CHURUMURI POLL: India’s best prime minister?

Bruised and battered by crisis after crisis, prime minister Manmohan Singh has received a rare stamp of approval from fellow-sardar Khushwant Singh. “The dirty old man of Indian journalism” has rated Manmohan as the “best prime minister” India has ever had, higher than Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and his other successors.

K. Singh lauds M. Singh’s integrity, calling him its “best example“. Unlike “impatient” Nehru’s instinctively anti-American and blindly pro-Soviet Union stance, “humble and simple” M. Singh, he says, has a free and open mind, and cannot ever be accused of nepotism, as Nehru and his “petty and dictatorial” daughter Indira Gandhi could.

In contrast to “dynamic” Sanjay Gandhi, K. Singh terms his elder brother Rajiv Gandhi as more of a “boy scout“.

Singh’s scorecard comes in the same week as an India Today mood-of-the-nation opinion poll, showing Manmohan Singh’s popularity at its lowest in his sixth year in office. Singh gets a measly one per cent approval rating, compared with Rahul Gandhi (29%), Atal Behari Vajpayee (16%) and Sonia Gandhi (13%) as a prime ministerial candidate.

Question: Who has been India’s best prime minister?

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38 Responses to “CHURUMURI POLL: India’s best prime minister?”

  1. Das Says:

    Why not the 4th one of INDIA TODAY poll…!!! hhhhmmm MODI…!!! I do believe churumuri is more interested to demonize that man. Don’t waste this opportunity to write off Mr. Modi…!!!
    Otherwise write why India loves that fascist…!!!!!!!!!!!!! Haaaa Haaaaa Haaaaaa…..???!!!!!

  2. DailyBread Says:


  3. Anshul Pandey Says:

    Atal was the best PM we ever had….he not only dared to go on with ‘The Smiling Buddha’ project, but also showed the west that India was not there for doing their bidding. Manmohan Singh, it seems, is more worried about the interests of the Western allies than the interest of the nation.

  4. Anand Balaji Says:

    Sanjay Gandhi was the best prime minister India never had. Despotic, maybe. But he sure knew how to get the job done!
    Indira, whom the dirty old man never tires of calling “petty and vindictive” in numerous books is perched right on top in my opinion (though your poll would have one believe otherwise).

  5. div Says:


    Why “none of the above” is an option in this poll?

    While most prime ministers have done some contributions, none of them have been able to change the way politics is done in India or get rid off corruption – arguably the biggest disgrace of India. Indira Gandhi was saying “garibi hatao” I guess even her great great great great great great great grandsons will also be saying the same.

  6. prasad Says:

    ‘Sardarji, tell me, why Manmohan Singh goes for a walk in the evening not in the morning?’
    Sardarji: ”Arey bhai Manmohan is PM not AM”.

  7. mysore peshva Says:

    why isn’t morarji desai in the list? or lal bahadur shastri?

  8. Murali Says:

    why dont i see lal bahgadur shasthri while great nehru has been listed in the beginning ?

  9. N.Narasimhan Says:

    Undoubtedly, India’s man of destiny and the most outstanding Prime Minister was P. V. Narasimha Rao. His farsightedness, profound courage and wisdom is what steered this country, survive the ravages of utter misrule during the V.P. Singh and the “cash & carry” govt. of Chandrashekhar.

    Not only PVN completed a full term, but introduced economic reforms of limitless consequences for the good of the economy.

    No wonder that “Business Standard” recently paid it tribute in an editorial, but also suggested that the Bharathna Rathna award should be conferred on him posthously.

    I had met PVN thrice and treasure those moments. To be in his presence was like being in the presence of a great sage.

    Popularity ratings have played havoc in this country and elsewhere, where intellectual pigmies have ridden the wave, and pushed out of action, those who are competent, even while their integrity is beyond question.

    “Public memory is short”. Thid unrateful nation did not even arrange for a decent cremation of his mortal remains.

