for the post of Prime Minister, but CPI(M) decided not to participate in the government. Basu was the longest serving chief minister in India until Chamling surpassed him in 2018.
Gegong Apang, Arunachal Pradesh
January 18, 1980 – January 18, 1999; August 3, 2003 – April 9, 2007
Term: 22 years, 8 months, 6 days
Gegong Apang is the third longest serving Chief Minister. A seven-time MLA, Apang was elected as Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister in 1980. Apang has served for both the big parties—Congress and BJP. He even floated his own party- Arunachal Congress, which later merged with the BJP. Currently, he is with Janata Dal (Secular).
Lal Thanhawla, Mizoram
May 5, 1984 – August 20 1986; January 24, 1989 – December 3, 1998; December 11, 2008 – December 12, 2018
Term: 22 years, 1 month, 25 days
Lal Thanhawla is former chief minister of Mizoram. He belongs to the Congress Party and was elected as CM for five times, although he did not complete all his terms. Thanhawla takes a keen interest in sports. He served as former president of Indian Olympic Association and is the founding president of Mizoram’s football, boxing, hockey and Olympic association.
Virbhadra Singh, Himachal Pradesh
April 8, 1983 – March 5, 1990; December 3, 1993 – March 23, 1998; March 6, 2003 – December 30, 2007; December 25, 2012 – December 27, 2017
Term: 21 years, 11 days
Virbhadra Singh has served as Himachal Pradesh chief minister for 21 years. He has remained the Congress Party’s most prominent face in Himachal Pradesh. Virbhadra Singh is also a five-time Lok Sabha MP and has also been a cabinet minister in Manmohan Singh’s government.
Manik Sarkar, Tripura
March 11, 1998 – March 9, 2018
19 years, 11 months, 26 days
Manik Sarkar has served as the chief minister of Tripura for four full terms from March 1998 to March 2018. He was first elected as MLA in 1980 from the Agartala constituency. Currently, he serves as the Leader of Opposition in Tripura Legislative Assembly. He was known for being the chief minister with least possessions among all his counterparts in India.
Naveen Patnaik, Odisha
March 5, 2000 – till date
19 years, 2 months, 24 days and counting
Naveen Patnaik is the current Chief Minister of Odisha. He is also the president of the ruling party in Odisha, Biju Janata Dal. He is only the third Indian chief Minister after Pawan Chamling and Jyoti Basu to win five consecutive terms as chief minister. He is 72 years old currently, and if he completes this term fully, he would be very close to becoming the longest serving Chief Minister. Naveen Patnaik is also a writer and has published four books.