INDIA
Parliamentary Chamber: Lok Sabha

ELECTIONS HELD IN 1989

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Chamber:
  Lok Sabha


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  22 November 1989
26 November 1989


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for 525 seats in the Lok Sabha on the normal expiry of the members’ term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  The election dates were announced on 17 October 1989. The five-week campaign was marked by widespread violence. Of the 543 elective Lok Sabha seats, contests in 18 constituencies were postponed so that a total of 525 seats were filled in November. Vying for these were more than 6,000 candidates.

Opposing the ruling Indian National Congress (or Congress (I)) party of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was a five-party National Front national coalition formed in 1988 and led by Mr. Vishwanath Pratap (V.P.) Singh of the Janata Dal (People’s) party. In a majority of constituencies, the opposition groups agreed to field joint candidates. Key campaign issues included corruption in public circles (especially the Bofors bribery scandal), communal tensions (particularly in the northern states) and opposition unity. Mr. Gandhi stressed that the unity of India was the biggest issue for his party, warning that the country would be unstable under opposition rule. He furthermore called for a decentralization of federal power.

On polling day, Congress (I) retained its position as largest party in the Lok Sabha but fell well short of an absolute majority. Although the centrist Front – consisting of Janata Dal, Telugu Desam, Congress (S), Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) – likewise failed in this attempt, it subsequently received sufficient pledges of backing from both right- and left-wing groups to attain this majority. Prominent among these was the rightist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP.), with 88 seats. As in 1977, when Congress (I) previously lost, the 1989 results highlighted a clear divide between northern and southern India, the former opposing the party. Some 275 members were elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time.

On 1 December, Mr. Singh was invited to form the new Government – the first minority Government since independence in 1947. He was sworn in as Prime Minister the next day and the new Council of Ministers was named on 5 December.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (22 to 26 November 1989): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 498,647,786
Voters 58% (approx.)
Valid votes 290,366,661

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Candidates Votes %
Congress (I) 502 117,959,769 40.62
Janata Dal (JD) 241 52,966,160 18.24
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 224 34,467,810 11.87
Communist Party of India (CPM) 62 19,223,000 6.63
Communist Party of India (CPI) 54 7,787,795 2.68
Independents and other parties** 4,996 57,962,127 19.96

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total*
Congress (I) 193
Janata Dal (JD) 140
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 88
Communist Party of India (CPM) 32
Communist Party of India (CPI) 12
Independents and other parties** 59

Comments:
  Excluding the Speaker, two nominated members, and 18 vacancies.
* Situation on 2 December, when the Ninth Lok Sabha was constituted.
** Including especially the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) with 11 seats and the Akali Dal with 6 seats.

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 506
Women: 29

Comments:
  Data unavailable on remaining 10 members.


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Copyright 1989 Inter-Parliamentary Union