  10. vikram j Kulkarni Says:

    P.V. Narasimha Rao was the man who brought some economic reforms. i learnt this from a Bihari civil service aspirant who lived next to my room in DU. :) He was a great fan of Narasimha Rao and even wanted to spend a day with him. Don’t know it he got a chance. Mine favorite is Nehru for his “Discovery Of India” :)

  11. Faldo Says:

    Tongue in cheek I would say this poll reeks of an anti-farmer bias with three ’eminent farmer prime ministers’ (Shastri, Charan Singh and HDDG) missing. The list also does not contain Morarji Desai, Chandrashekhar and Gural.
    Granted, they might not have had a tenure that was as long as any of the worthies listed above and are unlikely to get too many votes, but nevertheless the poll is for best PM and their names deserve to be put up for that reason alone.


    Oops I forgot to mention the Raja of Manda(l).

  12. Prabhu Says:

    Best prime minister of India is unduobtedly Atalji.
    And the best prime minister will be undoubtedly Modi.

  13. chanakya Says:

    Yaake Sir, Namma DeveGowdra Hesru listnalli illa? Husharu….avrige gottadree nimmanne sumne bidalla….NICE rodanalli ‘paid protest’ madstare!!!

  14. Simple Says:

    Funny how the pseudo internet intellectuals think Vajpayee was the best Prime Minister, when there was nothign much to write about. The numbers are stacked heavily against the only NDA prime minister India has ever seen.

    If you do not judge a person’s performance by numbers, what else will be the yardstick? We should use only numbers and numbers. Every act and achievement of the goverment dovetails into the numbers – which can be measured.

    1.Low average growth rate of 5.5% meant the economy was literally sleeping.

    2. No radical economic reforms which actually made our lives better. Radical reforms happened in Narashima Rao’s times and now under MMS.

    3. Farmers were committing suicide all over, especially in Chandrababu Naidu’s state.

    4. There were no guaranteed rural jobs

    5. There was zero transparency in government work. Because there was no RTI. Mining scam, Commonwealth scam, BBMP global investor scam, all that is coming to light because of RTI.

    5. Farmers were groaning and moaning under increased debt. Agriculture growth was a pathetic 2%.

    6. Income tax cut off was very low – contrast this to six year rule of UPA , where everybody has more money in their pockets.

    7.The highest the share market touched during Vajpayee time as 6000. Under UPA it went up to 18,000 plus or so.

    8. There was no RTE – and therefore underprivileged children continued to suffer.

    9. No political will to make Woman’s reservation bill happen

    10. There were no clever ideas to bring down the fiscal deficit which hovered around 5.5 to 6%.

    11. One of the worst communal riots India witnessed happened in Gujarat. No such communal riots happened under UPA. Mark my words, I am saying UPA and I am not referring to 1984 Congress.

    12. The government gave in meekly to Kandahar terrorists while UPA shot dead all the terrorists in Mumbai.

    Except a few roads built here and there, there was no worthwhile contribution of BJP.

    In short, Vajpayee’s tenure was marked by:
    High fiscal deficit, low economic growth rate, less salaries, fewer jobs, no guaranteed rural income, soft on terrorism.

  15. poli hudga Says:

    What has ABV done to merit a place in this list?

  16. T Azeez Luthfullah Says:

    Why didn’t you give the option : None of the above.
    India is yet to have its best PM

  17. harkol Says:

    My ranking:

    1. Nehru
    2. PVN
    3. ABV
    4. MMS

    Nehru made sure India’s foundations are right. He had his idiosyncrasies and did make a few mistakes (Kashmir, China and Communism being major ones). But, his singular contribution of guiding India to a constitutional republic, and for letting democracy, plurality and institutional frameworks take deep root alone is worthy of highest rank. Anyone who has started any business or institution will know, how difficult it is to fight the teething troubles and establish something.

