Indian general elections, 2004

From Academic Kids

Template:Politics of India Legislative elections were held in India, the world's largest democracy, in four phases between April 20 and May 10, 2004. Over 670 million people were eligible to vote, electing 543 members of the 14th Lok Sabha (the House of the People, the lower house of the Indian legislature). On May 13, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party conceded defeat after a unexpectedly strong showing by the Indian National Congress, which while not winning a majority outright was able to put together a majority under the direction of Gandhi family matriarch, Sonia Gandhi. (Gandhi is the Italian-born widow of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.) However, Gandhi surprised almost all observers by declining to become the new prime minister, citing the division that her rule would bring. Instead, she asked former Finance Minister Manmohan Singh, a Western-educated and well-respected economist, to take control of the new government. Singh had previously served under Congress Prime Minister Narasimha Rao in the early-1990s, where he was seen as the architect of India's first economic liberalization plan that staved off an impending national monetary crisis.

Seven states also held assembly elections to elect state governments along with the parliamentary elections.

Contents

Results

National election result

Party Name States contested Seats contested Seats won No. of Votes % of Votes % in Seats contested Forfeitied in seats
Indian National Congress 33 417 145 103408949 26.53% 34.43% 82
Bharatiya Janata Party 31 364 138 86371561 22.16% 34.39% 57
Communist Party of India (Marxist) 19 69 43 22070614 5.66% 42.31% 15
Bahujan Samaj Party 25 435 19 20765229 5.33% 6.66% 358
Samajwadi Party 23 237 36 16824072 4.32% 10.26% 169
Telugu Desam Party 1 33 5 11844811 3.04% 42.75% 0
Rashtriya Janata Dal 6 42 24 9384147 2.41% 31.27% 14
Janata Dal (United) 16 73 8 9144963 2.35% 17.73% 44
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 1 33 0 8547014 2.19% 35.59% 0
Nationalist Trinamool Congress 5 33 2 8071867 2.07% 29.97% 7
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 1 16 16 7064393 1.81% 58.24% 0
Shiv Sena 14 56 12 7056255 1.81% 17.90% 34
Nationalist Congress Party 11 32 9 7023175 1.80% 33.98% 10
Janata Dal (Secular) 12 43 3 5732296 1.47% 15.67% 24
Communist Party of India 15 34 10 5484111 1.41% 23.70% 19
Biju Janata Dal 1 12 11 5082849 1.30% 51.15% 0
Shiromani Akali Dal 1 10 8 3506681 0.90% 43.42% 0
Lok Jan Shakti Party 12 40 4 2771427 0.71% 10.02% 32
Rashtriya Lok Dal 11 32 3 2463607 0.63% 11.08% 23
Telangana Rashtra Samithi 1 22 5 2441405 0.63% 13.19% 17
Pattali Makkal Katchi 2 6 6 2169020 0.56% 51.66% 0
Asom Gana Parishad 1 12 2 2069600 0.53% 23.53% 4
Indian National Lok Dal 4 20 0 1936703 0.50% 12.60% 14
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha 4 9 5 1846843 0.47% 28.43% 3
Revolutionary Socialist Party 3 6 3 1689794 0.43% 33.50% 2
Marumaralarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 1 4 4 1679870 0.43% 58.23% 0
All India Forward Bloc 5 10 3 1365055 0.35% 18.81% 7
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation 18 65 0 1281688 0.33% 2.72% 63
