Indian general election, 1951–52
The Indian general election of 1951–52 elected the first Lok Sabha since India became independent in August 1947. Until this point, the Indian Constituent Assembly had served as an interim legislature. See the ‘Durations’ section below to find the time-range associated with these elections.
The Indian National Congress (INC) won a landslide victory, winning 364 of the 489 seats and 45% of the total votes polled. This was over four times as many votes as the second-largest party.Jawaharlal Nehru became the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the country. In the first Lok Sabha polls held in 1951, India had 17.32 crore voters(The overall population of India that timewas 36 crore). Voter turnout was 45.7%.
Before Independent India went to the polls, two former cabinet colleagues of Nehru established separate political parties to challenge the INC’s supremacy. While Shyama Prasad Mookerjee went on to found the Jana Sangh in October 1951, Dalit leader B. R. Ambedkar revived the Scheduled Castes Federation (which was later named the Republican Party). Other parties which started coming to the forefront included the Kisan Mazdoor Praja Parishad, whose prime mover was Acharya Kripalani; the Socialist Party which had Ram Manohar Lohia and Jay Prakash Narayan’s leadership to boast of and the Communist Party of India. However, these smaller parties could not stand against Congress.
The first general elections, which were conducted for 489 seats in 401 constituencies, represented 26 Indian states. At that time, there were 314 constituencies with one seat, 86 with two seats and one with three seats. The multi-seat constituencies were abolished in the 1960s. There were also 2 nominated Anglo-Indian members.
Scheduled Caste leader B. R. Ambedkar was defeated in the Bombay (North Central) constituency as Scheduled Castes Federation candidate by his little-known former assistant and Congress Candidate Narayan Sadoba Kajrolkar, who polled 1,38,137 votes compared to Ambedkar’s 1,23,576 votes.:156 Dr Ambedkar then entered the parliament as a Rajya Sabha member. He contested bye-poll from Bhandara in 1954 to try to enter Lok Sabha but again lost to Mr Borkar of Congress.
The Speaker of the first Lok Sabha was Ganesh Vasudev Mavalankar. The first Lok Sabha also witnessed 677 sittings (3,784 hours), the highest recorded count of the number of sittings. The Lok Sabha lasted its full term from 17 April 1952 until 4 April 1957.
While Indian Government’s official websites and official documents assign the year 1951 to these polls, it is a misrepresentation because all territories except Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir voted in February-March 1952; no polls were held for Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir until 1967, and only Himachal Pradesh voted in 1951 for the first Lok Sabha because weather tends to be inclement in February and March, heavy snow impending free movement. The rest of the India voted only in Fenbruary-March 1952 for the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections. Polling was held between 25 October 1951 and 27 March 1952. The very first votes of the election were cast in the tehsil (district) of Chini in Himachal Pradesh.
- “Lok Sabha Results 1951-52”. Election Commission of India.
- “Statistical Report on Lok Sabha Elections 1951-52”. Election Commission of India.
- “Lok Sabha Elections Stats Summary 1951-52”. Election Commission of India.
- India has nearly 83 crore voters: Brahma
- Nohlen, D, Grotz, F & Hartmann, C (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume I, p. 572 ISBN 0-19-924958-X
- “General Election of India 1951, List of Successful Candidate”. Election Commission of India. p. 6. Retrieved 2010-01-12.
- Ramachandra Guha (2008). India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy. ISBN 978-0-06-095858-9.
- India’s first voter in Himachal Pradesh, by Gautam Dhmeer, in the Deccan Herald; published October 30, 2012; retrieved April 7, 2014
- Guha, Ramachandra. “Democracy’s Biggest Gamble,” World Policy Journal, (Spring 2002) 19#1 pp. 95–103