Indian general election, 1991
General elections were held in India in 1991 to elect the members of the 10th Lok Sabha. The result of the election was that no party could get a majority, so a minority government (Indian National Congress with the help of left parties) was formed, resulting in a stable government for the next 5 years, under the new Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.
The 1991 Indian general election were held because the previous Lok Sabha had been dissolved just 16 months after government formation. The elections were held in a polarized environment and are also referred to as the 'Mandal-Mandir' elections after the two most important poll issues, the Mandal Commission fallout and the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue.
While the Mandal Commission report implemented by the VP Singh government gave 27 per cent reservation to the Other Backward Castes (OBCs) in government jobs, it led to widespread violence and protests across the country by the forward castes. Mandir represented the hallmark of this election, where there was a debate over the disputed Babri Masjid structure at Ayodhya, which the Bharatiya Janata Party was using as its major election manifesto.
The Mandir issue led to numerous riots in many parts of the country and the electorate was polarized on caste and religious lines. With the National Front was falling apart, the Congress managed to make the most of the polarization, by getting the most seats and forming a minority government.
Rajiv Gandhi Assassination
A day after the first round of polling took place on May 20, former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated while campaigning for Margatham Chandrasekar at Sriperembudur. The remaining election days were postponed until mid-June and voting finally took place on June 12 and June 15. Voting was the lowest ever in parliamentary elections with just 53 per cent of the electorate exercising their right to vote.
Impact of Rajiv Gandhi Assassination on 1991 Election Results and India
Since the assassination took place after first phase of polling in 211 of 534 constituencies and the balance constituencies went to polls after the assassination, the 1991 results was a curate's egg. The congress party did poorly in the pre-assassination constituencies and swept the post-assassination constituencies. The end result was a minority congress led government led by Mr. P. V. Narasimha Rao, a politician who had announced his retirement from politics.
Mr. Narasimha Rao and the finance minister Mr. Manmohan Singh then changed the course of Indian economics by liberalizing the economy and bringing an end to old style socialist politics.
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
10th Lok Sabha constituted. Congress formed the government with P. V. Narasimha Rao to become Prime Minister. He was the second Congress PM from outside the Nehru-Gandhi family. He introduced Economic reforms in India.