Indian general election, 1999

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Indian general election, 1999
India
1998 ←
members
5 September,
11 September,
18 September,
25 September
and 3 October 1999

→ 2004
members

All 545 seats in the Lok Sabha
273 seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  Ab vajpayee.jpg Gandhisonia05052007.jpg
Leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee Sonia Gandhi
Party BJP INC
Alliance NDA INC+
Leader since 16 May 1996 19 March 1998
Leader's seat Lucknow Amethi
Seats won 270 156
Seat change +16 –9
Popular vote 135,103,344 103,120,330
Percentage 37.06% 28.30%
Swing -0.15% +2.48%

1999 Lok Sabha.png

Atal Bihari Vajpayee's NDA Coalition, in coalition with Telugu Desam, secured a large majority in the Lok Sabha. Results of the National and Regional parties.

Prime Minister before election

Atal Bihari Vajpayee
NDA

Elected Prime Minister

Atal Bihari Vajpayee
NDA

General Elections were held in India from 5 September to 3 October 1999, a few months after the Kargil War. The 13th Lok Sabha election is of historical importance as it was the first time a united front of parties managed to attain a majority and form a government that lasted a full term of five years, thus ending a period of political instability at the national level that had been characterised by three general elections held in as many years.

Background[edit]

1999 Lok Sabha Vote of Confidence[edit]

On 17 April 1999, the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) coalition government led by prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee failed a to win a confidence vote in the Lok Sabha (India's lower house), falling short a single vote due to the withdrawal of one of the government's coalition partners – the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). The leader of the AIADMK, J. Jayalalitha, had consistently threatened to withdraw support from the ruling coalition if certain demands were not met, in particular the sacking of the Tamil Nadu government, control of which she had lost three years prior. The BJP accused Jayalalitha of making the demands in order to avoid standing trial for a series of corruption charges, and no agreement between the parties could be reached leading to the government's defeat.[1]

Sonia Gandhi, as leader of the opposition and largest opposition party (Indian National Congress) was unable to form a coalition of parties large enough to secure a working majority in the Lok Sabha. Thus shortly after the no confidence motion, President K. R. Narayanan dissolved the Parliament and called fresh elections. Atal Bihari Vajpayee remained caretaker prime minister till the elections were held later that year.[2]

Campaign[edit]

The incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) went into the election as the head of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), a coalition of over 20 parties. Several other parties in the election not part of the NDA also committed themselves to supporting a BJP led government on matters of confidence. The main opposition league was led by Sonia Gandhi's Indian National Congress, the long-traditional leftist dominant party in India. The opposition coalition comprised far fewer parties, and its alliances were generally weaker than those of the NDA. A so-called "third front" of left-wing, socialist and communist parties was also present, although this was not a strong electoral alliance so much as a loose grouping of parties that shared similar ideological viewpoints and had some inter-party cooperation. There were also nearly one thousand candidates of unaffiliated parties, independent candidates and parties who were unwilling to take part in coalitions that stood in the election.[3]

The campaign coalesced around a few key issues. Sonia Gandhi was a relative newcomer to the INC (having been elected to the presidency in 1998) and her leadership had recently been challenged by Maharastrian INC leader Sharad Pawar, on the grounds of her Italian birth. This led to an underlying crisis within the INC that persisted during the election and was capitalised upon by the BJP, which contrasted the "videsi" (foreign) Gandhi versus the "swadesi" (home-grown) Vajpayee. Another issue running in the BJP's favour was the generally positive view of Vajpayee's handling of the Kargil War, which had ended a few months earlier and had affirmed and strengthened the Indian position in Kashmir. During the past two years India had posted strong economic growth on the back of economic liberalisation and financial reforms, as well as a low rate of inflation and higher rate of industrial expansion. The BJP campaigned strongly on the back of these achievements, as well as cultivating some sympathy for the predicament which had led to the government's downfall.[4][5]

