1951–52 Indian general election

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1951 Indian general election

← 1945 25 October 1951 – 21 February 1952 1957 →

489 of the 499 seats in the Lok Sabha
245 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party
Leader Jawaharlal Nehru Ajoy Ghosh
Leader's seat Phulpur Did not contest
Seats won 364 16
Popular vote 47,665,951 3,487,401
Percentage 44.99% 3.29%

  Third party Fourth party
Jawaharlal Nehru with Jayaprakash Narayan (cropped).jpg
Acharya Kripalani 1989 stamp of India.jpg
Leader Jayaprakash Narayan Jivatram Kripalani
Party Socialist KMPP
Seats won 12 9
Popular vote 11,216,719 6,135,978
Percentage 10.59% 5.79%

Prime Minister before election

Jawaharlal Nehru

Prime Minister after election

Jawaharlal Nehru

General elections were held in India between 25 October 1951 and 21 February 1952. They were the first elections to the Lok Sabha after independence in August 1947.[1][2][3] It was conducted under the provisions of the Indian Constitution, which was adopted on 26 November 1949. Elections to most of the state legislatures took place simultaneously.

A total of 1,949 candidates competed for 489 seats in the Lok Sabha. More than 173 million people out of an overall population of about 360 million were eligible to vote,[4] making it the largest election conducted at the time. Voter turnout was 45.7%.[5]

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.


India has a parliamentary system of government, where the Cabinet, headed by a Prime Minister, forms the de facto executive. Unlike most countries, the elections are conducted by an independent constitutional body, the Election Commission of India. Sukumar Sen was the first election commissioner of India.

After the adoption of the constitution on 26 November 1949, the Constituent Assembly continued to act as the interim parliament. The interim cabinet was headed by Jawaharlal Nehru and consisted of 15 members from diverse communities and parties. Various members of this cabinet resigned from their posts and formed their own parties to contest the elections.

A total of 173,212,343 voters were registered (excluding Jammu and Kashmir) out of a population of 361,088,090 according to the 1951 Census of India. All Indian citizens over the age of 21 were eligible to vote.

Each candidate was allotted a differently-coloured ballot box at the polling booth, on which each candidate's name and symbol were written. 16,500 clerks were appointed on a contract of six months to type and collate the electorate rolls and 380,000 reams of paper were used for printing the rolls.[6]

Due to the harsh climate and challenging logistics, the election was held in 68 phases.[7] A total of 196,084 polling booths were set up, of which 27,527 booths were reserved for women. All states except Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir voted in February–March 1952; no polls were held for Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir until 1967. Himachal Pradesh voted in 1951 for the first Lok Sabha; the weather there tends to be inclement in February and March, heavy snow impending free movement.[8] The first votes of the election were cast in the tehsil (district) of Chini in Himachal Pradesh.[9]

Voters elected 489 members to the lower house of the Parliament of India. These were allotted across 401 constituencies in 25 Indian states. There were 314 constituencies electing one member using the first-past-the-post system. 86 constituencies elected two members, one from the general category and one from Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes. There was one constituency with three elected representatives.[10] These multi-seat constituencies were present to fulfill the reservations granted to backward sections of the society by the Constitution. They were later abolished in the 1960s.

The Constitution at this time also provided for two Anglo-Indian members to be nominated by the President of India.

Political parties[]

A total of 53 parties and 533 independents contested the 489 seats in the election.[11] Two former cabinet colleagues of Nehru established separate political parties to challenge the INC's supremacy. While Syama Prasad Mukherjee went on to found the Jana Sangh in October 1951, first Law Minister 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 Jayaprakash Narayan's leadership to boast of; and the Communist Party of India. However, these smaller parties were unable to make an electoral stand against the Indian National Congress.


