India is having its 17th general election. It is one of biggest election exercise in the world. India is a parliamentary democracy. India’s parliamentary system is divided into two levels. Upper house is called Raj Sabha and Lower House is called Lok Sabha. The party who’s most candidates win will have majority seats in Lok Sabha, constitutes a federal level government for a period of 5 years. There is no interim political system in place. Although executive branch of government comes under control Election commission of India. This step is taken so that all operations to be executed for elections are independent of any pressure.
Constitutional assembly (1946-1949)
The Constitutional Assembly consisted of elected representatives. It was set up for the purpose of drafting constitution. It continued to work after independence in 1947, to be turned in as India’s first parliament. Muslims and Sikhs were also given special representation as minorities. In order to fulfill the constitutional responsibility the Constitutional Assembly approximately took three years (for two years, eleven months and seven days).
1st Lok Sabha Indian Election (1952-1957)
This was first General Election of independent India. The elections were held for 489 general seats. The total number of eligible voters were around 170.3 million. Indian National Congress (INC) won 364 seats. Other two notable parties who came out with significant representation were: First one was Communist Party of India (CPI) with 16 seats and second one was socialist party which secured 12 seats. The Congress was able to gain 45% of the votes. Bharti jan sang (BJS) the ancestral party of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), won only 3 seats. Independent candidates won second highest seats in 1st Lok Sabha elections. Resultantly Jawaharlal Nehru was elected as first Prime Minister of Independent India.
2nd Lok Sabha Indian Election (1957-1962)
In second Lok Sabha elections total number of seats were increased by 5 making them 494 seats from 489. Indian National Congress (INC) won 371 making it largest party in house. Only two other parties won two digit seats. The Communist party of India (CPI) had 27 seats and the Praja Socialist Party (PSP) 19 seats. The Congress took 48 percent of the total votes. Bharatiya Jan Sangh (BJS) won only 4 seats. Against the Congress, most of the candidates won were independent. Then Jawaharlal Nehru was elected as the prime minister. There was no opposition leader during the second Lok Sabha elections.
3rd Lok Sabha Indian Election (1962-1967)
Lok Sabha consisted of 494 seats, the Indian National Congress (UNIC) won 361. 3rd Lok Sabha elections saw saturated results when four parties won double number seats (CPI, Jan Singh, Swatantra Party and PSP). Share of Congress vote was reduced from 48% to 45% but still Jawaharlal Nehru was elected prime minister of India. But after the death of Nehru in 1964, Gulzarilal Nanda became the prime minister for some time, after which Lal Bahadur Shastri had 19 months before his death. After his death Indra Gandhi became Prime minister in 1966. She was first women to become the Prime minister of India.
4th Lok Sabha Indian Election (1967-1970)
Lok Sabha seats were increased from 494 to 520 this was addition of 26 seats due to rise in population. Now voters of India stood at 25 million in 1967. Indira Gandhi led charge while going into 4th lok sabha election. Congress won 283 seats out of 520. But the Congress vote share went down to 41% from previous 1962’s 45%. Rajasthan Raj Gopal Chari’s Swatantra Party got 44 seats and emerged as a major opposition party. In this election, six other parties won seats in two digits. As a result of this election, Indira Gandhi won second time in row and became prime minister of India.
5th Lok Sabha Indian Election (1971-1977)
It was the first election after Indira Gandhi’s separation from the Congress. She won a land sliding 352 seats out of 518 seats of lok sabha. On the other hand, the separated faction of Congress party could win only 16 seats under Morarji Desai’s leadership. Indira Gandhi became prime minister for the third time. It was 1975, a temporary emergency was enforced for 1 year and 9 months, which had a major impact on India’s politics. Sanjay Gandhi (Indira Gandhi’s son) was alleged with political victimization of those who differed from congress.
