INDIA
Parliamentary Chamber: Lok Sabha

ELECTIONS HELD IN 1991

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Chamber:
  Lok Sabha


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  20 May 1991
12 June 1991
15 June 1991


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for 511 seats in the Lok Sabha following premature dissolution of this body on 13 March 1991. General elections had previously been held in November 1989.

Polling was postponed in three of India’s States for security reasons.


Background and outcome of elections:

  The Lok Sabha was prematurely dissolved by President of Republic R. Venkataraman following various governmental crises. In November 1990, the 11-month-old National Front coalition Government of Prime Minister V.P. Singh lost a parliamentary vote of confidence and Mr. C. Shekhar of the Jamata Dal (Socialist) party was sworn in to lead another minority Government. On 6 March 1991, he in turn resigned after differences with the Congress (I) party of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, paving the way for dissolution of the legislature one week later. The polling dates were then set on 12 April.

Three main political forces confronted each other: the centrist Congress (I), the right-wing Bharatiya Jamata Party (BJP) and the left-wing National Front, a coalition including Jamata Dal (S) and two communist parties. Congress (I), led by M. Gandhi, billed itself as the only group capable of bringing unity and stability to India, particularly by ending sectarian violence and bringing under control the country’s ailing economy (marked especially by inflation, fiscal deficit and foreign debt) through progressive liberalization - a departure from the party’s original orientation to socialism. The ultra nationalist BJP, led by Mr. L.K. Advani, drew inspiration from Hindu political and religious tradition, and advocated a deregulated economy based on self-reliance. The National Front, still led by Mr. V.P. Singh, championed the cause of the downtrodden, calling for a social revolution to break the barriers of caste. Altogether more than 9,000 candidates participated in the four-week campaign, which was peppered by violence.

After the first polling day (20 May), at which 211 of the seats were filled, Mr. Gandhi was assassinated while campaigning near Madras. The remaining election days were consequently postponed until mid-June. Final results produced no absolute majority although there was a clear swing to the right and Congress (I) once again emerged with the largest number of seats. In percentage terms, voter turnout (approximately 53%) was the lowest ever in parliamentary elections.

On 21 June, Mr. P.V. Narasimha Rao of Congress (I) was sworn in as Prime Minister as head of a minority Government; the new Cabinet took oath the same day.

STATISTICS
Round no 1: Elections results  
Number of registered electors 521,000,000 (approx.)
Voters 53%

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Congress (I) 226
Bharatiya Jamata Party 119
Jamata Dal (JD) 55
Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI (M)) 35
Telegu Desam (TD) 14
Communist Party of India (CPI) 13
All-India Anna Dravida Monnetra Kazhagam (A-IADMK) 11
Other parties 33

Comments:
  Excluding 19 seats where polling postponed, 17 countermanded or withheld results, 2 nominated seats and independent membership.

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 472
Women: 36

Distribution of seats according to age:  
25-30 years 8
31-35 years 32
36-40 years 50
41-45 years 75
46-50 years 87
51-55 years 71
56-60 years 65
61-65 years 66
66-70 years 32
71-75 years 14
76-80 years 4
81-85 years 1


Distribution of seats according to profession:

 
Farmers 162
Lawyers 83
Political workers 59
Teachers 38
Social workers 32
Doctors 25
Businessmen 23
Educationists 11
Journalists 10
Military 7
Civil servants 7
Engineers 7
Traders 7
Industrialists 6
Artists 4
Diplomats 4
Religious missionaries 3
Others 20

Comments:
  Data unavailable on remaining members.


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Copyright 1991 Inter-Parliamentary Union