    PVN comes a close second. He got rid of Nehru’s biggest mistake – Socialistic, central directed economic policies. Agreeably, MMS was the man chosen to do it. He also firmly rooted out the Punjab separatism. PVN was an Unique congressman. He operated without much interference by the Gandhis. He sort of ignored them, which is why he is hated and sidelined by ‘the family’ and is blamed for all ills!!

    ABV showed India that a Non-Congress govt. can complete a term. That in itself is a strong contribution. He managed to moderate a wild Hindu Pariwar to get support from various parties. And he achieved a few things too – Telecom being the biggest, revitalizing roads was next.

    MMS has many achievements as a person, but as PM, his works are compromised. Nuclear deal perhaps is his biggest singular achievement. RTI comes close, but then RTI and NREGA were projects pushed by super-PM. If we only count Honesty and Respectability, he is the Best PM we have had, but, a PM should do more than just that. But, he still has a few years to go. And he can easily climb up, if he can pull of even a couple of things in the following list:

    – A true RTE, with liberalizing & Funding education to create supply == demand
    – Liberalizing Power sector to create supply == demand
    – Modernize/ Reform Administration and lessen human interference in many activities (like Tax payments, property ownerships)
    – Setup a free and autonomous Police and Prosecution structure
    – Improve the ratio of Judges to litigation for speedy dispensation of justice
    – Push through a constitutional amendment to change our electoral first-past-pole system.
    – Resolve Kashmir problem with some deal without modifying the boundaries.

    >Funny how the pseudo internet intellectuals

    Also, it is hillarious, how MLTK (More Loyal Than King) Gandhi family retainers can never see any fault in Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi!


    I am amazed to see 43% are voting for Vajpayee. He was a great man no doubt, and I loved his speeches, voted for him a few times too..

    But, the Best PM?? How?!!

    Azeez Luthfulla:
    >India is yet to have its best PM

    You surely mean ‘perfect PM’.

    Choosing the ‘Best’ is to compare among among a set. We have large enough set to choose. And you will never get a ‘perfect PM’ even in future.

  18. Gouri Satya Says:

    Undoubtedly it was PVN, who steered the country towards economic stability with Manmohan Singh as FM. Individually, Singh may be a good PM, but he has the company of men like Raja. Next to PVN was Shastri, who gave a new image to the country with his bold decision to fight the enemy. Unfotunately, he was shortlived as PM.

  19. div Says:

    For those who think PVN and Manmohan Singh get the credit for economic liberalization:

    1. India had gone bankrupt, there was no other way but to liberalize
    2. USSR collapsed around the same time
    3. Most of the eastern european economies also liberalized around the same time.

    Do you think all these are coincidences?

    It was compulsion and not by choice that India started removing license permit raj.

  20. Prashant Krishnamurthy Says:

    Every such poll and its results only confirm to me that the “Internet Hindu” is not a mythical creature invented by some shrieking savitri, but an alive and kicking animal that is so dumb as to be incapable of thinking independently or rising above its own mediocrity.

    In other words, if Atal Bihari Vajpayee—who presided over the pogrom in Gujarat, conducted fake nuclear tests in Pokharan, won a pyrrhic war with Pakistan, murdered the media—is walking away with the honours for reciting some stupid poems, then our heads have probably been screwed wrong.

    And if Narendra Modi is the best PM we will ever have, he will also be the first head of state whose passport will not have a US visa stamp.

  21. Simple Says:

    Prashanth Krishnamurthy,

    Modi will be the first head of state who will not be allowed to enter USA or Bihar.

    (Nitish has ordered BJP that Modi cannot campaign and BJP has meekly accepted it, without a whimper).

  22. Kitapati Says:

    Deve Gowda is missing in this list. He proved that even a son of the soil (mannina maga) can become the prime minister of the country.