Lok Sabha Zusammensetzung 1952.svg
Indian National Congress47,665,95144.99364
Socialist Party11,216,71910.5912
Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party6,135,9785.799
Communist Party of India3,487,4013.2916
Bharatiya Jana Sangh3,246,3613.063
Scheduled Castes Federation2,521,6952.382
Akhil Bharatiya Ram Rajya Parishad2,091,8981.973
Krishikar Lok Party1,489,6151.411
People's Democratic Front1,367,4041.297
Shiromani Akali Dal1,047,6110.994
Hindu Mahasabha1,003,0340.954
Peasants and Workers Party of India992,1870.942
Forward Bloc (Marxist)963,0580.911
All India Ganatantra Parishad959,7490.916
Tamil Nadu Toilers' Party889,2920.844
Jharkhand Party749,7020.713
Revolutionary Socialist Party468,1080.443
Commonweal Party325,3980.313
Lok Sewak Sangh309,9400.292
Zamindar Party291,3000.270
Chota Nagpur Santhal Parganas Janata Party236,0940.221
Uttar Pradesh Praja Party213,6560.200
S.K. Paksha137,3430.130
All India Forward Bloc (Ruikar)133,9360.130
Kamgar Kisan Paksha132,5740.130
Tribal Sangha116,6290.110
Kerala Socialist Party102,0980.100
Indian Union Muslim League79,4700.081
Revolutionary Communist Party of India67,2750.060
Justice Party63,2540.060
All India United Kisan Sabha60,2540.060
All India Republican Party (RPP)57,8150.050
All India Republican Party (REP)44,2860.040
All People's Party36,8510.030
Tamil Nadu Congress Party36,1580.030
Khasi-Jaintia Durbar32,9870.030
Saurashtra Khedut Sangh29,7660.030
Bolshevik Party of India25,7920.020
All Manipur National Union22,0830.020
Uttar Pradesh Revolutionary Socialist Party20,6650.020
Hill People Party17,3500.020
Praja Party16,9550.020
Kuki National Association12,1550.010
Punjab Depressed Class League11,7890.010
Pursharathi Panchayat10,7780.010
Cochin Party8,9470.010
Kisan Mazdoor Mandal8,8080.010
Hyderabad State Praja Party7,6460.010
Gandhi Sebak Seva7,1960.010
Kisan Janta Sanyukta Party6,3900.010
National Party of India3,2320.000
Historical Research1,4680.000
Appointed members[a]10
Registered voters/turnout173,212,34344.87
Source: ECI
  1. ^ Six representing Jammu and Kashmir, two representing Anglo-Indians, one representing Part B tribal areas in Assam and one representing the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Government formation[]

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 sitting hours. The Lok Sabha lasted its full term from 17 April 1952 until 4 April 1957.

Notable losses[]

First Law Minister B. R. Ambedkar was defeated in the Bombay (North Central) (reserved seat) 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.[9]: 156  Ambedkar then entered the parliament as a Rajya Sabha member. He contested a by-poll from Bhandara in 1954 in another attempt to enter the Lok Sabha, but again lost to Borkar of Congress.

Acharya Kripalani lost from Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh as a KMPP candidate, but his wife Sucheta Kripalani defeated the Congress candidate Manmohini Sahgal in Delhi.[12]

See also[]


  1. ^ "Lok Sabha Results 1951-52". Election Commission of India.
  2. ^ "Statistical Report on Lok Sabha Elections 1951-52" (PDF). Election Commission of India.
  3. ^ "Lok Sabha Elections Stats Summary 1951-52" (PDF). Election Commission of India.
  4. ^ India has nearly 83 crore voters: Brahma
  5. ^ Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz & Christof Hartmann (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume I, p. 572 ISBN 0-19-924958-X
  6. ^ Pareek, Shabdita (25 January 2016). "This Is How The First General Elections Were Held in Independent India". ScoopWhoop. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Interesting Facts About India's First General Elections". indiatimes.com. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  8. ^ India's first voter in Himachal Pradesh, by Gautam Dhmeer, in the Deccan Herald; published 30 October 2012; retrieved 7 April 2014
  9. ^ a b Ramachandra Guha (2008). India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy. ISBN 978-0-06-095858-9.
  10. ^ "General Election of India 1951, List of Successful Candidate" (PDF). Election Commission of India. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 October 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  11. ^ "First general elections in India: All you need to know". India Today. 10 February 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  12. ^ David Gilmartin (2014). "Chapter 5: The paradox of patronage and the people's sovereignty". In Anastasia Pivliavsky (ed.). Patronage as Politics in South Asia. Cambridge University Press. pp. 151–152. ISBN 978-1-107-05608-4.

Further reading[]

  • Guha, Ramachandra. "Democracy's Biggest Gamble", World Policy Journal, (Spring 2002) 19#1 pp. 95–103
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