Contributed by : Vinitha Vankayalapati
“Behind every successful nation, there is a woman leading the way.” This proverb encapsulates the significant role women have played in shaping the political landscape of India. Over the years, women leaders have emerged as pivotal figures, breaking barriers and making their mark in a male-dominated domain. From Sucheta Kripalani, the first female Chief Minister of India, to the trailblazing Mamata Banerjee, these remarkable women have reshaped governance and championed the rights of their constituents. In this article, we delve into the lives and achievements of the top 10 female Chief Ministers in India, who have left an indelible impact on their respective states and the nation as a whole.
1. Sucheta Kripalani
Tenure: 3 years, 162 days
State: Uttar Pradesh
Party: Indian National Congress
She is the first female chief minister of India after Independence. She led the Uttar Pradesh Government from 1963 for a tenure of 3 years, 162 days. She has been a great administrator and has tackled the first-state employees’ strike with great resilience. She participated in Quit India Movement and also worked with Gandhiji during the Independence movement. She has been a member of the subcommittee that drafted the Indian Constitution.
2. Sheila Dikshit
Tenure: 15 years, 25 days
Party: Indian National Congress
Sheila Dikshit served as the Chief Minister of Delhi, making her the longest-serving Chief Minister in the history of the city. A prominent leader of the Indian National Congress, she held the position for a remarkable tenure of 15 years. During her time in office from 1998 to 2013, she made significant contributions to the development and modernization of Delhi. Under her leadership, the city witnessed remarkable improvements in infrastructure, education, healthcare, and public transportation. Sheila Dikshit’s visionary approach and inclusive governance earned her widespread acclaim, making her a respected figure in Indian politics.
3. J. Jayalalitha
Tenure: 14 years,124days
State: Tamil Nadu
Party: All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)
J. Jayalalitha, popularly known as Amma, was a prominent political figure in the state of Tamil Nadu. She served as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for several terms, establishing herself as one of the most influential leaders in the state’s political history. As a charismatic leader and the head of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party, Jayalalitha implemented numerous welfare schemes and development projects during her tenure. Her governance focused on empowering women, improving healthcare, and promoting social welfare. Jayalalitha’s strong leadership and unwavering determination earned her immense popularity and respect among the people of Tamil Nadu.
4. Mamatha Banerjee
Tenure: 12 years, 8 days (and counting)
State: West Bengal
Party: All India Trinamool Congress (AITC)
Mamata Banerjee, fondly called Didi, is a prominent political leader from West Bengal. She became the first female Chief Minister of the state in 2011 and has since been re-elected for consecutive terms. As the leader of the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) party, Mamata Banerjee has been at the forefront of several progressive initiatives in West Bengal. Her governance is characterized by a strong emphasis on social welfare, rural development, and empowering marginalized communities. Mamata Banerjee’s resilience and grassroots connection have made her a formidable force in Indian politics.
5. Vasundhara Raje
Tenure: 10 years, 9 days
Party: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
Vasundhara Raje is a prominent leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the first woman Chief Minister of Rajasthan. She served two terms as the Chief Minister, from 2003 to 2008 and from 2013 to 2018. Known for her dynamic leadership, Vasundhara Raje focused on economic development, infrastructure, and women empowerment during her tenure. She introduced various initiatives to promote tourism, employment, and education in Rajasthan. Vasundhara Raje’s contribution to the state’s progress and her ability to connect with the people have made her one of the most influential leaders in Rajasthan.
6. Rabri Devi
Tenure: 7 years, 324 days
Party: Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)
Rabri Devi, the wife of Lalu Prasad Yadav, served as the Chief Minister of Bihar from 1997 to 2005. Taking over the reins of power after her husband’s resignation, Rabri Devi proved herself as a resilient and capable leader. Her tenure as Chief Minister was marked by various developmental projects, particularly in the areas of education and healthcare. Despite facing criticism and challenges, Rabri Devi’s determination and commitment to public service allowed her to leave a lasting impact on the state of Bihar.
Tenure: 7 years, 5 days
State: Uttar Pradesh
Party: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)
Mayawati, the leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), served as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh multiple times. Known for her advocacy for social justice and empowerment of marginalized communities, Mayawati became the first Dalit woman to hold the position of Chief Minister in India. Her tenure witnessed the implementation of various policies aimed at uplifting the lower castes and economically disadvantaged sections of society. Mayawati’s leadership has made a significant impact on the political landscape of Uttar Pradesh and has earned her a dedicated following among her supporters.
8. Shashikala Kakodkar
Tenure: 5 years, 258 days
Party: Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party
Shashikala Kakodkar, a prominent leader from Goa, served as the Chief Minister of the state from 1973 to 1979. She was the first woman to hold the position in Goa and one of the early female Chief Ministers in India. As the leader of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Shashikala Kakodkar focused on social welfare and development initiatives during her tenure. Her efforts contributed to the overall progress and well-being of Goa, leaving a lasting legacy in the state’s political history.
9. Nandini Satpathy
Tenure: 4 years, 185 days
Party: Indian National CongressNandini Satpathy, a trailblazing figure in Odisha politics, served as the Chief Minister of the state from 1972 to 1976. She was the first female Chief Minister of Odisha and played a crucial role in advancing the state’s development agenda. As a member of the Indian National Congress, Nandini Satpathy prioritized education, healthcare, and social welfare during her tenure. Her contribution to women’s empowerment and progressive governance continues to inspire leaders in Odisha and beyond
10. Mehbooba Mufti
Tenure: 2 years, 76 days
State: Jammu and Kashmir
Party: Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party
Mehbooba Mufti, a prominent leader from Jammu and Kashmir, served as the Chief Minister of the state from 2016 to 2018. She is the first woman to hold the position in Jammu and Kashmir. As the leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mehbooba Mufti focused on addressing the socio-political challenges faced by the region. Her governance emphasized dialogue and reconciliation to promote peace and stability in Jammu and Kashmir. Mehbooba Mufti’s leadership played a significant role in shaping the political landscape of the state.
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi meeting the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Ms. J. Jayalalithaa, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu on August 07, 2015.
The Chief Minister of Bihar, Smt. Rabri Devi presenting a cheque for Rs. 10 crore on behalf of the State Government to the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh for the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, in New Delhi on January 04, 2005.