  23. harkol Says:

    >1. India had gone bankrupt, there was no other way but to liberalize

    Wonder if you are very young. India went bankrupt before PVN took over. We had problems from mid 80s, when Rajiv was PM. Then there was ‘weepy’ singh, and then Chandrashekar – all of them faced the same ‘balance of payment’ crisis. VP Singh went to the extent of asking India not to use vehicles as a solution to not being able to buy oil.

    Yashvant sinha was Chandrashekar’s Finance Minister, who decided the best course of action was to Pledge Gold to get a loan. From 85-92 no one really dared to take this problem head-on.

    yes, USSR collapsed, but then USSR never funded India, except for defense sales. India wasn’t a client state. It is easy to say PVN was forced, but many other countries in far worser situations have managed IMF loans and hoodwinked IMF, without really changing anything substantially (Pakistan is an example).

    It needed some amount of foresight to bring in MMS and ask him to change the system.


    >This is utter dishonest crap, and an apples-oranges comparison.

    Vinay: he he.. Simple has his own scale. One with a rigged left (read congress) pan. For the right pan to go down, it’ll take more than apples & oranges combined! ;-)


    >Obama said, When MMS speaks, the world listens.

    I mean no disrespect to MMS, He is a great man indeed.

    But, I guess you are taken in by the empty OBAMA platitudes. Obama has only good words for India, for he has been told by the Democrati administration that it is easy to please India with a few plaudits.

    Besides, I suppose the world cranes their ears to listen to MMS.. Atleast I do.. It takes a lot of effort and concentration to understand MMS. ;-)

    >Being in government is not an end in itself.

    It is. If you are going to prove a non-congie govt. is feasible in India and India is not a single party country like China. No democracy ever survived without having a credible opposition.

    >On all fronts, Vajpayee failed miserably.

    As I said before, for you Congress is all good and rarely does any wrong, BJP/Vajpayee is all bad who rarely do any good. You are welcome to that view.

    But, the reality is that both of them are equally bad. At times, one appears a little better than the other. At present perhaps congress is a little more cohesive. But, just barely.

  24. Mysore Peshva Says:

    *Simple* Saab:

    Since you frequently tout the NREGA and other well-intentioned but hollow achievements of the UPA, you may need to read this:

  25. Curry Hurry Says:

    >> Indira Gandhi was saying “garibi hatao”

    Haahahaah.. Yes If they really “Hatao” then what will they use as a slogan in the next election !

  26. Curry Hurry Says:

    >>>“Public memory is short”. Thid unrateful nation did not even arrange for a decent cremation of his mortal remains.

    I beg to disagree the spineless folks in the Kaangress party wouldn’t dare displease Tyag Maata. It was not the nation per se but the sycophants that kept his body outside the gates of the party office. And even after his death that wipe Arjun Singh tries to smear PVN for the first family’s foibles.

  27. Uday Shetty Says:

    All Telugus will love PVN.
    Nehru loved only foreign ladies.
    Only hope for India is ABV

  28. Somebody Says:

    No one can be termed as ‘Best’. All of them have been good in one way or the other. In some areas, they have done good work, in some, they have failed. I think, to become ‘best’ one should have a cabinet of very good ministers and absolute majority in the parliament. Perhaps, except Nehru, no PM had such a good team of ministers. Rajiv had absolute majority, but not a good team. All said and done, all the PMs named have contributed to the country greatly.

  29. Vinay Says:

    “The government gave in meekly to Kandahar terrorists while UPA shot dead all the terrorists in Mumbai. ”

    This is utter dishonest crap, and an apples-oranges comparison.

  30. Simple Says:

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tops Newsweek magazine’s list of 10 world leaders who have won respect and is described as “the leader other leaders love”

    The Indian Prime Minister was described as a sophisticated former economist, who has played a key role in the country’s emergence as one of the rising powers of the 21st century, engineering the transition from stagnant socialism to a spectacular takeoff in the global economy.

    77-year-old Singh, who is into his seventh year in office, has played a “key role in India’s emergence as one of the rising powers of the 21st century.”

