From Colony to Democracy


To prepare for POST INDEPENDENCE HISTORY OF INDIA for any competitive exam, aspirants have to know about From Colony to Democracy. It gives an idea of all the important topics for the IAS Exam and the Economy syllabus (GS-II.). From Colony to Democracy terms are important from Economy perspectives in the UPSC exam. IAS aspirants should thoroughly understand their meaning and application, as questions can be asked from this static portion of the IAS Syllabus in both the UPSC Prelims and the UPSC Mains exams.

In this article you will learn about – The emergence of Electoral Politics, Establishment of democratic institutions, Administrative Control, Social change, Education, Panchayati Raj, Domination of Congress, Emergence of Opposition of Parties and Coalition Era




  • Despite the unprecedented illiterate population, diversities, poor economic condition the national leadership were not in big quandary regarding adoption of democratic institutions to consolidate India.
  • Faced with such serious challenges, other leaders from different countries resisted democracy as a form of governance. According to the leaders of different countries who gained freedom from colonialism, their priority was national unity, which will not be sustained with democracy as it would bring differences and conflicts. Hence, we have seen lots of non-democratic regime in newly independent countries.
  • While competition and power are the two most visible things about politics, the intention of political activity should be deciding and pursuing public interest. This is the route our leaders decided to pursue.

India- Democratic and Republic Nation-

After adoption of constitution on January 26, 1950, It was necessary to install the first democratically elected government of the country. The election commission of India was set up in January 1950 with a constitutional provision to conduct free and fair elections. Sukumar Sen became the first Chief Election Commissioner.

  • India has adopted universal adult franchise model of democracy where any person with prescribed condition of age, could vote without any form of discriminations.
  • Election commission soon realized that it was an uphill task to conduct a free and fair election in a country of India’s size.
  • Preparing for the first general election was a huge exercise. No election on this scale had ever been conducted in the world before. At that time there were 17 crores eligible voters, who had to elect about 489 MPs of Lok Sabha and 3200 MLA of state assemblies.
  • Only 15% of these eligible voters were literate. Hence Election Commission had sought some special method of voting, like the candidates were to be identified by symbols, assigned to each major party and independent candidates, painted on the ballot papers in the box assigned to a particular candidate and ballot was secret.

Election Commission trained over 3 lakhs officers and polling staff to conduct the election. Democracy took a giant step forward with the first elections were the biggest experiment in democracy anywhere in the world. Many people were skeptical about the democratic elections being conducted in the caste ridden, multi religious, illiterate and backward society like India.

  • The elections were spread out over nearly four months from Oct 25, 1951 to Feb 21, 1952. The elections were conducted in a fair, free, impartial and orderly manner with very little violence.


Response of People to Election & New Political Order

  • People’s response to the new political order was tremendous. They participated in the polls with enough knowledge that their vote was a prized possession.
  • At certain places, people treated polling as a festival wearing festive clothes, women wearing their jewellery.
  • Despite higher percentage of poverty and illiteracy, the number of invalid votes cast was a low as 3% to 0.4%.
  • A remarkable feature was the wide participation of women: at least 40% of women eligible to vote did so. Thus, the faith of the leadership in the people was fully justified. When the elections results were declared, it was realised that nearly 46% of the eligible voters had cast their vote.

Political Parties who participated in First Election of Independent India-

  • Indian National Congress to Socialist Party
  • Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party
  • Communist and allies
  • Jan Singh
  • Hindu Mahasabha
  • RRP [Ram Rajya Parishad]
  • other local parties
  • Independents.



  • The congress had emerged as the single largest party by winning 364 seats with 45% of total polled votes for Lok Sabha.
  • The congress formed all the government in all the states and at the centre too. It did not get a majority on its own in four states–Madras, Travancore-Cochin, Orissa, PEPSU but formed governments even there with the help of independents and smaller local parties which then merged with it.
  • The communist performance was big surprise and it emerged as the second-largest group in the Lok Sabha. Princes and big landlords still wielded a great deal of influence in some parts of the country.
  • Their party Gantantra Parishad won 31 seats in Orissa Assembly. Despite the numerically dominant position of congress, the opposition was quite effective in parliament.
  • Other forms of political participation such as trade unions, Kisan Sabha, strikes, hartals, bands and demonstrations were available to the middle classes, organized working class and sections of the rich and middle-class peasantry. Elections were the main form of direct political participation for the vast mass of rural and urban poor.
  • After 1952, during the Nehru years, two other general elections were held for the Lok Sabha and state assembles in 1957 & 1962. Voter’s turnout improved in 1957 to 47% and in 1962 to 54%. In both the elections, the congress again emerged as a single largest party and formed government at the centre and at states level.
  • However, In 1957, the communist were able to form a government in Kerala, which was the first democratically elects communist government anywhere in the world.