Apna Dal 7 86 0 844053 0.22% 1.48% 86
Indian Union Muslim League 6 10 1 770098 0.20% 9.61% 8
Gondvana Gantantra Party 5 31 0 720189 0.18% 3.59% 29
Nagaland Peoples Front 2 3 1 715366 0.18% 31.77% 2
Janata Party 12 58 0 517683 0.13% 1.20% 57
Haryana Vikas Party 1 9 0 506122 0.13% 6.88% 8
Jammu & Kashmir National Conference 1 6 2 493067 0.13% 22.02% 2
Bharipa Bahujan Mahasabha 1 16 0 428566 0.11% 3.65% 15
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen 1 2 1 417248 0.11% 21.29% 1
Shiromani Akali Dal (Simranjit Singh Mann) 1 6 0 387682 0.10% 7.72% 5
Republican Party of India (Athvale) 5 7 1 367510 0.09% 6.31% 6
National Loktantrik Party 6 18 1 367049 0.09% 2.81% 17
Kerala Congress 1 1 1 353905 0.09% 48.52% 0
Kannada Nadu Party 1 21 0 349183 0.09% 1.90% 21
Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya) 7 10 1 337386 0.09% 5.32% 9
Peasants and Workers Party of India 1 3 0 319572 0.08% 14.74% 2
Republican Party of India 8 18 0 295545 0.08% 2.17% 17
Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party 2 14 0 275267 0.07% 2.83% 14
Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party 1 3 1 267457 0.07% 39.29% 0
Peoples Republican Party 2 2 0 261219 0.07% 16.26% 1
Indian Federal Democratic Party 1 1 1 256411 0.07% 34.38% 0
Kerala Congress (Mani) 1 1 0 209880 0.05% 28.14% 0
Rashtriya Samanta Dal 4 21 0 209694 0.05% 1.44% 21
Samata Party 13 40 0 201276 0.05% 0.75% 40
Lok Bhalai Party 1 1 0 187787 0.05% 21.59% 0
Mizo National Front 1 1 1 182864 0.05% 52.46% 0
Bharatiya Navshakti Party 2 4 1 171080 0.04% 9.25% 3
All Jharkhand Students Union 1 5 0 157930 0.04% 5.21% 5
Sikkim Democratic Front 1 1 1 153409 0.04% 69.84% 0
Marxist Co-ordination Committee 1 1 0 147470 0.04% 15.66% 1
Rashtriya Samaj Paksha 2 13 0 146571 0.04% 1.49% 13
Rashtriya Parivartan Dal 1 3 0 139145 0.04% 5.98% 2
Jharkhand Disom Party 3 7 0 135685 0.03% 2.59% 7
Pyramid Party of India 1 13 0 130362 0.03% 1.11% 13
Ekta Shakti 1 3 0 126924 0.03% 5.04% 3
Autonomous State Demand Committee 1 1 0 101808 0.03% 25.36% 0
Akhil Bharatiya Sena 1 1 0 92210 0.02% 26.50% 0
Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha 12 33 0 88214 0.02% 0.38% 33
Federal Party of Manipur 1 1 0 88179 0.02% 21.18% 0
Bihar People’s Party 1 1 0 86418 0.02% 12.97% 1
Party of Democratic Socialism 1 2 0 81999 0.02% 4.93% 2
Samata Samaj Party 4 6 0 78791 0.02% 1.94% 6
Manipur Peoples Party 1 1 0 77055 0.02% 12.45% 1
Arunachal Congress 1 1 0 76527 0.02% 34.54% 0
Jharkhand Party 3 8 0 74364 0.02% 1.39% 8
Jammu & Kashmir National Panthers Party 3 7 0 70078 0.02% 2.00% 7
Indian Justice Party 7 29 0 67914 0.02% 0.34% 29
Jharkhand Party (Naren) 1 3 0 67782 0.02% 2.82% 3
United Minorities Front, Assam 1 2 0 64657 0.02% 4.17% 2
Labour Party (Secular) 3 20 0 63989 0.02% 0.42% 20
Rashtriya Swabhimaan Party 4 31 0 58296 0.01% 0.27% 31
Pragatisheel Manav Samaj Party 1 6 0 54746 0.01% 1.31% 6
Lok Rajya Party 1 8 0 54097 0.01% 0.91% 8
Bahujan Kisan Dal 1 9 0 52669 0.01% 0.88% 9
Majlis Bachao Tehreek 1 1 0 47560 0.01% 4.82% 1
Peoples Democratic Party 1 1 0 45720 0.01% 6.26% 1
Uttarakhand Kranti Dal 1 4 0 43899 0.01% 2.02% 4
Marxist Communist Party of India 1 4 0 38766 0.01% 1.05% 4
Amra Bangalee 3 7 0 38107 0.01% 0.71% 7
