The Functions of the Chief Minister

In this article, we brief you about the functions of the Chief Minister in India. This is an important topic for UPSC polity and governance sections.

  1. Cabinet Formation: The Chief Minister advises the Governor regarding the appointment of other Ministers and the distribution of portfolios among them. The Chief Minister decides which MLNMLC of his party or coalition (in case of a coalition government) will be appointed as a Minister and which portfolio the latter will get. No Minister can demand any specific portfolio. It is not his right to get any particular portfolio. It is the right of the Chief Minister to allot a portfolio to one Minister or another.
  2. Leader of Council of Ministers: The Chief Minister is the leader of the Cabinet. He presides over its meetings and decides its agenda. He also guides the discussions in the Cabinet meetings. He will place for discussion in the Cabinet meeting any matter referred to him by the Governor.
  3. Coordination and Conflict Resolution: It is the duty of the Chief Minister to establish unity and coordination among different Departments. If there is any conflict between two Ministers, he would try to resolve their conflict. His government would be weak if two Ministers indulge in fighting each other.
  4. Advisor to Governor: The Chief Minister serves as the main advisor to the Governor. In normal times, the Governor is guided by the advice of the Chief Minister.
  5. Main Information Source for Governor: The Chief Minister keeps the Governor informed of all important decisions and initiatives taken by the government. He posts the Governor with any other information sought by the latter. The Chief Minister is the main channel of communication between the Governor and the Council of Ministers.
  6. Leader of Ruling Party in Legislature: The Chief Minister is the leader of the ruling party in the legislature. He has to maintain discipline among his party members in the legislature. For this purpose, he appoints a whip whose directive is to be obeyed by the legislators belonging to his party.
  7. Leader of his Party: Even if another party leader may be the President of his party in the state, there is little doubt that the Chief Minister is the most important leader of his party in the state. His government will be weak if then is conflict between the legislative wing of his party and its political wing. The Chief Minister seeks to prevent the eruption of such conflicts. It is also his duty to work for unifying and strengthening his party in the state.
  8. Power to Drop a Minister: The Chief Minister has the power to remove any Minister from office. Under the Constitution, the Ministers stay in office during the pleasure of the Governor, but in reality, they stay in office during the pleasure of the Chief Minister. If the Chief Minister is not happy with any Minister, he can ask the latter to resign.
  9. Guiding and Controlling Ministers: The Chief Minister has the power to guide, supervise and control other members of the Council of Ministers. If any Minister is not discharging his duty efficiently, the Chief Minister can rebuke and warn him. He can advise any Minister for the better functioning of his Department. If the Chief Minister finds a Minister corrupt and inefficient, he will drop him from his post. A Minister may be efficient and honest, but still he may be dropped by the Chief Minister, if he is not a team-man or if he is not loyal to the Chief Minister.
  10. Power to overrule other Ministers: The Chief Minister has power to override his Ministers. A Minister is the head of his Department. But his decision regarding his Department is not final. If the Chief Minister wants, he can modify or change the decision of any Minister.
  11. Main Spokesman of Government: The Chief Minister is the main spokesman of the state government. Important policy decisions of the government are made public through him. Whatever he says, that is taken as authoritative.
  12. Link between Centre and State: The Chief Minister represents the state government in various inter-state bodies at the national level. He is the main link between the state government and the union government.
  13. Dissolution of State Legislature: The Chief Minister can recommend to the Governor the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly. He may do this for an early election even before the Assembly has completed its term. If the Chief Minister gives an advice to the Governor for the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly after his government has lost majority support in the Assembly, the Governor may not accept his advice. The Governor, under this circumstance, may explore the possibility of an alternative government.

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