Perhaps most decisive though in the BJP's campaign was the solid alliance it had cultivated and the relatively strong performance it was able to deliver on regional and local issues. The 1991, 1996, and 1998 elections saw a period of consistent growth for the BJP and its allies, based primarily on political expansions in terms of cultivating stronger and broader alliances with other previously unaffiliated parties; and regional expansion which had seen the NDA become competitive and even the largest vote takers in previously Congress dominated areas such as Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Assam. These final factors were to prove decisive in the election outcome of 1999.[6][7]

The voting was conducted over five days. Elections were conducted in 146 seats on the Eastern coast of the country on 5 September, in 123 Central and Southern seats on 11 September, in 76 Northern and Upper-Central seats on 18 September, in 74 North Western seats on 25 September, and in the 121 Western seats on 3 October. Despite some fears of voter fatigue, electoral turnout was comparable with previous elections at 59.99%. Over 5 million election officials conducted the election over 800,000 polling stations, with vote counting commencing on 6 October.[8][9]

Results[edit]

Atal Bihari Vajpayee's NDA Coalition, in concert with the Telugu Desam Party, secured a large majority in the Lok Sabha.

The results were decisively in favour of the BJP and the NDA, with the formal NDA picking up 269 seats, and a further 29 seats taken by the Telugu Desam Party, which gave support to the BJP-led government but was not strictly party of its alliance. The Congress party lost 23 seats, and its two key regional allies performed worse than expected, however it did regain ground in some states such as Uttar Pradesh (where it had been virtually wiped out in 1998). The leftist parties’ fortunes continued to decline, with the Communist Party of India dropping to just four seats and losing its official status as a "national party".[10]

The result for the Indian National Congress was the worst in nearly half a century, with party leader Sonia Gandhi calling upon the party to take a frank assessment of itself – "the result calls for introspection, frank assessment and determined action. We will attend to this in the coming days. In the meantime, we accept unhesitatingly the verdict of the people". For the BJP, this marked the first occasion where a non-INC party had secured a stable government coalition. Previous non-INC governing coalitions had been formed in 1977, 1989 and 1996; however none of these administrations had been able to maintain a stable coagulation for more than a couple of years. One Senior BJP figure commented in the aftermath "It will certainly be a government of stability...I expect that Mr Vajpayee, with all his experience, will be able to handle our coalition partners."[11]

Results by state[edit]

States[edit]