    In an article titled “The Leader Other Leaders Love”, the magazine said the economist-turned-politician Singh, engineered the transition “from stagnant socialism to a spectacular takeoff in the global economy.”

    “But it’s Singh’s unassuming personal style that really inspires awe among his fellow global luminaries, who praise him for being modest, humble, and incorruptible,” the magazine said in the article.

    It also quotes former International Atomic Energy Agency director-general and Egyptian presidential challenger Mohamed ElBaradei as saying that “the soft-spoken Singh is the model of what a political leader should be.”


    What is dishonest about UPA shooting down the terrorists and NDA freeing the terrorists? It is a fact that whole world knows.


    Obama said, When MMS speaks, the world listens. MMS has gained international reputation as the top political leader of the world .And here you are cringing and cribbing about him.

    It is hilarious that you say Vajpayee held the NDA together and therefore this achievement is stupendous. Being in government is not an end in itself. being in goverment is a means to administer the country effectively, be boosting the economy, by reducing fiscal deficit, by giving jobs to rural poor, by guaranteeing education to poor kids, among others.

    On all fronts, Vajpayee failed miserably.

  31. Kushagra Says:

    This is in line with previous Churumuri polls flooded by Karnataka Hindutva types. NDA winning 2009 elections. LK Advani becoming PM of India, Narendra Modi being India’s ‘shining’ hope, Muthalik being the saviour of ‘the Indian Family’…. In your dreams. Delusional fantasies- dead in the real world.

    ABV’s greatest ‘achievements’ are all around us- the deliberate and systematic alienation of the most peaceful Muslim community in the world and consequent growth of home-grown Islamic terror, large-scale marginalization of tribals leading to their defection to the Maoists, a fake Hydrogen bomb that forced us into the skewed Indo-US pact etc.

    PVN was the architect of India’s economic revival. Pandit Nehru the builder of strong institutions that even his useless daughter could not destroy fully. Both great PMs. And don’t forget Lal Bahadur Shastri.

  32. KannadigainHyderabad Says:

    I will have to go with Deve Gowda :)

  33. Narendra Kumar.S.S Says:

    Kushagra> most peaceful Muslim community in the world
    This is the joke of the millennium!!!!

  34. Vinay Says:

    IMHO, the poll results are stunningly accurate. This poll clearly shows the contempt with which the Gandhi family is held. ABV leads by a large margin, but PVNR and MMS have got significant votes too, indicating that is is not necessarily ‘anti-congress’ sentiment that is driving the people who voted on this poll.

    And I suppose this is a fair assessment. PVNR and MMS are credited with economic reforms, so they deserve some points there. MMS, no matter what we say about his being ‘weak’ and ‘under the thumb of Madam’, is personally honest – that seems to be an accepted fact – and that does count for something.

    But look at the Gandhi family: Indira Gandhi gets some points due to the 1971 war, but those points are neutralized due to the emergency. The green revolution gives some more points, but again neutralized due to the licence-permit Raj which she institutionalized. And then the Khalistan issue drags her down into the negative. Nehru, with ‘Nehruvian socialism’, and his ham handed handling of Kashmir and China, loses points, but he can be given more leeway since he established the foundations of electoral democracy in India. He ensured that India did not go the way of a typical third world dictatorship. And his crackdown on feudalism and zamindari ensured that we don’t end up with a feudal setup like Pakistan. Among the Gandhi family, Nehru was probably the best, for all the abuse we heap on him. And the worst was undoubtedly Rajiv Gandhi. Try as I might, I can find hardly any tangible benefit he brought to the nation.

