India held general elections to the 7thLok Sabha in January,1980. The Janata Party alliance came into power after the elections to the 6th Lok Sabha held in 1977, riding the public anger against the Congress and the Emergency but its position was weak. The loose coalition barely held on to a majority with only 295 seats in the Lok Sabha and never quite had a firm grip on power.
Bharatiya Lok Dal leader Charan Singh and Jagjivan Ram, who had quit the Congress, were members of the Janata alliance but they were at loggerheads with Prime Minister Morarji Desai. The tribunals the government had set up to investigate human rights abuses during the Emergency appeared vindictive and a witch-hunt against Congress leader Indira Gandhi, who lost no opportunity of portraying herself as a harassed woman.
Finally, the Janata Party, an amalgam of socialists and nationalists, split in 1979 when several coalition members such as the Bharatiya Lok Dal plus several members of the erstwhile Socialist Party withdrew support to the government. Subsequently, Desai lost a trust vote in parliament and resigned. Charan Singh, who had retained some partners of the Janata alliance, was sworn in as Prime Minister in June 1979. Congress promised to support Singh in parliament but later backed out just two days before the Govt was scheduled to prove its majority on the floor of Lok Sabha. Charan Singh, forced to resign, called for elections in January 1980 and is the only Prime Minister of India never to have faced parliament. The fight between Janata Party leaders and the political instability in the country worked in favour of Indira Gandhi's Congress (I), that reminded voters of the strong government of Indira Gandhi during campaigning.
In the ensuing elections, the Congress (I) won 353 Lok Sabha seats in January 1980 and the Janata Party, or what remained of the alliance, won only 31 seats, whereas Charan Singh's Janata Party (secular) won 41 seats. The Janata Party alliance continued to split over the subsequent years but it had recorded in 1977 a few important landmarks in the political history of India: it was the first coalition to govern India, and proved that the Congress could be defeated.