States Party Seats won % of Votes Alliance
Andhra Pradesh Telugu Desam 29 39.85 BJP affiliated parties
Bharatiya Janata Party 7 9.90 National Democratic Alliance
Indian National Congress 5 42.79 Indian National Congress
Independent 0 1.41 None
Others 1 6.05 None
Arunachal Pradesh Indian National Congress 2 56.92 Indian National Congress
Arunachal Congress 0 16.62 National Democratic Alliance
Bharatiya Janata Party 0 16.30 National Democratic Alliance
National Congress Party 0 7.77 None
Others 0 2.39 None
Assam Indian National Congress 10 38.42 Indian National Congress
Bharatiya Janata Party 2 29.84 National Democratic Alliance
Asom Gana Parishad 0 11.92 National Democratic Alliance
Independent 1 9.36 None
Others 1 10.46 None
Bihar Bharatiya Janata Party 23 23.01 National Democratic Alliance
Janata Dal (United) 18 20.77 National Democratic Alliance
Rashtriya Janata Dal 7 28.29 None
Indian National Congress 4 8.81 None
Others 2 19.12 None
Goa Bharatiya Janata Party 2 51.49 National Democratic Alliance
Indian National Congress 0 39.01 None
Nationalist Congress Party 0 3.79 None
Gujarat Bharatiya Janata Party 20 52.48 National Democratic Alliance
Indian National Congress 6 45.44 None
Independent 0 0.67 None
National Congress Party 0 0.52 None
Haryana Bharatiya Janata Party 5 29.21 National Democratic Alliance
Indian National Lok Dal 5 28.72 National Democratic Alliance
Indian National Congress 0 34.93 None
Haryana Vikas Party 0 2.71 None
Others 0 4.43 None
Himachal Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party 3 46.27 National Democratic Alliance
Haryana Vikas Party 1 12.37 None
Indian National Congress 0 39.52 None
Independent 0 0.48 None
Others 0 1.36 None
Jammu & Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir National Conference 4 28.94 National Democratic Alliance
Bharatiya Janata Party 2 31.56 National Democratic Alliance
Indian National Congress 0 17.83 None
Independent 0 9.63 None
Others 0 12.04 None
Karnataka Indian National Congress 18 45.41 Indian National Congress
Bharatiya Janata Party 7 27.19 National Democratic Alliance
Janata Dal (United) 3 13.28 National Democratic Alliance
Janata Dal (Secular) 0 10.85 None
Others 0 3.27 None
Kerala Indian National Congress 8 39.25 Indian National Congress
Communist Party of India (Marxist) 8 27.90 None
Communist Party of India 0 7.57 None
Bharatiya Janata Party 0 6.56 None
Others 4 18.62 None
Madhya Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party 29 46.58 National Democratic Alliance
Indian National Congress 11 43.91 None
Bahujan Samaj Party 0 5.23 None
Samajwadi Party 0 1.37 None
Others 0 2.91 None
Maharashtra Shiv Sena 15 16.86 National Democratic Alliance
Bharatiya Janata Party 13 21.18 National Democratic Alliance
Indian National Congress 10 29.71 None
Nationalist Congress Party 6 21.58 None
Others 4 10.67 None
Manipur Manipur State Congress Party 1 24.89 National Democratic Alliance
Nationalist Congress Party 1 13.49
Manipur Peoples Party 0 16.25
Orissa Biju Janata Dal 10 33.00 National Democratic Alliance
Bharatiya Janata Party 9 24.63 National Democratic Alliance
Indian National Congress 2 36.94 None
Punjab
Shiromani Akali Dal 10 25.58 National Democratic Alliance
Bharatiya Janata Party 4 n/a National Democratic Alliance
Indian National Congress 2 23.13
Tamil Nadu
Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 4 n/a National Democratic Alliance
Communist Party of India (Marxist) 1 n/a None
MGR Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 1 n/a National Democratic Alliance
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 12 23.13 National Democratic Alliance
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 10 25.58 INC affiliated parties
Pattali Makkal Katchi 5 8.21 National Democratic Alliance
Bharatiya Janata Party 4 n/a National Democratic Alliance
Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 4 n/a National Democratic Alliance
Indian National Congress 2 n/a Indian National Congress
Communist Party of India (Marxist) 1 n/a None
MGR Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 1 n/a National Democratic Alliance
Uttar Pradesh
Bharatiya Janata Party 29 27.64 National Democratic Alliance
Bahujan Samaj Party 14 22.08 None
Samajwadi Party 26 24.06 None
Indian National Congress 10 14.72 Indian National Congress
Akhil Bharatiya Lok Tantrik Congress 2 1.51 None
Rashtriya Lok Dal 2 2.49 None
Independent 1 3.62 None
Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya) 1 0.46 None
West Bengal
Communist Party of India (Marxist) 21 35.57 None
All India Trinamool Congress 8 26.04 National Democratic Alliance
Communist Party of India 3 3.47 None
Indian National Congress 3 13.29 Indian National Congress
Revolutionary Socialist Party (India) 3 4.25 None
All India Forward Bloc 2 3.45 None
Bharatiya Janata Party 2 11.13 National Democratic Alliance

Results by alliance[edit]

e • d  Summary of the September–October 1999 Lok Sabha Election
Parties and Alliances Votes % Change Seats Change
   National Democratic Alliance (NDA) 135,103,344
86,562,209
11,282,084
5,672,412
6,298,832
4,378,536
9,363,785
2,377,741
2,002,700
1,620,527
454,481
2,502,949
1,364,030
40,997
1,182,061

