Powers and Functions of Chief Ministers

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The powers and functions of the Chief Minister can be discussed under the following heads:

  1. The Leader of the Legislative Assembly:

The Chief Minister is the leader of the Legislative Assembly of the State.

On his advice, the Governor exercises his functions in matters like summoning, proroguing or, if necessary, dissolving the Legislative Assembly.

As the chief spokesman of the State Government, he explains the government policies.

In the matter of determining the internal policies of the State, the decision of the Chief Minister is final.

He comes to the rescue of a minister if he faces any difficulty during the debates in the Assembly. He has to bear the responsibility of getting the important Bills passed.

He remains responsible to the Legislative Assembly for the acts performed by the State Council of Ministers.

He has to take great care to ensure smooth conduct of the proceedings of the State Legislature by maintaining contacts and good relations with the opposition.

In the case of a conflict arising between him or the Council of Ministers led by him and the State Legislature, he can advise the Governor to dissolve the Legislative Assembly. In such cases, the Governor may also reject his advice by exercising his ‘discretionary powers’.

  1. The Leader of the Council of Ministers:

The Constitution virtually gives preeminence to the leadership of the Chief Minister by placing him ‘at the head’ of the Council of Ministers.

The Governor appoints or dismisses other ministers on his advice. The Chief Minister allocates or reallocates the portfolios among the ministers.

The responsibility for maintaining unity and integrity among the members of the Council of Ministers lies mainly with him.

The policies and workings of the different ministries are monitored and coordinated by him. He summons and presides over the meetings of the Council of Ministers.

If there is any conflict of opinion between the Chief Minister and any other minister, the latter has to resign.

If the Chief Minister resigns, the entire Council of Ministers is bound to resign. So, in the case of necessity, he tries to keep the Council of Ministers under his control by brandishing the threat of resignation’.

In view of his total control over the Council of Ministers, he is described by many as ‘the cornerstone of the Cabinet arch’ in the state.

  1. The chief adviser to the Governor:

The Chief Minister is the chief adviser to the Governor. Generally, the Governor exercises all his functions on the advice of the Chief Minister.

Besides, he has to act as the principal channel of communication between the Governor and the Council of Ministers.

It is his duty to communicate to the Governor all decisions of the Council of Ministers.

He has to furnish such information relating to the affairs of the State as the Governor may call for.

  1. The Leader of the majority party or alliance:

It is the leader of the majority party or alliance in the Legislative Assembly whom the Governor appoints the Chief Minister. He has to lead the party in and outside the Assembly and to see that the image, popularity, integrity, and discipline of the party are maintained.

He is always active to reconcile the policy of the party or the alliance with that of the Government.

The popularity of the ruling party largely depends on the personality and efficiency of the Chief Minister.

  1. Miscellaneous functions:

It is an important function of the Chief Minister to maintain contact with the people at large.

He has to keep a watchful eye on the public opinion at the time of formulating government policy and performing his functions.

He discusses the problems and issues of the State and tries to form public opinion in support of his party or alliance through his speeches on the radio, the T.V., public meetings etc.