Vidharba Rajya Party 1 2 0 36974 0.01% 2.57% 2
Urs Samyukta Paksha 1 3 0 33128 0.01% 1.29% 3
Ambedkarist Republican Party 1 7 0 31467 0.01% 0.62% 7
Prabuddha Republican Party 1 7 0 29792 0.01% 0.51% 7
Rashtrawadi Communist Party 1 1 0 28757 0.01% 5.03% 1
Rashtriya Samajik Nayak Paksha 1 1 0 27594 0.01% 4.04% 1
Sampurna Vikas Dal 1 3 0 27135 0.01% 1.04% 3
Tamil Desiyak Katchi 1 2 0 25348 0.01% 1.82% 2
Kosi Vikas Party 1 2 0 25258 0.01% 1.93% 2
Chhattisgarhi Samaj Party 1 3 0 24696 0.01% 1.21% 3
Bharatiya Manavata Vikas Party 1 2 0 24176 0.01% 1.33% 2
Loktantrik Samajwadi Party 3 3 0 22811 0.01% 1.12% 3
Savarn Samaj Party 2 7 0 21246 0.01% 0.46% 7
Ambedkar Samaj Party 1 9 0 20767 0.01% 0.36% 9
Indian National League 1 4 0 20159 0.01% 0.53% 4
Bharatiya Gaon Taj Dal 2 11 0 19909 0.01% 0.21% 11
Akhil Bharatiya Congress Dal (Ambedkar) 1 2 0 19548 0.01% 1.36% 2
Socialist Party (Lohia) 1 1 0 18628 0.00% 1.98% 1
Shivrajya Party 1 4 0 18374 0.00% 0.64% 4
Samajwadi Jan Parishad 1 2 0 17717 0.00% 1.50% 2
Hindustan Janta Party 1 4 0 17410 0.00% 0.48% 4
Revolutionary Communist Party of India 1 1 0 16691 0.00% 2.50% 1
Bharatiya Republican Paksha 4 10 0 16546 0.00% 0.21% 10
Rashtriya Vikas Party 3 5 0 15159 0.00% 0.33% 5
Trinamool Gana Parishad 1 1 0 14933 0.00% 1.69% 1
Manuvadi Party 1 5 0 14233 0.00% 0.47% 5
Bharat Kranti Rakshak Party 1 7 0 12547 0.00% 0.27% 7
Rashtriya Hamara Dal 1 1 0 12346 0.00% 1.92% 1
Parivartan Samaj Party 2 5 0 12273 0.00% 0.32% 5
Bharatiya Eklavya Party 1 2 0 12197 0.00% 0.88% 2
Proutist Sarva Samaj Party 3 4 0 11561 0.00% 0.41% 4
Bharatiya Rashtravadi Paksha 1 1 0 11459 0.00% 2.54% 1
Paschim Banga Rajya Muslim League 1 1 0 10446 0.00% 1.04% 1
Rajasthan Vikas Party 1 2 0 10032 0.00% 0.70% 2
Lokpriya Samaj Party 2 3 0 9913 0.00% 0.40% 3
Akhil Bharatiya Jan Sangh 5 7 0 9707 0.00% 0.23% 7
Rashtriya Krantikari Samajwadi Party 1 5 0 9145 0.00% 0.28% 5
Vidharbha Janata Congress 1 2 0 9097 0.00% 0.63% 2
Shoshit Samaj Dal 2 4 0 8862 0.00% 0.31% 4
Jai Hind Party 2 3 0 8645 0.00% 0.29% 3
Bharatiya Minorities Suraksha Mahasangh 1 3 0 8200 0.00% 0.38% 3
Akhil Bharatiya Desh Bhakt Morcha 1 1 0 7696 0.00% 1.35% 1
Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party 1 2 0 7584 0.00% 1.37% 2
Rashtriya Sawarn Dal 2 2 0 7374 0.00% 0.34% 2
Navbharat Nirman Party 2 7 0 7169 0.00% 0.11% 7
Krantikari Samyavadi Party 1 1 0 6948 0.00% 1.00% 1
Democratic Bharatiya Samaj Party 1 2 0 6717 0.00% 0.45% 2
Youth and Students Party 1 1 0 6580 0.00% 0.84% 1
Ephraim Union 1 1 0 6512 0.00% 1.87% 1
Akhil Bharatiya Lok Tantrik Alp-Sankhyak Jan Morcha 1 1 0 6003 0.00% 1.29% 1
United Goans Democratic Party 1 1 0 5881 0.00% 1.98% 1
Pichhra Samaj Party 1 1 0 5672 0.00% 0.80% 1
Momin Conference 1 1 0 5113 0.00% 0.72% 1
Labour Party of India (V.V. Prasad) 1 1 0 4977 0.00% 0.42% 1
All India Minorities Front 1 1 0 4874 0.00% 0.70% 1
Republican Party of India (Khobragade) 1 1 0 4790 0.00% 0.72% 1
Bahujan Vikas Party 1 2 0 4533 0.00% 0.32% 2
Naari Shakti Party 1 1 0 4649 0.00% 0.42% 1
Bharatiya Ekta Dal 1 1 0 4312 0.00% 0.62% 1
Shikshit Berozgar Sena 1 1 0 4303 0.00% 0.60% 1
Yuva Gantantra Party 1 1 0 4140 0.00% 0.58% 1
Rashtravadi Janata Party 1 1 0 3737 0.00% 0.24% 1
Kranti Kari Jai Hind Sena 1 3 0 3393 0.00% 0.12% 3