6th Lok Sabha Indian Election (1977-1979)
This was the first election after the emergency. Bhartiya Lok Dal (Janta Party) was successful for the first time after defeating Indian Congress. Breaking 30 year rule of Congress and Gandhi family over India. Bhartiya Lok Dal was conjunction of seven parties at the end of 1974 to oppose Congress, notable parties are Swatantra Party, Utkal Congress, Bharatiya Kranti Dal, and Socialist Party. Bharti lok dal, Jan Sang and Indian National Congress (organization) joined forces together and formed Janta Party. Congress failed miserably and secured 154 seats while Bharatiya lok dal got 295 seats out of 542 and formed first non-congress government. Morarji desai became the Prime Minister, but in 1979, some parties separated from the alliance so after that, Charan Singh became Prime Minister.
7th Lok Sabha Indian Election (1980-1984)
Janta party failed miserably and could not keep government afloat for long. This caused reelection for first time in the history of India, In that Congress won 353 seats in 529 led by Indira Gandhi. Janata Party and allies could not win seats like the 1977 elections. There was no opposition leader in the end due to factions in opposition and Indira Gandhi took advantage of it as she took opportunity to form government.
8th Lok Sabha Indian Election (1984-1989)
After the Operation Blue Star, Indira Gandhi’s own Sikh guards killed her. After which Sikh anti-riots started. Swinging up the incidents, Indira Gandhi’s son Rajiv Gandhi led Congress and won 404 seats in 514 seats and made the government. This was time when emotions were high and sympathies for Congress were all time high since Independence. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) got 2 seats in their first election. One in Andhra Pradesh other in Gujrat. Rajiv Gandhi despite never being interested in politics became Prime Minister after death of his brother and later his mother.
9th Lok Sabha Indian Election (1989-1991)
Out of 529 seats congress won 197, Janata Dal 143, Bharatiya Janata Party won 85 seats. This decline in popularity was caused by two major issues Bofors guns purchase scandal and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Janata Dal joined the BJP and the left-left parties and made the National front government. After this joining of forces, Vishwanath Prabhu Singh (VP Singh) became Prime Minister. Janata Dal had a person who thought he could challenge him, opposing him was Chandra Shekhar, he separated from party and formed the Samajwadi party. Due to this, VP Singh had to vacate the Prime Minister’s chair and Chandra Shekhar became prime minister with support of Congress in 1990. This experience was not successful too. It has to be done again in 2 years rescheduling elections.
10th Lok Sabha Indian Election (1991-1996)
Congress won 232 seats taking majority in parliament while the BJP won 120 out of 521 seats. Resultantly, PV Narasimha Rao became the first prime minister. He was first South Indian to become Prime Minister. Future Prime minister Manmohan Singh was finance minister in his era. Under Rao’s leadership he made economic reforms in India which provided base for future growth. This election was a complex one as Rajiv Gandhi was killed in a blast during the 1991 election campaign by LTTE, allegedly. He was killed in a bomb blast in Chennai Nadu town of Chennai. The responsibility of this attack was accepted by Tamil Tigers. This election is also called the Mandal Mandir Election due to Mandal report and babri masjid issue. Mandal report proposal for allotment of 27% of different backward castes was proposed which lead to mass protests. Bharatiya Janata party ran election campaign on Babri Masjid on belief that Ram was born at that place and Mughal rulers built the mosque there.
11th Lok Sabha Indian Election (1996-1998)
Parliament in result of this election was divided in various parties. It was first time when Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won major portion of seats in parliament. BJP 161 seats coming out as biggest party. The Congress came out second after winning 140 seats and Janata Dal won 46 seats. The regional parties got seats as well among them were Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Shiv Sena and All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). The major reason of this was The Indian National Congress was surrounded by scandals in the election. The various factions were also on the rise within the Congress. President of that time Shankar Dera Sharma invited the BJP to make the government as the custom. The BJP made a coalition government, but Atal Bihari became Prime Minister for first time but due to resistance he had to step aside in just 13 days as the leadership of Vajpayee because he could not convince other parties with his views as Prime Minister. Before the vote of no confidence, Atal Bihari resigned from his position while addressing the Lok sabha. The Congress also refused to make the government, while supported Janata Dal and other small parties to make the United Front government commonly referred as “UPA Sarkar”. The United Front alliance made Haradanahalli Doddegowda Deve Gowda (H. D. Deve Gowda) as prime minister, after 18 months he was replaced by Inder Kumar Gujral (I.K. Gujral) as Prime Minister of India. But inside, I. K. Gujral also could not stay long due to differences with Janata Dal. Result was another general election in India.
