1991 Indian general election general election in India

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1991 Indian general election

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521 out of 545 seats in the Lok Sabha
273 seats needed for majority
Turnout55.88% (Decrease6.07%)
  First party Second party Third party
  Pumapaparti.N.rao.jpg Lal Krishna Advani 2008-12-4.jpg V. P. Singh (cropped).jpg
Leader P.V. Narasimha Rao Lal Krishna Advani V.P. Singh
Alliance INC+ BJP+ NF
Leader's seat Nandyal New Delhi (vacated)
Seats won 232 [a] 120 69
Seat change Increase35 Increase35 Decrease74
Percentage 35.66% 20.04% 11.77%
Swing Decrease3.87% Increase8.38% Decrease28.89%

Wahlergebnisse Indien 1991.svg

Prime Minister before election

Chandra Sekhar

Subsequent Prime Minister

P.V. Narasimha Rao

General elections were held in India in 1991[2] to elect the members of the 10th Lok Sabha. Voter turnout was the lowest ever in parliamentary elections.[3] No party could muster a majority in the Lok Sabha, hence INC formed a minority government with the support of other parties, resulting in a stable government for the next 5 years under the new Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao.


The 1991 Indian general election were held as the previous Lok Sabha, with Chandra Sekhar at its helm had been dissolved just 16 months after government formation. The elections were held in a polarised environment and are also referred to as the 'Mandal-Mandir' elections after the two most important poll issues, the Mandal Commission fallout and the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue.

Mandal-Mandir Issue

While the Mandal Commission report implemented by the VP Singh government gave 27 per cent reservation to the Other Backward Castes (OBCs) in government jobs, it led to widespread violence and protests across the country, with many students in and around Delhi even setting themselves on fire. Mandir represented the hallmark of this election, where there was a debate over the disputed Babri Masjid structure at Ayodhya, which the Bharatiya Janata Party was using as its major election manifesto.

The Mandir issue led to numerous riots in many parts of the country and the electorate was polarised on caste and religious lines. With the National Front falling apart, the Congress managed to make the most of the polarisation, by getting the most seats and forming a minority government.[4]

Rajiv Gandhi Assassination

A day after the first round of polling took place on 20 May, former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated while campaigning for Margatham Chandrasekar at Sriperembudur. The remaining election days were postponed until mid-June and voting finally took place on 12 and 15 June. Voting was the lowest ever in parliamentary elections with just 53 per cent of the electorate exercising their right to vote.

Since the assassination took place after first phase of polling in 211 of 534 constituencies and the balance constituencies went to polls after the assassination, the 1991 results varied greatly between phases. The congress party did poorly in the pre-assassination constituencies and swept the post-assassination constituencies. The end result was a Congress-led minority government led by P. V. Narasimha Rao, who had previously announced his retirement from politics.

Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab

76 to 126 people were shot dead during campaign on 17 June 1991 in two attacks by gunmen in Punjab, an area racked by separatist violence. Police reports said the killings, on separate trains, were carried out by Sikh militants.[5] No elections were held in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, a total of 19 Lok Sabha seats.[6] Elections were held in Punjab on 19 February 1992,[7] where INC won 12 out of 13 seats,[8] thereby taking their tally in the Lok Sabha up from 232 to 244.


Lok Sabha Zusammensetzung 1991.svg
Lok Sabha elections 1991[9]
Electoral participation: 55,71%. No elections held in Jammu and Kashmir. In Punjab elections were held in 1992.
% Won
(total 545)
Janata Dal JD 11.77 69
Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M) 6.14 35
Communist Party of India CPI 2.48 14
Indian Congress (Socialist) IC(S) 0.35 1
Indian National Congress INC 35.66 244
Bharatiya Janata Party BJP 20.04 120
Janata Dal (Secular) JD 0.0 0
Janata Party JP 3.34 5
Lok Dal LD 0.06 0
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam AIADMK 1.61 11
All India Forward Bloc AIFB 0.41 3
Asom Gana Parishad AGP 0.54 1
Bahujan Samaj Party BSP 1.8 3
Indian Union Muslim League IUML 0.3 2
Jammu & Kashmir Panthers Party JPP 0.0 0
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha JMM 0.53 6
Kerala Congress (Mani) KC(M) 0.14 1
Manipur Peoples Party MPP 0.06 1
Nagaland Peoples Council NPC 0.12 1
Revolutionary Socialist Party RSP 0.63 5
Shiv Sena SS 0.79 4
Sikkim Sangram Parishad SSP 0.04 1
Telugu Desam Party TDP 2.96 13
United Minorities Front, Assam UMFA 0.07 1
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimen AIMIM 0.16 1
Autonomous State Demand Committee ASDC 0.5 1
Haryana Vikas Party HVP 0.12 1
Janata Dal (Gujarat) JD(G) 0.5 1
Independents - 4.01 1
Nominated Anglo-Indians - - 2


The 10th Lok Sabha constituted. Congress was in a position to form government. The persons, mentioned in media, as probable Prime Minister, were:[10]

Congress eventually formed the government under the Prime Ministership of P. V. Narasimha Rao. After Lal Bahadur Shastri, Rao was the second Congress Prime Minister from outside the Nehru-Gandhi family and the first Congress Prime Minister to head a minority government that completed full 5-year term.[12] He introduced Economic reforms in India.

See also


  1. ^ Elections to Lok Sabha held in 1992 resulted in 12 more INC MPs being elected, thereby taking their tally to 244


  1. ^ http://www.ipu.org/parline-e/reports/arc/2145_91.htm
  2. ^ "1991 India General (10th Lok Sabha) Elections Results". www.elections.in. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  3. ^ "India: parliamentary elections Lok Sabha, 1991". archive.ipu.org. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  4. ^ "History Revisited: How political parties fared in 1991 Lok Sabha election". Zee News. 6 April 2019. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  5. ^ Crossette, Barbara (17 June 1991). "Party of Gandhi Narrowly Ahead in India Election". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  6. ^ "Once Upon a Poll: Tenth Lok Sabha Elections (1991)". The Indian Express. 21 March 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  7. ^ Vinayak, Ramesh (3 September 2013) [February 29, 1992]. "With militant scare and Akali boycott, Punjab elections may be a damp squib". India Today. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  8. ^ "1992 India General Elections Results". www.elections.in. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  9. ^ "General Election, 1991 (Vol I, II)".
  10. ^ a b c d "Rao, Pawar in race for CPP-I leadership". The Indian Express. Madras. 18 June 1991. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  11. ^ "A meeting of hearts". The Indian Express. Madras. 15 June 1991. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  12. ^ "How Shukla saved Rao govt in 1992". The Times of India. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
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