Mudiraj Rashtriya Samithi 1 1 0 3345 0.00% 0.33% 1
Sikkim Sangram Parishad 1 1 0 3216 0.00% 1.46% 1
Janata Vikas Party 1 1 0 3173 0.00% 0.55% 1
National Students Party 1 1 0 3069 0.00% 0.37% 1
Secular Party of India 1 2 0 3041 0.00% 0.21% 2
Vikas Party 1 2 0 2998 0.00% 0.23% 2
Social Action Party 1 1 0 2987 0.00% 0.46% 1
Akhil Bharatiya Rashtriya Azad Hind Party 1 1 0 2801 0.00% 0.48% 1
Loktantrik Chetna Party 1 1 0 2776 0.00% 0.53% 1
Sikkim Himali Rajya Parishad 1 1 0 2765 0.00% 1.26% 1
Janmangal Paksh 1 1 0 2684 0.00% 0.41% 1
Sanatan Samaj Party 1 1 0 2679 0.00% 0.56% 1
Rashtriya Lok Seva Morcha 1 1 0 2476 0.00% 0.32% 1
Lok Sewa Dal 1 1 0 2646 0.00% 0.39% 1
Jana Unnayan Mancha 1 1 0 2592 0.00% 0.31% 1
Republican Party of India (Democratic) 1 1 0 2370 0.00% 0.29% 1
Bharatiya Lok Kalyan Dal 1 1 0 2242 0.00% 0.33% 1
Panchayat Raj Party 1 1 0 2165 0.00% 0.24% 1
Bharatiya Backward Party 1 2 0 2162 0.00% 0.14% 2
All Kerala M.G.R. Dravida Munnetra Party 1 1 0 2158 0.00% 0.28% 1
Akhil Bharatiya Rajarya Sabha 1 2 0 2080 0.00% 0.17% 2
Bharat ki Lok Jimmedar Party 1 1 0 2055 0.00% 0.33% 1
Rashtriya Garima Party 1 1 0 2043 0.00% 0.24% 1
Rashtriya Garib Dal 1 1 0 1977 0.00% 0.24% 1
Ekta Kranti Dal U.P. 1 2 0 1939 0.00% 0.15% 2
Bharatiya Labour Party 1 1 0 1758 0.00% 0.25% 1
Phule Bharti Lok Party 1 1 0 1690 0.00% 0.22% 1
Bharatiya Prajatantrik Shudh Gandhiwadi Krishak Dal 1 1 0 1689 0.00% 0.24% 1
Mool Bharati (S) Party 1 1 0 1675 0.00% 0.19% 1
Bharatiya Nagrik Party 1 2 0 1580 0.00% 0.13% 2
Jammu & Kashmir Awami League 1 1 0 1519 0.00% 0.78% 1
Hind Morcha 1 1 0 1459 0.00% 0.09% 1
Jharkhand People’s Party 1 1 0 1449 0.00% 0.21% 1
Maharashtra Rajiv Congress 1 1 0 1399 0.00% 0.15% 1
Janhit Samaj Party 1 1 0 1310 0.00% 0.15% 1
Vijeta Party 1 1 0 1304 0.00% 0.14% 1
Socialistic Democratic Party 1 1 0 1265 0.00% 0.65% 1
Jansatta Party 1 1 0 1189 0.00% 0.14% 1
Federal Congress of India 1 1 0 1037 0.00% 0.13% 1
Nidaya Malik (N) Party 1 1 0 1030 0.00% 0.17% 1
Indian Bahujan Samajwadi Party 1 1 0 972 0.00% 0.14% 1
Desh Bhakt Party 1 3 0 912 0.00% 0.06% 3
Ambedkar National Congress 1 1 0 825 0.00% 0.10% 1
NTR Telugu Desam Party (Lakshmi Parvathi) 1 1 0 759 0.00% 0.09% 1
Akhil Bharatiya Loktantra Party 1 1 0 754 0.00% 0.11% 1
Jebamani Janata 1 1 0 734 0.00% 0.08% 1
Niswarth Sewa Party 1 1 0 730 0.00% 0.09% 1
Jan Chetna Party 1 1 0 671 0.00% 0.09% 1
Hindu Ekta Andolan Party 1 1 0 620 0.00% 0.08% 1
Krantikari Manuwadi Morcha 1 1 0 597 0.00% 0.10% 1
Bharatiya Prajatantra Party 1 1 0 573 0.00% 0.05% 1
Bharatiya Muhabbat Party (All India) 1 1 0 566 0.00% 0.08% 1
Manav Jagriti Manch 1 1 0 552 0.00% 0.04% 1
Bharatiya Janvadi Party 1 1 0 543 0.00% 0.07% 1
Bharatiya Surajya Manch 1 1 0 515 0.00% 0.19% 1
Rashtriya Janadhikar Party 1 1 0 487 0.00% 0.03% 1
Praja Party 1 1 0 485 0.00% 0.06% 1
Bharti Sarvadarshi Parishad 1 1 0 427 0.00% 0.07% 1
Shoshit Samaj Party 1 1 0 395 0.00% 0.07% 1
Rashtriya Sakar Party 1 1 0 379 0.00% 0.06% 1
Bharatiya Sarvkalayan Kranti Dal 1 1 0 365 0.00% 0.06% 1
Awami Party 1 1 0 327 0.00% 0.04% 1
Swaraj Dal 1 1 0 298 0.00% 0.19% 1
Akhand Bharati 1 1 0 138 0.00% 0.05% 1
Parmarth Party 1 1 0 126 0.00% 0.05% 1
Independents 32 2385 5 16549900 4.25% 4.64% 2370
Total 35 5435 543 389779784 100% - 4218