  • The fair and peaceful conduct of the polls was an indication that the democratic system and institutions, a legacy of the national movement were beginning to take root.
  • The successful conduct of the polls was one of the reasons why India and Nehru, came to be admired abroad, especially in the ex-colonial countries.
  • Political leadership used elections both to promote national consolidation and to legitimize its policies of integration. Ashok Mehta said, “The parliament acted as a great unifier of the nation”.

List of Government and Prime Ministers (1947-2020)-

S.N. Name Born-Dead Term of office Remark
1. Jawahar Lal Nehru (1889–1964) 5 August 1947-27 May 1964

16 years, 286 days

The first prime minister of India and the longest-serving PM of India, first to die in office.
2. Gulzarilal Nanda (1898–1998) 27 May,1964 to 9 June 1964,

13 days

First acting PM of India
3. Lal Bahadur Shastri (1904–1966) 9 June, 1964 to 11 January 1966

1 year, 216 days

He has given the slogan of ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ during Indo-Pak war of 1965
4. Indira Gandhi (1917–1984) 24 January 1966 to 24 March 1977

11 years, 59 days

First lady Prime Minister of India
5. Morarji Desai (1896–1995) 24 March 1977 – 28 July 1979

2 year, 116 days

Oldest to become PM @ 81 and first to resign from office
6. Charan Singh (1902–1987) 28 July, 1979 to 14 Jan. 1980

170 days

Only PM who did not face the Parliament
7. Indira Gandhi (1917–1984) 14 Jan.1980 to 31 Oct. 1984

4 years, 291 days

The first lady who served as PM for the second term
8. Rajiv Gandhi (1944–1991) 31 Oct, 1984 to 2 Dec. 1989

5 years, 32 days

Youngest to become PM @ 40 year
9. V. P. Singh (1931–2008) 2 Dec. 1989 to 10 Nov. 1990

343 days

First PM to step down after a vote of no confidence
10. Chandra Shekhar (1927–2007) 10 November,1990 to 21 June 1991

223 days

He belongs to Samajwadi Janata Party
11. P. V. Narasimha Rao (1921–2004) 21 June 1991 to 16 May 1996

4 years, 330 days

First PM from south India
12. Atal Bihari Vajpayee (born 1924) 16 May, 1996 to 1 June 1996

16 days

PM for shortest tenure
13. H. D. Deve Gowda (born 1933) 1 June, 1996 to 21 April 1997

324 days

He belongs to Janata Dal
14. Inder Kumar Gujral (1919–2012) 21 April 1997 to 19 March, 1998 332 days ——
15. Atal Bihari Vajpayee (born 1924) 19 March, 1998 to 22 May 2004

6 years, 64 days

The first non-congress PM who completed a full term as PM
16. Manmohan Singh (born 1932) 22 May 2004 to 26 May 2014

10 years, 4 May 2 days

First Sikh PM
17. Narendra Modi (born 1950) 26 May 2014, Incumbent 4th Prime Minister of India who served two consecutive tenures

  • The independence of the courts was nurtured in this period.
  • Parliament was treated with respect and effort was made to sustain its dignity, prestige and power.
  • Parliamentary committees like Estimates Committee played an important role as a critic and watchdog of the government administration.
  • Under Nehru’s leadership, the cabinet system evolved in a healthy manner and functioned effectively.
  • Federalism, provided for in the constitution, was established as a firm feature of Indian polity during these years, with devolution of power to the states.
  • The tradition of the supremacy of the civil government over the armed forces was fully established.


  • The kingpin of the administrative structure was the Indian Civil Service (ICS).
  • Sardar Patel felt that retention of the existing administrative machinery was necessary. He was not in favour of a sudden discontinuity and vacuum in administration, particularly the ICS.
  • Having a well-trained, versatile and experienced civil services was a distinct asset and advantage to India.
  • A major achievement of the Nehru era was in the field of scientific research and technological education.
  • To emphasize the importance of science and scientific research, Nehru himself assumed the chairmanship of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, which guided and financed the national laboratories and other scientific institutions.
  • IITs were formed. Expenditure was increased in scientific research.
  • In later years, scientific research began to suffer because the organization and management structure of the scientific institutes was highly bureaucratic and hierarchical.
  • Nuclear energy was given importance. Nehru was convinced that nuclear energy (for peaceful purposes) could bring revolution in the social, economic and political spheres. Atomic Energy commission was set up in 1948. • Steps were taken to increase India’s capacity in production of defence equipment, so that India becomes self-sufficient in its defence needs.


