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In the Republic of India, a chief minister is the elected head of government of the each state out of 28 states and sometimes a union territory (currently, only the UTs of Delhi and Puducherry have serving Chief Ministers). According to the Constitution of India, the Governor is a state's head, but de facto executive authority rests with the chief minister.
Following elections to the State Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) in a state, the state's governor usually invites the party (or coalition) with a majority of seats to form the government. The governor appoints and swears in the chief minister, whose Council of Ministers are collectively responsible to the assembly. Based on the Westminster system, given that he retains the confidence of the assembly, the chief minister's term can last for the length of the assembly's life maximum of five years. There are no limits to the number of terms that the chief minister can serve. A chief minister heads a state government's council of ministers and can be deputed in that role by a deputy chief minister.
The Constitution of India sets the principle qualifications one must meet to be eligible to the office of the chief minister. A chief minister must be:
- a citizen of India.
- should be a member of the state legislature. If a person is elected chief minister who is not a member of the legislature, then he/she must take sign from governor.
- of 25 years of age or more
An individual who is not a member of the legislature can be considered as the chief minister provided he/she gets himself/herself elected to the State Legislature within six months from the date of their appointment. Failing which, he/she would cease to be the chief minister.
The chief minister is elected through a majority in the state legislative assembly. This is procedurally established by the vote of confidence in the legislative assembly, as suggested by the governor of the state who is the appointing authority. They are elected for five years.  The chief minister shall hold office during the pleasure of the governor.
Since, according to the constitution, the chief minister is appointed by the governor, the swearing in is done before the governor of the state.
The oath of office
I, do swear in the name of God/solemnly affirm that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, that I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India, that I will faithfully and conscientiously discharge my duties as a Minister for the State of and that I will do right to all manner of people in accordance with the Constitution and the law without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.— Constitution of India, Schedule 3, Para 5
The oath of secrecy
I, <Name of Minister>, do swear in the name of God/solemnly affirm that I will not directly or indirectly communicate or reveal to any person or persons any matter which shall be brought under my consideration or shall become known to me as a Minister for the State of <Name of the State> except as may be required for the due discharge of my duties as such Minister.— Constitution of India, Schedule 3, Para 6
In the event of a Chief Minister's resignation, which conventionally occurs after a general election or during a phase of assembly majority transition, the outgoing Chief minister holds the informal title of "caretaker" chief minister until the Governor either appoints a new chief minister or dissolves the assembly. Since the post is not constitutionally defined, the caretaker chief minister enjoys all the powers a regular chief minister, but cannot to make any major policy decisions or cabinet changes during his/her short tenure as caretaker.
By Article 164 of the constitution of India, remuneration of the chief minister as well as other ministers are to be decided by the respective state legislatures. Until the legislature of the state decides salary, it shall be as specified in the second schedule. The salaries thus vary from state to state. As of 2019, the highest salary is drawn by chief ministers of Telangana, which is ₹410,000 (US$5,700) and lowest by the chief ministers of Tripura which is ₹105,500 (US$1,500)legally.
Deputy chief minister
Various states throughout the history have appointed Deputy Chief Ministers. Despite being not mentioned in the constitution or law, the Deputy-Chief minister office is often used to pacify factions within the party or coalition. It is similar to the rarely used Deputy-Prime minister post in Central government of India. During the absence of the Chief minister, the deputy-CM may chair cabinet meetings and lead the Assembly majority. Various deputy chief ministers have also taken the oath of secrecy in line with the one that chief minister takes. This oath has also sparked controversies.
- "States and Union Territories". knowindia.gov.in.
- Durga Das Basu. Introduction to the Constitution of India. 1960. 20th Edition, 2011 Reprint. pp. 241, 245. LexisNexis Butterworths Wadhwa Nagpur. ISBN 978-81-8038-559-9.
- Constitution of India, Article 173
- The Constitution of India article 164, clause 1
- "Caretaker chief minister is just a placeholder, say experts". The Times of India. 12 February 2017.
- The Constitution of India, article 164,clause 5
- The Constitution of India, Article 164, Clause 5
- Jain, CA Sindu (2017-05-21). "CM Salary India 2019 (Chief Minister Salary State Wise List)". FinApp. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
- Dhananjay Mahapatra (27 December 2017). "Deputy CM: Not in Constitution, yet a post with a long history". Times of India. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
- S. Rajendran (13 July 2012). "Of Deputy Chief Ministers and the Constitution". The Hindu. Retrieved 28 June 2019.