ONCE UPON A POLL: 12th Lok Sabha election

Updated: April 1, 2014 10:28 am
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was sworn in as Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was sworn in as Prime Minister

Failed coalition

The elections to the 12th Lok Sabha were held in the backdrop of the inability of parties opposed to the BJP being unable to provide a government (United Front) that would last. The BJP was on a high, and the Congress saw one important change, almost a coup, as family loyalists brought Sonia Gandhi in as the party president and ousted Sitaram Kesri.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was sworn in as Prime Minister. President K R Narayanan decided to ask the single-largest party to produce “letters of support” from allies. The BJP managed to do that, but the process set the stage for a rocky few months to follow. Jayalalithaa made the BJP wait a long time before she gave the letter of support to Vajpayee.

Standout features

This Lok Sabha saw the birth of the BJP-led NDA, which kept off the table its principal Hindutva issues: Ayodhya, uniform civil code and scrapping of Article 370 that gives Jammu & Kashmir special status.

It also established the fact that the BJP too was in the coalition game despite having ridiculed the United Front coalition until only weeks earlier.

Leader & Trendsetter

Sonia Gandhi contested these elections. She won from both her seats: Amethi in UP and Bellary in Karnataka.

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