1971 Indian general election

India held general elections to the 5th Lok Sabha in March 1971. This was the fifth election since independence in 1947. The 27 Indian states and union territories were represented by 518 constituencies, each with a single seat.[2] Under the leadership of Indira Gandhi, the Indian National Congress (R) led a campaign which focused on reducing poverty and won a landslide victory, overcoming a split in the party and regaining many of the seats lost in the previous election.

1971 Indian general election

← 1967 1–10 March 1971[1] 1977 →

All 518 seats in the Lok Sabha
260 seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  Face detail, Premier Indira Gandhi (Congrespartij), Bestanddeelnr 929-0811 (cropped).jpg Sundaraiah park 2.JPG Bundesarchiv Bild 183-57000-0274, Berlin, V. SED-Parteitag, 3.Tag.jpg
Leader Indira Gandhi Puchalapalli Sundarayya Shripad Amrit Dange
Party INC (R) CPI (M) CPI
Alliance INC (R) LF LF
Leader's seat Rae Bareli "Did Not Contest" "Did Not Contest"
Seats won 352 25 23
Seat change Increase73 Decrease6 Steady
Percentage 43.68% 5.12% 4.78%
Swing Increase2.9% Increase0.84% Decrease0.38%

  Fourth party Fifth party
  Atal Bihari Vajpayee.jpg K. Kamaraj 1965.jpg
Leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee K. Kamaraj
Party BJS INC (O)
Alliance GA GA
Leader's seat Gwalior Nagercoil
Seats won 22 16
Seat change Decrease 13
Percentage 7.35% 10.43%
Swing Decrease 1.96%

Wahlergebnisse in Indien 1971.svg
The 5th Lok Sabha

Prime Minister before election

Indira Gandhi

Subsequent Prime Minister

Indira Gandhi

Congress party splitEdit

During her previous term, there had been internal divisions in the Indian National Congress between Indira Gandhi and the party establishment, especially Morarji Desai. In 1969, she was expelled from the party, causing a split. Most of the Congress MPs and grassroots support joined Gandhi's Indian National Congress (R) faction, which was recognised by the Election Commission as being the successor to the previous party. 31 MPs who opposed Gandhi became the Indian National Congress (Organization) party.

Opposition allianceEdit

INC(O) formed a pre-poll alliance with Samyukta Socialist Party (SSP), Praja Socialist Party (PSP), Swatantra party and Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) to defeat INC(R) but the opposition coalition was badly trounced and lost more than half of their seats. Despite the split, the Ruling faction gained votes and seats to win a strong majority, whereas the Organization faction lost half of their seats.


On 12 June 1975, the Allahabad High Court invalidated the result in Gandhi's constituency on the grounds of electoral malpractices. Instead of resigning, Indira Gandhi called a state of emergency, suspending democracy and outlawed political opposition. After democracy was restored in 1977, the opposition Congress faction formed a coalition of parties called the Janata Party, which inflicted the Congress' first electoral defeat.


Results by PartyEdit

Lok Sabha elections 1971
Electoral participation: 55,27%
% Won
(total 520)
Bharatiya Jana Sangh BJS 7.35 22
Communist Party of India CPI 4.37 23
Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M) 5.12 25
Indian National Congress (R) INC(R) 43.68 352
Indian National Congress (Organization) INC(O) 10.43 16
Praja Socialist Party PSP 1.04 2
Samyukta Socialist Party SSP 2.43 3
Swatantra Party SP 3.07 8
All Party Hill Leaders Conference APHLC 0.06 1
All India Forward Bloc AIFB 0.66 2
Bangla Congress BC 0.35 1
Bharatiya Kranti Dal BKD 2.18 1
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam DMK 3.84 23
Indian Union Muslim League IUML 0.28 2
Kerala Congress KC 0.37 3
Revolutionary Socialist Party RSP 0.49 3
Shiromani Akali Dal SAD 0.87 1
United Front of Nagaland UFN 0.06 1
United Goans (Sequiera Group) UG(S) 0.04 1
Vishal Haryana VH 0.24 1
Jharkhand Party JP 0.19 1
Republican Party of India RPI 0.1 1
Telangana Praja Samithi TPS 1.28 10
Utkal Congress UC 0.72 1
Independents - 8.38 14
Nominated Anglo-Indians - - 2

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ http://www.ipu.org/parline-e/reports/arc/INDIA_1971_E.PDF
  2. ^ "General Election of India 1971, 5th Lok Sabha" (PDF). Election Commission of India. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 July 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2010.