  35. Narendra Kumar.S.S Says:

    > Vinay: MMS, no matter what we say about his being ‘weak’ and ‘under the
    > Vinay: thumb of Madam’, is personally honest – that seems to be an
    > Vinay: accepted fact

    But, the issue of P.J.Thomas (CVC) has thrown off the lid.
    Now people are questioning the honesty of MMS.
    There were only 3 people in the selection committee – MMS, PC and SS.
    SS has already told that she had apposed the appointment of P.J.Thomas, because he was chargesheeted in Palmolein case in Kerala.
    Inspite of that P.J.Thomas got appointed because, he got the votes of both MMS and PC.
    They have voted him even after knowing that he was caught in bribery case and chargesheeted.
    And now the government has given an affidavit to Supreme Court telling that both MMS and PC didn’t know about the chargesheet.
    Yesterday PC has agreed infront of the SC that they knew about the chargesheet.
    So, what is all this showing?
    Why did our “honest” MMS agree to appoint P.J.Thomas?
    Why did the government of our “honest” MMS gave an affidavit that they didn’t know the chargesheet?
    What are they hiding? What are they afraid of!?

  36. akshay Says:

    first of all to anand balaji, please allow me to inform you that sanjay gandhi was never sworn in as prime minister. regarding the poll, i must admit that ABV took some brave steps towards the future of nation and also 1999 kargil victory must be attributed to him, but receiving 50 percent vote!!..?? BJP rode into the parliament as the party representing communal majority… the hindus and with the wave that swept india after demolition of babri masjid. a party that comes into power by playing the sentiments of people is neither honorable nor efficient. murli manohar joshi and RSS along with VHP played a major role in communalising history syllabuses. the role of BJP in godhra riots made it forbidden to be ever treated as a secular party. personally i believe that it was the sheer liberal conduct of ABV that he was able to sustain NDA. during the entire tenure of NDA india constantly maintained tumultuous relations including 2001-02 military standoff which was just an attempt to spread the anti-pakistan feeling. POTA was one of the achievements if i can recollect but it was soon repealed as it vested too much power on authorities. finally a good PM is loved, respected and revered and he is RE-ELECTED, which sadly was not the case.
    if anybody deserves to be the best PM it is pundit jawaharlal nehru the man was the voice of nation and led it with his conscience though as a foreign minister he failed miserably. it was his vision to democracy that inculcated nationalism. it was he who held the nation together in turbulent times and battled against various secessionist movements. he gave country a platform to perform and excel. 1962 war was a blow to his political career. but the pillars of democracy and great institutions of IIM-IIT had been already implanted. he attempted once again to solve kashmir issue but his death left the kashmir hanging and sheikh abdullah bereaved. after the brunt of partition he took great pain to alleviate communal feelings and opposed communal reservation. if gandhi is father of the nation then he deserves the title of “builder of the nation”.
    regarding indira gandhi i must admit her single greatest achievement was split of congress party in 1969 which paved a way for ending democratic machinery within congress and turned it into a despotic party under a similar leader. one must admit though that the brinkmanship and statesmanship displayed by her during 1971 war makes her worthy of being called an iron willed leader. the ideologies and aspirations of nehru were dismantled by indira gandhi when she applied emergency.
    V.P SINGH is perhaps the most wicked and incompetent politician that india has ever produced and i hope that such opportunistic people should never be allowed to hold an office of PM. he was the one who destroyed all the good works ever done by the earlier leaders.. he paved way for caste and minority politics. babri masjid incident was an abuse on the prime minister and testimony of his incompetency and lack of will power.

  37. sudip Says:

    atal bihari sir was the best primeminister of all time. He was well respected by everyone. He was a leader in true sense. He had a mind of his own not like monmohan singh who depends on sonia ji for every decision. A country leader should atleast have a strong personality which can inspire a common man and make his belief about possibility of good governance intact.

  38. harkol Says:

    Best PM of India is easy. It was Nehru. He ensured India stood on a firm ground as a nascent country. He ensured some good values were rooted in India.

    He did flunder in two main things.

    1. Socialist economy
    2. Creating a dynasty.

    But, overall – I guess he is easily the best thing to have happened to India. A simple glance at Pakistan tells us how bad things could’ve been.

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