Overview

INDIA-world's largest Democracy-goes to poll in three phases to elect 552 representatives for the Lower House (nationally known as Lok Sabha) of the country's Parliament. The poll, according to the Election Commission's notification, begins on April 20 and will be through May 10, 2004. The General Election is considered as sacred process that not only retifies the principles of Democracy generally once in five years but it strengthens the pillars of Indian democracy as well. Around 675 million people would cast their votes to elect their chosen representatives who would form the 14th Lok Sabha. In the 13th Lok Sabha, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Mr. A. B. Vajpayee was the single largest Party with the Congress led by Ms Sonia Gandhi to follow with 109 seats in the Lower House of Parliament. The massive administrative arrangements could be gauged by the fact that over 1.07 million electronic voting machnies will be used for the poll purpose. And the poll expenditure would be over Rs 1000 crore, according to a provisional estimate. In last five years, poll expenditure has zoomed to Rs 880 crore in 1999 (Last Lok Sabha poll) from Rs 154 crore in 1989 poll. The voting pattern shows that the percentage of female voters who cast their votes has significantly increased from 46.63 percent in the third General Election to 55.64 percent in 1999 election. The percentage of male voters who polled however remained almost constant- the percentage ranging between 63-66 percent.

A look at the results of the last five General Elections reveals that there is a decline in the performance of the National Parties taken together both in terms of total number of seats won as well as their vote share. State Parties and Other Registered Parties gained at the cost of National Parties during this period. This is one of the factors that has contributed to federal coalition governments in the recent past. While the National Parties got a total of 470 seats in the 543 member Lok Sabha in 1989 elections with a share of 79.34 percent of total votes polled, in the next elections, two years later, they got 465 seats although the vote share rose to 80.91 per cent. But their vote share declined to 69.08 percent and 67.98 percent in 1996 and 1998 General Elections respectively. Correspondingly during 1996, they got a total of 403 seats which further declined to 387 in 1998 and 369 in 1999.

All the State Parties, put together, could get only 27 seats in 1989 elections. They improved their tally to 51 in 1991 and 129 in 1996. But there was a decline in seat share to 101 in 1998 and subsequently an increase to 158 in 1999. There was a corresponding increase in their vote share also. In 1989 their vote share was 9.28 percent of the total valid votes polled. In 1991 they improved by a clear 3.7 per cent in their vote share taking it to 12.98 percent. In 1996 elections they got 22.43 percent of votes. In 1998 their vote share declined marginally to 18.79 percent but increased again to 26.93 percent in the 1999 polls.

Registered Parties together had 19, 4, 4, 49 and 10 representatives in the last five Lok Sabhas respectively. Their vote share was 6.13 percent in 1989, 2.19 percent in 1991, 3.22 percent in 1996, 10.87 percent in 1998 and 3.22 percent in 1999. The sudden spurt in the number of seats won by the registered parties in 1998 and their vote share is explained by the fact that parties like BJD and Trinamool Congress which broke away from the Janata Dal and the Congress respectively were included in the list of registered parties.

As for Independent members, there were 12 in 1989, one in 1991, nine in 1996 and six each in 1998 and 1999 Lok Sabha. Their performance in terms of vote share was nothing to write home about also. It was at a high of 6.28 percent in 1996 elections and at a low of 2.37 percent in 1998 and 2.74 percent in 1999 elections. In 1989 it was 5.25 percent and in 1991 it was 3.92 percent.

A comparison of the relative performance of the four groups of parties, in terms of their vote share and the percentage of seats won reveals some interesting facts. National Parties always got a higher percentage of seats compared to their vote share. Registered Parties and Independents were the losers who could get lesser percentage of seats compared to their vote share. The performance of State Parties was not even during this period.