37.06

23.75
3.10
1.56
1.73
1.20
2.57
0.65
0.55
0.44
0.12
0.69
0.37
0.01
0.32

-0.15

–1.84
*
-0.21
+0.29
+0.20
+0.15
+0.23
*

-0.09
-0.12
*
-0.68
-0.03

270

182
21
15
12
10
8
5
5
4
4
2
2
0
0

+16


*
+9
+6
+1
+1

*
+1
+1
-6
*
-3

   Other BJP Affiliated Parties
13,297,370

3.65

+0.88

29

+12
   Indian National Congress 103,120,330 28.30 +2.48 114 −27
   Other INC Affiliated Parties

18,753,722

7,046,953
10,150,492

365,313
357,402
833,562

5.15

1.93
2.79

0.10
0.10
0.23

+4.83

+0.10
+0.01

+0.01

+0.01

21

10
7

1
1
2

+18

-8
-7

+1


   Communist Party of India (Marxist) 19,695,767 5.40 +0.24 33 +1
   Samajwadi Party (Socialist Party) 13,717,021 3.76 −1.17 26 +6
   Bahujan Samaj Party (Majority Society Party) 15,175,845 4.16 −0.51 14 +9
   Other Seated Parties

24,826,373

8,260,311
5,395,119
1,500,817
1,288,060
818,713
3,332,702
1,220,698
692,559

448,165
396,216
298,846
297,337
282,583
264,002
222,417
107,828

6.79

2.27
1.48
0.41
0.35
0.22
0.91
0.33
0.19
0.12
0.11
0.08
0.08
0.08

0.07
0.06
0.03

*

*
-0.27
-0.14
+0.02
*
*
+0.08
*
-0.01
+0.03
+0.01
-0.24
+0.01

+0.05
+0.01

30

8
4
3
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1

*

*
-5
-2

*
*
+1
*

+1
+1


+1


   Unseated Parties 10,751,176 2.99 0
   Independents 9,996,386 2.74 +0.37 6
   Nominated Anglo-Indians 2
Total 364,437,294 100% 545

Source: Electoral Commission of India, Statistical Report on General Elections, 1999 to the 13th Lok Sabha

References[edit]

  1. ^ BBC World Service (19 April 1999). "Jayalalitha: Actress-turned-politician". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  2. ^ Oldenburg, Philip (September 1999). "The Thirteenth Election of India's Lok Sabha". The Asia Society. Retrieved 2008-12-11. [dead link]
  3. ^ Oldenburg, Philip (September 1999). "Appendix 2 : Major Electoral Parties". The Asia Society. Retrieved 2008-12-11. [dead link]
  4. ^ Hardgrave, Bob (1999). "The 1999 Indian Parliamentary Elections and the New BJP-led Coalition Government". Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  5. ^ CSIS (1999). "Election-Watcher's Guide – 1 September 1999". South Asia Program. Archived from the original on 10 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  6. ^ Heath, Oliver (2006). "Anatomy of the BJP's Rise to Power: Social, Regional and Political Expansion in 1990s". In Zoya Hasan. Parties and Party Politics in India. Oxford India Paperbacks. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-566833-9. 
  7. ^ Wallace, Paul; Ramashray Roy (2003). India's 1999 Elections and 20th Century Politics. Sage. ISBN 978-0-7619-9598-2. 
  8. ^ Electoral Commission of India. "Elections India". Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  9. ^ BBC (1999). "Indian Elections 1999". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  10. ^ Hardgrave, Bob (1999). "The 1999 Indian Parliamentary Elections and the New BJP-led Coalition Government". Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  11. ^ BBC (8 October 1999). "Indian election: What they said". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 

External links[edit]

See also[edit]