  • Some important measures of social reforms were: land reforms, the initiation of planned economic development, rapid expansion of the public sector, right to form trade unions and to go on strike, security of employment, and provision of health insurance.
  • There were steps taken for a more equitable distribution of wealth through progressive and steep income tax and excise tax policies.
  • The government passed the Anti-Untouchability Law in 1955 making the practice of untouchability punishable and a cognizable offence. However, the SCs and STs continued to be backward and caste oppression was still widely prevalent, especially in rural India.
  • Hindu Code Bill was passed in the parliament. It introduced monogamy and the right of divorce to both men and women, raised the age of consent and marriage, and gave women the right to maintenance and inherit family property. An important drawback in this respect was that a uniform civil code covering the followers of all religions was not enacted.


  • Better and wider education was as an important instrument of social and economic progress.
  • The government provided large sums for developing primary, secondary, higher and technical education. Since education was primarily a State subject, Nehru urged the state governments not to reduce expenditure on primary education.
  • The Nehru years witnessed rapid expansion of education, especially in the case of girls.
  • The number of universities and colleges had increased drastically. However, the progress in primary education did not match the needs as intended, especially in rural India.
  • Two major programs for rural upliftment and laying foundation for welfare state in villages were: Community Development programme and Panchayati Raj. Though designed for the sake of agricultural development, they had welfare content. Their basic purpose was to change the face of
  • The programme covered all aspects of rural life from improvement in agricultural methods to improvement in communications, health and education.
  • Emphasis of the programme: self-reliance and self-help by the people, popular participation and responsibility and uplift the backward communities.
  • Results of the programme: The programme resulted in better seeds, fertilizers, agricultural development, food production, construction of roads, tanks and wells, school and primary health centres, and extension of educational and health facilities.
  • But, the programme failed to achieve its objective. It failed in involving the people as full participants in developmental activity, bureaucratization of the programme and lack of popular involvement.
  • The weaknesses of the Community Development programme had come to be known when Balwant Rai Mehta Committee had strongly criticized its bureaucratization and lack of popular involvement.
  • The Committee recommended the democratic decentralization of the rural and district development administration.
  • On the Committee’s recommendation, it was decided to introduce an integral system of democratic self-government with the village panchayat at its base.
  • The new system, came to be known as Panchayati Raj and was implemented in various states.


  • It consisted of a three-tier structure, directly elected village or gram panchayats, and indirectly elected block-level panchayat samitis and district-level zilla parishads.
  • The Panchayati Raj was intended to make up the deficiencies of the Community Development programme by providing popular participation in the decision-making and implementation of development process with the officials working under the guidance of three-level samitis.
  • Drawbacks: The state governments showed less enthusiasm, devolved no real power on the Panchayati samitis, curbed its powers and functions and starved them of funds. There were issues of politicization and bureaucratization as well.
  • Thus, Panchayati Raj could not perform the role assigned to it by Balwant Rai Mehta Committee and Jawaharlal Nehru. The basic weakness of the Community Development programme, Panchayati Raj and the cooperative movement was that they ignored the class division of the rural society where nearly half the population was landless or had marginal holdings, and was thus quite powerless. The village was dominated socially and economically by the capitalist farmers, and the rich and middle peasantry. Neither dominant rural classes nor the bureaucrats could become the agents of social



  • As we have discussed about emergence of electoral politics, the congress party achieved great success in country’s first general elections.
  • In the initial three general elections, the congress gained overwhelming majority. The congress won three out of every four seats but it did not manage to win half the total votes polled.
  • After Independence of India, for First 30 years, Congress Government was the only largest party in Lok Sabha.
  • There was a dominance of Congress in Indian Politics which lasted unchallenged till 1977 General Election.
  • India is not the only exception to have experienced the dominance of one party. We can see example of ‘one party dominance’ in other parts of the world as well.
  • In other countries, we have seen that there was compromise with democratic values and norms whereas India upheld those values and norms.
  • In some countries like China, Cuba and Syria the constitution allows only a single party to rule the country.
  • Some others like Myanmar, Belarus, Egypt and Eritrea were effectively one-party states due to legal and military measure