Poll Schedules: 2004

POLL EVENT 1A 1B 1C 2 3 4
Announcement and Issue of Press Note Feb 29, 2004 (Sunday) Feb 29, 2004 (Sunday) Feb 29, 2004 (Sunday) Feb 29, 2004 (Sunday) Feb 29, 2004 (Sunday) Feb 29, 2004 (Sunday)
Issue of Notification March 24, 2004 (Wednesday) March 24, 2004 (Wednesday) March 24, 2004 (Wednesday) March 31, 2004 (Wednesday) April 8, 2004 (Thursday) April 16, 2004 (Friday)
Last date for filing Nominations March 31, 2004 (Wednesday) March 31, 2004 (Wednesday) March 31, 2004 (Wednesday) April 7, 2004 (Wednesday) April 15, 2004 (Thursday) April 23, 2004 (Friday)
Scrutiny of nominations April 1, 2004 (Thursday) April 1, 2004 (Thursday) April 2, 2004 (Friday) April 8, 2004 (Thursday) April 16, 2004 (Friday) April 24, 2004 (Saturday)
Last Date for Withdrawal of Candidate April 3, 2004 (Saturday) April 5, 2004 (Monday) April 5, 2004 (Monday) April 10, 2004 (Saturday) April 19, 2004 (Monday) April 26, 2004 (Monday)
Date of Poll April 20, 2004 (Tuesday) April 20, 2004 (Tuesday) April 20, 2004 (Tuesday) April 26, 2004 (Monday) May 5, 2004 (Wednesday) May 10, 2004 (Monday)
Counting of Votes on May 13, 2004 (Thursday) May 13, 2004 (Thursday) May 13, 2004 (Thursday) May 13, 2004 (Thursday) May 13, 2004 (Thursday) May 13, 2004 (Thursday)
Date before which the Election shall be completed May 25, 2004 (Tuesday) May 25, 2004 (Tuesday) May 25, 2004 (Tuesday) May 25, 2004 (Tuesday) May 25, 2004 (Tuesday) May 25, 2004 (Tuesday)
Number of States/UTs Polling on this day 7 2 7 11 7 16
Constituencies Polling on this day 44 30 67 137 83 182
Note:
a) Schedule 1A is only for Bihar (first Phase), Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Mizoram, Tripura, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu.
b) Schedule 1B is only for Maharashtra (first phase) and Jharkhand (first phase).
c) Schedule 1C is only for Andhra Pradesh (first phase), Assam (first phase), Chhatisgarh, Karnataka (first phase), Manipur (first phase), Meghalaya and Orissa (first phase)

13th Lok Sabha (1999)- Party Position

Party Strength Party Strength
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 182 Janata Dal (Secular) 2
Indian National Congress (INC) 115 Janata Dal (United) Democratic 2
CPI(M) 33 Lok Jana Shakti Party 2
Telegu Desam Party (TDP) 29 Muslim League Kerala State Committee 2
Samajwadi Party (SP) 27 Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) 2
Shiva Sena 15 All India Majlis-e-Ittahadul Muslimeen 1
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) 14 Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh 1
Samata Party 12 Communist Party of India (ML) Liberation 1
DMK 11 Himachal Vikas Congress 1
AIADMK 11 Indian Federal Democratic Party 1
Biju Janata Dal (BJD) 10 Jharkhand Mukti Morcha 1
Trinamool Congress 8 Kerala Congress 1
National Congress Party (NCP) 8 Lok Dal (Secular) 1
Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) 5 Peasants & Workers Party of India 1
National Conference (NC) 5 Rashtriya Janata Dal (Democratic) 1
Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) 5 Rashtriya Lok Dal 1
Janata Dal United (JD-U) 4 Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya) 1
Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) 4 Akali Dal (Amritsar) 1
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) 4 Soshit Kranti Dal 1
Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) 3 Sikkim Democratic Front 1
Loktantrik Congress 2 Simanchal Vikas Party 1
All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) 2 Independents 7
Communist Party of India (CPI) 2 Vacant 7
Janata Dal (JP) 2    

VOTER PERCENTAGE

GENERAL ELECTION YEAR MALE FEMALE TOTAL
1st 1952 - - 61.2
2nd 1957 - - 62.2
3rd 1962 63.31 46.63 55.42
4th 1967 66.73 55.48 61.33
5th 1971 60.90 49.11 55.29
6th 1977 65.63 54.91 60.49
7th 1980 62.16 51.22 56.92
8th 1984 68.18 58.60 63.56
9th 1989 66.13 57.32 61.95
10th 1991 61.58 51.35 56.93
11th 1996 62.06 53.41 57.94
12th 1998 65.72 57.88 61.97
13th 1999 63.97 55.64 59.99

POLL EXPENDITURE

YEAR OF ELECTION

EXPENDITURE INCURRED (Provisional)
( In Rs)
1967

17969000

1971 116087450
1977 230368000
1980 547739000
1984 815134000
1989 1542200000
1991 3591024679
1996 5973441000
1998 6662216000*
1999 8800000000**
* Including the demand of election expenditure incurred on Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra)
** Approximately

# With inputs from Press Information Bureau, Government of India & Election Commission of India

Updated on May 13, 2004

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