Parliamentary election and election scenario

In the midst of contrasting scenarios of on-going spectacular developments in the country, es-pecially Transport and Communication, IT, Health, and industrial sectors, etc.,
Parliamentary election and election scenario

 Gautam Ganguly


 In the midst of contrasting scenarios of on-going spectacular developments in the country, es-pecially Transport and Communication, IT, Health, and industrial sectors, etc., on the one hand, and issues of burgeoning unemployment, rising inflation, coupled with turbulent controversies, and electoral bonds on the other, our country is preparing itself to hold yet another parliamentary election, unanimously described as the largest political event in the nation and possibly the whole globe, to face the people’s mandate to constitute the 18th Lok Sabha. The seventh-phase election, the longest in Indian election history, is estimated to have a whopping 968 million registered voters in India.

A casual glance at the history of Indian elections familiarises us with the fact that notwithstanding the apprehensions voiced by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the Noble Laureate, about the possibility of success of Indian democracy due to her colossal illiteracy, subsequent election results magnify as to how the Indian electors have proved themselves politically prudent, expedient, and judicious in exercising their franchise to form ‘Union government’ ever since 1952. 

Considering the Indian literacy rate of 21.95% in 1961, which rose to 23.17% in 1971 and 32.32% in 1981, Field Marshall Ayub Khan, the then Pakistan President, in his tirade against India, remarked that democracy with illiteracy is total hypocrisy. However, time and again, the so-called un-educated Indian voters have risen to a man whenever problems and challenges, be they political, financial, or external aggression, have threatened the country and invariably voted for the solidarity of the country. In fact, a track record of electioneering reveals how the Indian electorate has successfully chosen from among candidates that range from sublime to ridiculous with uncanny accuracy.

In contrast to the Indian plentiful scenario, we find a smaller number of candidates in the fray in the UK or the USA, the world’s two best democracies, practising a ‘two party system’   thereby making the task of voters simpler. Consequently, issues, demands, and promises surrounding the election in England and the USA are not as glaringly contradictory and blatantly puzzling, thereby enabling the electorate to choose their preference from a small canvass.

A casual look at the past reveals that, until 1967, Congress had a clean sweep. Food shortage, devolution of Indian currency, and regional sentiments are attributed to the partial disillusionment of the Indian electorate with Congress in the general election of 1967, which led to the formation of a Union government with a reduced majority, securing only 243 seats. However, the success of the ‘green revolution’, the nationalisation of banks, and the abolition of ‘private purses’ were some of the progressive factors that impacted the electorate in the general election of 1971 and helped Congress win with an overwhelming majority. 

Unbridled authoritarianism, the imposition of emergencies, the amendment of the Indian Constitution, and many such reprehensible acts had disillusioned the Indian voters. The Congress government was toppled in the general election of 1977, paving the way for a coalition government. However, the coalition government, bedevilled with internal dissent, was ineffective. The mature Indian electorate gave its strong mandate against instability, giving a thumping majority to Congress, which secured 353 seats in the parliament while none of the other parties could score even a ‘half century’.

The General Elections of 1984, held after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, shocked the nation, ensuring a landslide victory for Congress, winning 414 seats out of a total of 533 seats in Parliament. ‘Mrs. Indira Gandhi dead was stronger than Mrs. Indira Gandhi alive’, was what political analysts exclaimed following such an unprecedented mandate. However, hope soon turned into a hoax as the new government of 1984 failed miserably to live up to the expectations of the electorate. 

The coalition government that came in the wake of the 1989 general election met with the same fate as the 1977 coalition government and was thrown out by the voters for being ineffective.  As many as seven general elections have been held since 1991 to 2019 to constitute a union government. The results of all these elections highlight the expediency, analytical capability, political wisdom, and, most importantly, the objectivity and unbiased nature of the common man. Despite being highly appreciative of the 1991 UPA government for its progressive economic policies, financial liberalisation, open air policy, technological revolution, etc. that have far-reaching beneficial impacts on the country, the Indian voters were unforgiving of the government for being corrupt and being submerged in monetary scandals.

The Indian voters gave a clear mandate to various corruption allegations that had marked the Union government of 2009 and voted the NDA government under Narendra Modi to power. The people-friendly works of the 2014 Narendra Modi government have resulted in nearly decimating the opposition in the election held in 2019. 

Prashant Kishore, unanimously christened as a master election strategist and poll analyst, has opined categorically about the thumping victory of the ruling dispensation in the forthcoming parliamentary election in 2024 on the strength of better governance.  In respect of Assam, a whole gamut of  vibrant infrastructure development schemes, tangible transformation in land revenue administration, a hitherto unseen courageous step to evict encroachers from Xatra land, the establishment of medical colleges, etc., have ushered in a new horizon, ensuring a clean sweep of the ruling dispensation. The results of the ensuing election, however, lie buried in an unforeseen future.

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