Nature of Congress Dominance-

  • The congress had reached the fruits of their diligent labor of their freedom struggle movement in ensuring post-independence general elections. It had inherited the legacy of Indian National Congress Movements.
  • So, by default, due to their strong organizational network of freedom movement, throughout the country, it reached out to the masses instantly and connected with masses well.
  • It was not possible for other political parties organizing themselves in such a short time and achieving the faith of the masses. During the freedom struggle movement, INC adopted inclusive approach and accepted membership of all strata of the society.
  • After independence, the congress maintained the same characteristics. The congress also remained sensitive to and functioned as the medium for the reconciliation, accommodation and adjustment of the diverse and divergent class, sectional and regional interests.
  • The congress was an ideological coalition. It accommodated the revolutionary and pacifist, conservative and radical, extremist and moderate and the right, left and all shades of the centre.
  • The coalitional nature of the congress party tolerated and encouraged various factions and instead of being a weakness, internal factionalism became the strength of the congress.
  • The system of factions functioned as balancing mechanism within the ruling party. In the first decade of electoral competition, the congress acted both as the ruling party as well as the opposition.
  • Hence, noted political scientist, Rajni Kothari termed this period of Indian Politics as “The Congress system”.


  • Congress again backed to power in 1980 under the leadership of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi (1984) with overwhelming majority.
  • The period of 1980-89 is a comeback period of Congress dominance in the history of Indian Democracy.
  • After the loss of General Election of 1989, Congress never formed the government in Majority.
  • General electionswere held in India in 1991 to elect the members of the 10th Lok Sabha.
  • The result of the election was that no party could get a majority, so a minority government (Indian National Congress with the help of Left parties) was formed, resulting in a stable government for the next 5 years, under the new Prime Minister V. Narasimha Rao.




  • Due to the great performance of the congress party, all opposition parties achieved only a token representation in the Lok Sabha and State assemblies during the “congress system”, period. Yet these oppositions played a key role in maintaining the democratic character of the system.
  • The opposition parties offered a sustained and principle criticism of the parties and policies of the congress of the practices and policies of the congress party. By keeping democratic political alternative alive, the opposition parties prevented the resentment with the system from turning into anti-democratic.
  • In the beginning of true sense of democracy in India, there was high respect between the congress and opposition leaders.
  • There was induction of opposition leaders in the interim government before independence and even in the post-independence government, opposition leaders like B.R. Ambedkar, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee (Jan Jabha) were in the Nehru’s Cabinet.
  • In 1977- First time non-Congress Government was formed by the Janata Government under the leadership of Morarji Desai. Although the Janata Government could not survive for more than 2 years but it successfully broke the dominance of Congress.
  • An emergence of Bhartiya Janata Party played a vital role in balancing the dominance of Congress Government.


Emergence of Opposition Parties-

Socialist party

  • The foundation of the socialist party laid before independence when some leaders within the congress party has sought more radical and egalitarian congress. So, they formed the Congress Socialist Party (CSP) in 1934.
  • Later after independence, the congress party had changed the rule regarding dual membership and barred the C.S.P members with congress’s membership. This situation compelled CSP leaders to form separate Socialist Party in 1948.
  • The socialists believed in the ideology of democratic socialism which distinguished them both from the congress and the communists.
  • Socialist party leaders criticized congress for favouring capitalists and landlord and ignoring teaming masses like workers, peasants.
  • Socialist party was in big dilemma when the congress party in 1955 declared its goal to be the socialist pattern of society. In such scenario, their leader Ashok Mehta offered limited cooperation with the congress.
  • Many factions emerged from the split and union of the socialist party viz. Kisan Mazdoor Praja party, the Praja socialist party, Samyukta Socialist Party
  • Jayprakash Narayan, Rammanohar Lohiya, Achyut Patwardhan, Ashok Mehta, Acharya Narendra Dev, S.M. Joshi were stalwart leaders of the socialist party.
  • In the contemporary times, the Samajwadi party, the Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD), Janta Dal (United), Janta Dal (Secular) trace their origins to the socialist party.


Bhartiya Jan Sangh (BJS)

  • BJS was formed in 1951 by Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and trace its roots with S.S (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Singh) and the Hindu Mahasabha before independence.
  • The BJS emphasised the idea of one country, one culture and one nation and believes that the country could become modern, progressive and strong on the basis of In(dian culture and traditions.
  • BJS leaders were Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Deen Dayal Upadhayaya (He initiated the concept of integral humanism), and Balraj Madhok.
  • BJS performed very well in almost all the Lok Sabha Election.
  • In the contemporary times, the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) traces its roots to B.J.S


Relation with RSS:

  • It was a creation of the RSS, and had remained under the latter’s tight ideological and organizational control since its foundation.
  • Keen on persuading the government to lift the ban on the RSS. o The working cadres and the leaders also were provided by the RSS.