National summary of votes and seats

Votes and seats of the major parties are compared with those won in the 1999 election

Party Votes % Change Seats Change
All India Forward Bloc 1,367,280 0.3 0.0 3 +1
Asom Gana Parishad 2,069,610 0.5 - 2 -
Bahujan Samaj Party 20,713,468 5.3 +1.1 19 +5
Bharatiya Janata Party 85,866,593 22.2 -1.5 138 -44
Biju Janata Dal 5,084,428 1.3 +0.1 11 +1
Communist Party of India 5,434,738 1.4 -0.1 10 +6
Communist Party of India (Marxist) 22,061,677 5.7 +0.3 43 +11
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 7,064,393 1.8 +0.1 16 +4
Indian National Congress 103,405,272 26.7 -1.6 145 +32
Jammu and Kashmir National Conference 493,067 0.1 0.0 2 -2
Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party 267,457 0.0 - 1 -
Janata Dal (Secular) 5,732,296 1.5 +0.6 3 +2
Janata Dal (United) 9,924,209 2.6 -0.5 8 -11
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha 1,846,843 0.5 - 5 -
Kerala Congress 353,529 0.1 0.0 1 -
Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 1,679,870 0.4 0.0 4 -
Mizo National Front 182,864 0.0 - 1 -
Muslim League of Kerala 770,098 0.2 0.0 2 +1
Nagaland People's Front 715,366 0.2 - 1 -
Nationalist Congress Party 6,915,740 1.8 -0.5 9 +1
Nationalist Trinamool Congress 8,047,771 2.1 -0.5 2 -6
Pattali Makkal Katchi 2,169,020 0.5 -0.1 6 +1
Rashtriya Janata Dal 8,613,302 2.2 -0.5 21 +12
Revolutionary Socialist Party 1,717,228 0.4 0.0 3 -
Samajwadi Party 16,645,356 4.3 +0.5 36 +10
Shiromani Akali Dal 3,506,681 0.9 +0.2 8 +6
Shiv Sena 7,056,075 1.8 +0.2 12 -3
Sikkim Democratic Front 153,409 0.0 0.0 1 -
Telugu Desam Party 11,844,811 3.0 -0.6 5 -24
Other parties and independents 45,751,173 11.8 - 25 -
Total 387,453,223 - - 543 -

Source: Election Commission of India.

