General elections were held in India in 1998, after the government elected in 1996 collapsed and the 12th Lok Sabha was convened. New elections were called when Indian National Congress (INC) left the United Front government led by I.K. Gujral, after they refused to drop the regional Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party from the government after the DMK was linked by an investigative panel to Sri Lankan separatists blamed for the killing of Rajiv Gandhi. The outcome of the new elections was also indecisive, with no party or alliance able to create a strong majority. Although the BJP's Atal Bihari Vajpayee retained his position of Prime Minister getting support from 286 members out of 545, the government collapsed again in late 1998 when the AIADMK, with its 18 seats, withdrew their support, leading to new elections in 1999. It also marked the first time since independence that India's traditional governing party, the Indian National Congress, failed to win two consecutive elections.