  • It supported a mixed economy, regulation of large-scale industries, nationalization of key industries, service cooperatives in the rural sector etc. but these were merely formal positions.
  • In its initial years, the Jan Sangh argued for the reuniting of India and Pakistan in pursuit of its central objective of Akhand Bharat.
  • Raised the slogan of ‘one country , one culture, one nation’
  • Initially in favour of Sanskritized Hindi and against the retention of English as an official link language of India. Later accepted English along with Hindi so long as the non-Hindi states wanted this.
  • It forcefully opposed the Hindu Code Bill, and after its passage pledged to repeal this legislation.
  • It did not take up any religious issue other than that of a legal ban on cow slaughter
  • The Jan Sangh consistently accused the secular parties of appeasement of Muslims.



  • All the party ’s popular slogans were filtered through communal ideology
  • Admitting Muslims into the party was also perceived by its leaders and cadres as a mere formality and technicality.
  • The high-water mark of the Jan Sangh before it became BJP was reached in 1967 when it won 35 seats Throughout, the party fared badly in South India and lost its political hold in West Bengal after the death of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.


The Communist Party of India

  • Taking inspiration from the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, there emerged lots of communist group advocating socialism is the solution to the problems affecting the notion in 1920’s.
  • The communists worked mainly within the congress fold, but they had separated themselves from the congress when they supported the British in WW-II.
  • It had well organized dedicated cadre and healthy machinery to run political party.
  • The communist believed in violent uprising, as they thought transfer of power was not genuine. Very few people believed in their ideology and they got crushed by the armed force. They later abandoned violent means and participated in general elections and emerged as second largest opposition party.
  • The party’s support was more concentrated in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, and Kerala.
  • Their stalwart leaders included K. Gopalan, S.A. Dange, E.M.S. Namboodiri pad, P.C. Joshi, Ajay Ghosh and P. Sundarrya.
  • The CPI was spilt up in 1964 and the pro-china faction formed the CPI (Marxist).
  • Now, the base of both has shrunk a lot and their presence concentrates in very few states of the country.


Swatantra Party

  • The Swatantra party was formed in August 1959 after Nagpur resolution of the congress which called for land ceilings, takeover of food grain trade by the state, adoption of cooperative forming. They didn’t believe this resolution.
  • The party believed lesser involvement of the government in economy. It opposed the development strategy of state intervention in economy, central planning, nationalization, Public sector. They opposed progressive tax regime, demanded dismantling of license Raj.
  • It was critical of non-alignment policy and friendly relations of India with the Soviet Union and advocated closer ties with the U.S.A.
  • The industrialist and big landlords had supported this party.
  • This party has a very limited influence, lacked dedicated cadres, so it didn’t perform well.
  • The stalwart of party were Rajagopalachari, K.M. Munshi, N.G. Ranga and Minoo Masani.


Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)-

  • The BJP’s origin lies in the Bhartiya Jana Sangh, formed in 1951 by Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.
  • In 1977, the Jana Sangh merged with several other parties to form the Janata Party.
  • it defeated the incumbent Congress party in the 1977 general elections. After three years in power, the Janata party dissolved in 1980 with the members of the erstwhile Jana Sangh reconvening to form the
  • BJP was founded in 1980 and hereafter it became dominant in the national Politics of India.
  • BJP formed its First government in 1996 in which the party secured 161 Lok Sabha seats, making it the largest party in parliament. Vajpayee was sworn in as Prime Minister, but was unable to attain a majority in the Lok Sabha, forcing the government to resign after 13 days.
  • A coalition of regional parties formed the government in 1996, but this grouping was short lived, and mid-term polls were held in 1998.
  • The BJP contested the elections leading a coalition called the National Democratic Alliance(NDA), which contained its existing allies like the Samata Party, the Shiromani Akali Dal, the Shiv Sena in addition to the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Biju Janata Dal.
  • Among these regional parties, the Shiv Sena was the only one which had an ideology similar to BJP.
  • The NDA had a majority with outside support from the Telugu Desam Party(TDP) and Vajpayee returned as Prime Minister. However, the coalition ruptured in May 1999 when the leader of AIADMK, Jayalalitha, withdrew her support, and fresh elections were held again.
  • On 13 October 1999, the NDA, without the AIADMK, won 303 seats in parliament and thus an outright majority.
  • The BJP had its highest ever tally of 183. Vajpayee became Prime Minister for the third time, Advani became Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister.
  • This NDA government lasted its full term of five years. Its policy agenda included a more aggressive stance on defence and terror as well as neo-liberal economic policies.
  • However, in 2004 General Elections, BJP led NDA Government was defeated.
  • In 2014, BJP emerged as victorious under the leadership of Narendra Modi with a majority seats in Lok Sabha.
  • IMP Leaders- Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani, Jaswant Singh, Pramod Mahajan, Narendra Modi.