12th Lok Sabha Indian Election (1998-1999)
Bharatiya Janata Party won 182 seats out of 543 seats. The Congress took 141 seats and other regional parties were able to secure 101 seats. The BJP made National Democratic Alliance (NDA) with regional parties. Atal Bihari Vajpayee took oath as the Prime Minister for the second time. But 13 months later, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIDDM), withdrew support from the alliance. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) lost 1 vote when Odisha’s Chief Minister Dr. Giridhar Gamang did not vote for NDA. During this period, India was going on with its nuclear ambition. India carried out its nuclear test in Pokhran. This resulted in international pressure. Pakistan carried out nuclear test in Chagai. After that Kargil War happened which caused even more instability in the region.
13th Lok Sabha Indian Election (1999-2004)
In this election Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 182 seats, Congress was able to secure 114 seats only. Regional parties bagged second highest 158 seats in this election. This election took place right after Kargil War so BJP was able to sell its anti-Pakistan agenda. The BJP went on to making stronger National Democratic Alliance (NDA) this time. This was the first non-Congress Alliance government which was able to complete 5 years parliamentary calendar. As a result, Atal Bihari Vajpayee became Prime Minister for the third time.
14th Lok Sabha Indian Election (2004-2009)
Bharatiya Janata Party led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was defeated. The BJP won only 138 seats while Congress got 145 seats. Other parties won 159 seats in this election. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced the early elections thinking that it will be able to secure middle class vote. The BJP kick started election campaign with India Shining slogan. The people of the middle class supported it but the middle class and lower-middle households voted for Congress and local parties. Consequently, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was defeated. The BJP accepted the defeat and Congress together with other parties made the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). In dramatic turn Sonia Gandhi refused to become prime minister. Sonia Gandhi announced Manmohan Singh will be the Prime Minister. Previously he was the head of the Planning Commission, State Bank and the Finance Ministry.
15th Lok Sabha Indian Election (2009-2014)
L.K. Advani, led by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) of congress. The Congress won 206 seats. BJP won 116 seats. Regional parties won 146 seats in this election.
The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) delivered Right to information (RTI) law and the benefits of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) along with many other promises made in election campaign previously which boosted their credibility. The government also absolved the loans issued in 2008. In this background the congress went to field for election and won. The UPA has come to the government for the second time. Dr. Manmohan Singh became the Prime Minister second time of the United Progressive Alliance. But this parliamentary calendar did not went well. Scandals like 2G, Commonwealth Games, tainted their credibility. Manmohan Singh did not give any satisfactory answer to any scandal, and this silence benefited BJP.
16th Lok Sabha Indian Election (2014-2019)
The BJP won 282 seats, while Congress won 44 seats. This was a worse defeat for the Congress. The BJP had never won a majority in the Lok Sabha from 1984 to 2014. Finally, secular India was taken over.
From beginning UPA government went into the elections surrounded by scandals. Narendra Modi and BJP benefited from it. Rahul tried his best but the Congress was not able to match the BJP lead by Narendra Modi in elections. The total cost of 38.7 billion rupees was spent on this election. 1.8 Million Electronic voting machines were used.
After BJP won, relations with Pakistan went to all time low. Unemployment skyrocketed, the sound of Kashmir was even higher than Himalayas. Rafale deal, Pulwama attack and Abhinandan fiasco added fuel to fire.
17th Lok Sabha Indian Election 2019
At present, everyone’s eyes are on the current election campaign. The election is divided into seven parts over 39 days. These will be held from 11 April to 19 May. On 2 seats, Anglo Indians will be nominated by president.
In this election:
-There are 10 Million polling stations to be created.
-There are 900 million registered voters.
-There are 432 million women voters.
-16 million voters will vote for the first time.
Election campaign is on way. Let’s see who will win.