Thursday, Oct 30, 2014

ONCE UPON A POLL: 11th Lok Sabha election (1996)

Written by Seema Chishti | New Delhi | Posted: March 26, 2014 1:43 pm | Updated: March 26, 2014 7:09 pm

 

Ayodhya & Economy

In the five years leading to this election, P V Narasimha Rao demonstrated skill and stealth in holding on to a majority despite being a single-party minority government. The Lok Sabha saw intrigue in 1993 when the government won a no-confidence vote with support procured controversially from Jharkhand Mukti Morcha MPs and those of the Lok Dal.

Other events that happened during this Lok Sabha were the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the opening up of the economy, and the institution of the Panchayati Raj including mandating of regular elections and reservation for women in at least one-third of the seats. The election was seen as one that inaugurated a new era in terms of participation and representation and of forces other than the Congress calling the shots.

In a stunning performance, the BJP for the first time emerged the single largest party, a trend that was to continue in the nineties. The BJP was asked to form a government on the strength of that but that government found no allies and lasted just 13 days under AB Vajpayee, who resigned without seeking a vote. The United Front, headed by the Janata Dal and consisting of several regional parties came into being, crucially propped up by the Left and supported by the Congress. It took oath with former Karnataka chief minister Deve Gowda as PM. The

Congress, then headed by Sitaram Kesri, a senior OBC Congressman from Bihar, pulled back support insisting on a change of PM. Inder Kumar Gujral of the Janta Dal, a former Congressman and minister under Indira Gandhi, was sworn in and was prime minister for another few months – until the Congress pulled support.

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