Elected MPs

See separate article, List of Members of the 14th Lok Sabha

Regional results

See separate article, Indian general elections, 2004-Regional Scenarios.

Results by party

Missing image
INC2004.PNG
Indian National Congress, Click for full picture
Missing image
BJP2004.PNG
Bharatiya Janata Party, Click for full picture
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CPM2004.png
Communist Party of India (Marxist), Click for full picture

There are a maximum of 545 members of Parliament: 543 elected, and two may be nominated by the President to represent the Anglo-Indian community. Repolling was ordered in four constituencies due to irregularities. The results in the remaining constituencies were as follows (parties recognised by the Election Commission as national parties are in italics, and regional or state parties parties in Roman font):

Organisation

The election dates for the parliamentary elections were:

Counting began simultaneously on 13 May. Over 370 million of the 675 million eligible citizens voted, with election violence claiming 48 lives, less than half the number killed during the 1999 election. The Indian elections were held in phases in order to maintain law and order. A few states considered sensitive areas required deployment of the armed forces. The average enrollment of voters in each constituency is 1.2 million, although the largest constituency has 3.1 million.

The Election Commission of India is responsible for deciding the dates and conducting elections according to constitutional provisions. The Election Commission employed more than a million electronic voting machines for these elections.

According to the magazine India Today, 115.62 billion rupees (approx USD 2.6 billion) were expected to have been spent in campaigning for the elections by all political parties combined. Most of the money was spent on the people involved in the election. The Election Commission limited poll expenses to Rs. 2.5 million (USD 57,000 approx.) per constituency. Thus, the actual spending is expected to have been approximately 10 times the limit. About 6.5 billion rupees (approx. USD 150 million) are estimated to have been spent on mobilising 150,000 vehicles. About a billion rupees are estimated to have been spent on helicopters and aircrafts.

Political background

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had recommended premature dissolution of the 13th Lok Sabha (in accordance with a provision of the Constitution) to pave the way for early elections apparently in view of the recent good showing of the BJP in the Assembly elections in four states. The two "major parties" in India are the BJP (led by Vajpayee) and the Congress (led by Sonia Gandhi).

Pre-poll alliances

In these elections, compared to the all the Lok Sabha elections of the 1990's, the battle was more of a head-to-head contest in the sense that there was no viable third front alternative. Largely the contest was between BJP and its allies on one hand and Congress and its allies on the other. The situation did, however, show large regional differences.

The BJP fought the elections as part of the NDA, although some of its seat-sharing agreements were made with strong regional parties outside of the NDA such as Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu.

Ahead of the elections there were attempts to form a Congress-led national level joint opposition front. In the end, an agreement could not be reached, but on regional level alliances between Congress and regional parties were made in several states. This was the first time that Congress contested with that type of alliances in a parliamentary election.

The left parties, most notably the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India, contested on their own in their strongholds West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala, confronting both Congress and NDA forces. In several other states, such as Punjab and Andhra Pradesh, they took part in seat sharings with Congress. In Tamil Nadu they were part of the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance.

Two parties refused to go along with either Congress or BJP, Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party. Both are based in Uttar Pradesh, the largest state of India. Congress made several attempts to form alliances with them, but in vain. Many believed that they would become the 'spoilers' that would rob Congress the electoral victory. The result was a four-cornered contest in UP, which didn't really hurt or benefit Congress or BJP significantly.

Forecast and campaigns

Most analysts believed the NDA would win the elections; this assessment was also supported by opinion polls. The economy had shown steady growth in the last few months and the disinvestment of government owned production units (a continuation of India's liberalisation policies initiated in the early 1990s) had been on track. The Foreign Exchange Reserves of India stood at more than USD 100 billion (7th largest in the world and a record for India). The service sector had also generated a lot of jobs. The party was supposed to have been riding on a wave of the so-called "feel good factor", typified by its promotional campaign "India Shining".

In the past, BJP has largely been seen as a hard-line Hindu party with close ties with the Hindu organisation the RSS. Over the years, the party has slightly distanced itself from its Hindutva policies. A change that is being questioned after the party's poor showing in the elections. These elections were marked by the campaign's emphasis on economic gains. From the last few elections, BJP had realised that its voter base had reached a ceiling and had concentrated on pre-poll rather than post-poll alliances. The foreign origin of Sonia Gandhi also constituted part of the NDA's campaign.