  • In the initial years, the congress party gained overwhelming majority.
  • The congress party commanded popularity and respect of the people. The party had mass base and grass roots in India. It remained in power both at the centre as well as in the states right from 1947 to 1967 and it had a monolithic character.
  • However, emergence of strong regional parties, politicization of various social groups and their struggle for share in power characterized the political transition and churning in contemporary India and it have made coalition government inevitable at the Federal level.

Beginning of Coalition Politics in India

  • During the fourth general elections to the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies, after the demise of Nehru, and Shastri, the Congress Party exhausted its mandate and lost its character and motivation as a party of social and institutional change.
  • People were unhappy with corruption and lavish lifestyle of party members. According to Zareer Masani, a freelance journalist and broadcaster, due to the continuous power struggle within and rapid erosion of party discipline, confidence was built up in the anti-congress wave during 1967 elections.
  • An important feature of the 1967 elections was the coming together of the opposition parties. The 1967 elections also initiated the dual era of short-lived coalition governments and politics of defection.
  • Coalition governments were formed in all opposition ruled states except Tamil Nadu. Congress too formed coalition governments in some of the states.
  • 1967 elections also heralded politics of coalition. In Haryana where the defection phenomenon was first initiated, and new term was coined “Aya Ram Gaya Ram“for the leaders frequently changing their party.
  • During 1967 to 1970 nearly 800 assembly members crossed the floor, and 155 of them were rewarded with ministerial offices.
  • The 1967 elections, also dramatically changed the balance of power within the Congress Party.


1977 Elections –

  • Due to Emergency (1975-77) and J P movement led to collapse of Congress Government at the Centre in 1977 General Election.
  • Majority of Opposition Parties came together and formed Janata Party and won the election in 1977.

Formation of Government-

No. Constituent Group No. of MP’s No. of Ministers
1 Jana Sangh 94 11
2 Bhartiya Lok Dal 71 12
3 Congress (O) 50 10
4 Socialist Party 28 4
5 CFD Congress for Democracy 28 3
6 Ex-Congressmen [Chandra Shekhar group] 5 2
7 Others [Like Akali Dal etc.] 25 2


  • Due to the aspiration of power and position the Janata Coalition collapsed like a house of cards in July 1979. Others reasons for the collapse were flood gates of defection were open and Akali and other regional groups withdrew their support.
  • According to K. Advani, Janata Party was in the pain of collapse in 1979, partly due to their divergent concept of a party discipline. Non governance became the bane of the administration.
  • The struggle for power within the coalition led to the conflicts, confrontation and mudslinging at each other.
  • After the collapse of Janata Government, India had another coalition government headed by Charan Singh. But this government too remained for a very short time.
  • Later for almost a decade India had a stable one-party government at the centre under Congress’s leadership. People were unhappy with earlier two coalition governments.


Era of Constant Coalition Government –

  • After a decade old stable government by the congress, there was a return of coalition politics. Elections in 1989 led to the defeat of the Congress Party but didn’t result in majority for any other party.
  • This defeat of 1989 of the Congress Party marked the end of Congress dominance over the India Party System. Hence an era of multi-party system began.
  • This new evolution in multi-party system meant that no single party secured a clear majority of seats in any Lok Sabha elections held since 1989 until BJP got majority in 2014.
  • The nineties also saw the emergence of powerful parties and movements that represented the Dalit and backward castes. With the elections of 1989, a long phase of coalition politics began in India.
  • There have been nine governments at the centre, majority of them either been coalition governments or minority governments. In this phase, any government could be formed only with the participation or support of many regional parties.
  • This can be seen from the National Front in 1989, the United Front in 1996 and 1997, the NDA in 1997, BJP led coalition in 1998, NDA in 1999 and UPA in 2004 and 2009.


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