1971 Indian general election

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1971 Indian general election

← 1967 1–10 March 1971[1] 1977 →

518 of the 521 seats in the Lok Sabha
260 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
Face detail, Premier Indira Gandhi (Congrespartij), Bestanddeelnr 929-0811 (cropped).jpg
Sundaraiah park 2.JPG
S.A. Dange.jpg
Leader Indira Gandhi Puchalapalli Sundarayya Shripad Amrit Dange
Party INC (R) CPI (M) CPI
Leader's seat Rae Bareli Did not contest Did not contest
Seats won 352 25 23
Seat change Increase69 Decrease6 Steady
Percentage 43.68% 5.12% 4.73%
Swing Increase2.9% Increase0.84% Decrease0.38%

  Fourth party Fifth party
Atal Bihari Vajpayee.jpg
K Kamaraj 1976 stamp of India (cropped).jpg
Leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee K. Kamaraj
Party BJS INC (O)
Leader's seat Gwalior Nagercoil
Seats won 22 16
Seat change Decrease 13 New
Percentage 7.35% 10.43%
Swing Decrease 1.96% New

Prime Minister before election

Indira Gandhi

Prime Minister after election

Indira Gandhi

General elections were held in India between 1 and 10 March 1971 to elect members of the 5th Lok Sabha. They were the fifth general elections since independence in 1947. The 27 Indian states and union territories were represented by 518 constituencies, each with a single seat.[2] Under the leadership of Indira Gandhi, the Indian National Congress (R) led a campaign which focused on reducing poverty and won a landslide victory, overcoming a split in the party and regaining many of the seats lost in the previous election.[3]


Congress party split[]

During her previous term, there had been internal divisions in the Indian National Congress between Indira Gandhi and the party establishment, especially Morarji Desai. In 1969, she was expelled from the party, causing a split. Most of the Congress MPs and grassroots support joined Gandhi's INC(R) faction, which was recognised by the Election Commission as being the successor to the previous party. 31 MPs who opposed Gandhi formed Indian National Congress (Organization) party.

Opposition alliance[]

INC(O) formed a pre-poll alliance with Samyukta Socialist Party (SSP), Praja Socialist Party (PSP), Swatantra Party and Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) to defeat Gandhi's party.


Despite the split, the ruling faction gained votes and seats to win a strong majority, while the Grand Alliance was badly trounced and lost more than half of their seats.

Lok Sabha Zusammensetzung 1971.svg
Indian National Congress (R)64,033,27443.68352+69
Indian National Congress (Organisation)15,285,85110.4316New
Bharatiya Jana Sangh10,777,1197.3522–13
Communist Party of India (Marxist)7,510,0895.1225+6
Communist Party of India6,933,6274.73230
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam5,622,7583.8423–2
Swatantra Party4,497,9883.078–36
Samyukta Socialist Party3,555,6392.433–20
Bharatiya Kranti Dal3,189,8212.181New
Telangana Praja Samithi1,873,5891.2810New
Praja Socialist Party1,526,0761.042–11
Shiromani Akali Dal1,279,8730.871New
Utkal Congress1,053,1760.721New
All India Forward Bloc962,9710.6620
Peasants and Workers Party of India741,5350.510–2
Revolutionary Socialist Party724,0010.493New
Republican Party of India (Khobragade)542,6620.370New
Kerala Congress542,4310.373+3
Bangla Congress518,7810.351–4
Indian Union Muslim League416,5450.2820
Vishal Haryana Party352,5140.241New
All India Jharkhand Party272,5630.191New
Shiv Sena227,4680.160New
Shoshit Dal Bihar193,3890.130New
Socialist Unity Centre of India157,7030.110New
Republican Party of India153,7940.1010
Janta Party139,0910.090New
All Party Hill Leaders Conference90,7720.0610
Hindu Mahasabha73,1910.050New
Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League72,1310.050New
Bihar Prant Hul Jharkhand66,6690.050New
Hindustani Shoshit Dal65,9250.040New
Revolutionary Communist Party of India65,6220.040New
Lok Sewak Sangh62,5270.040New
Jana Congress60,1030.0400
Nagaland Nationalist Organisation58,5110.040–1
United Goans – Seqveria Group58,4010.0410
Socialist Party55,0640.040New
Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party54,5970.040New
Proutist Bloc of India43,8490.030New
Telangana Congress43,5480.030New
Minorities Labour Party41,1980.030New
Indian Socialist Party38,7130.030New
Muslim Majlis Uttar Pradesh36,5260.020New
Lok Raj Party Himachal Pradesh34,0700.020New
Uttar Pradesh Kisan Mazdoor Party31,7290.020New
Manipur Peoples Party31,0290.020New
Akhil Bharatiya Ram Rajya Parishad24,0930.020New
Republican Party of India (Ambedkarite)22,4280.020New
Backward Classes Mahasabha6,9290.000New
Revolutionary Socialist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist)6,1980.000New
Chota Nagpur Bhumi Rakshak Party4,9820.000New
Appointed members[a]30
Valid votes146,602,27696.74
Invalid/blank votes4,934,5263.26
Total votes151,536,802100.00
Registered voters/turnout274,189,13255.27
Source: ECI
  1. ^ Two representing Anglo-Indians and one representing the North-East Frontier Agency.


On 12 June 1975, the Allahabad High Court invalidated the result in Gandhi's constituency on the grounds of electoral malpractices. Instead of resigning, Indira Gandhi called a state of emergency, suspending democracy and outlawed political opposition. After democracy was restored in 1977, the opposition Congress faction formed a coalition of parties called the Janata Party, which inflicted the Congress' first electoral defeat.

See also[]


  1. ^ India Inter-Parliamentary Union
  2. ^ "General Election of India 1971, 5th Lok Sabha" (PDF). Election Commission of India. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 July 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  3. ^ "INKredible India: The story of 1971 Lok Sabha election - All you need to know". Zee News. 7 March 2019. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
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