In contrast to NDA propaganda which had been high-profile and the source of much controversy and debate, Congress had a low profile campaign limited to regional media (in regional languages) instead of national media. The Congress Party was riding on slogans like "The Hand of Congress (the party's official symbol) is with the common man," indicating that it was banking on support from the vast majority of Indians and not so much on the upper middle class and the elite. According to their manifesto, Congress, if elected to power, would create 10 million new jobs, by employing more people in the government-owned companies and production units.

Analysis

Though pre-poll predictions were for an overwhelming majority for the BJP, the exit polls (immediately after the elections and before the counting began) predicted a hung parliament. However, even the exit polls could only indicate the general trend and nowhere close to the final figures. There is also the general perception that as soon as the BJP started realising that events might not proceed entirely in its favour, it changed the focus of its campaign from India Shining to issues of stability.

The reverses in the pre-poll predictions are ascribed to various reasons depending on the point of view.

  • People were more concerned about issues of their immediate environment such as water scarcity, drought, etc., than national issues.
  • The anti-incumbency factor was at work for the BJP allies.
  • The BJP government had concentrated more on the market and economic reforms that benefitted the urban people at the expense of the rural poor and the farmers.
  • The "India Shining" campaign went over the top concentrating on the above mentioned reforms and did not highlight on the reforms at the rural level.
  • People were concerned with communal issues after the Gujarat riots and thus their mandate for a secular government.
  • Congress was more inclusive and formed good pre-poll alliances.
  • Before the winning the Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan BJP ruled only in three states (Goa, Gujarat, and Jharkhand) and had lost most state elections to Congress. After the winning in the three states BJP had a false sense of popularity and elections were called early.

Impact

The rout of the ruling parties in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the general elections led to calls for the dissolution of the governments of these states.

The stock market (Bombay Stock Exchange) fell in the week prior to the announcement of the results due to fears of an unstable coalition. As soon as counting began, however, it became clear that the Congress coalition was headed for a sizeable lead over the NDA and the market surged, only to crash the following day when the left parties, whose support would be required for government formation, announced that it was their intention to do away with the disinvestment ministry. Following this, Manmohan Singh, the current Prime Minister and the prime architect of the economic liberalization of the early 1990s, hurried to reassure investors that the new government would strive to create a business-friendly climate.

Events

  • May 13 - The Congress and allies win a plurality of seats in the Lok Sabha (219 seats against 188 for the BJP).
  • May 13 - Counting of votes in the parliamentary elections begins.
  • May 11 - Congress wins the Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh by 2/3 majority.
  • May 10 - The fourth and final phase of elections comes to an end. Results will come out for 542 of the 543 parliament seats with elections to be held again in Chhapra.
  • May 5 - Third phase of polling comes to an end with the ruling coalition government gaining seats according to exit polls but still off the victory target. Reports of booth capturing in Chhapra capture headlines.
  • April 26 - Second phase of elections sees 55-60% polling. This is the final phase for assembly elections. Polling covers 136 parliamentary constituencies in 11 states. The share market starts to crash as it becomes evident that the NDA government may find it hard to come back to power -- raising doubts about the continuation of economic reforms initiated by the NDA government.
  • April 22 - Tripura, where polling was delayed because of a local holiday, votes for its two MPs. A turnout of close to 60% is reported, despite calls for abstention made by separatist militants.
  • April 20 - The first phase of the vote is held, with average turnouts of between 50% and 55%. Voting is reported as brisk, and the day unfolds relatively smoothly, albeit with some glitches reported with the electronic voting machines. Isolated violent incidents take place in Kashmir, Jammu, Manipur, and Jharkhand.
  • April 8 - The NDA's top leaders meet in New Delhi to adopt its manifesto for the elections, "Agenda for Development and Good Governance".
  • April 7 - Ram Jethmalani says he will contest the elections against Prime Minister Vajpayee as an independent candidate from Lucknow. He claims he will be supported by the Congress and some other parties.
  • April 6 - The BJP and the AIADMK tell the Election Commission that they will not stop raising the issue of the foreign origin of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
  • April 4 - A FIR is lodged against external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha for alleged violation of election code of conduct during a poll meeting in Ranchi. Besides Sinha, FIRs were lodged against three other BJP leaders who participated in the meeting.

See also

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