The elections were spread over three-and-a-half months, February 24 to June 9.
These included 91 two-member constituencies, each of which simultaneously elected two candidates: one general, one SC/ST. The first elections also had a three-member constituency; this was abolished by the First Delimitation Commission in 1955 and converted into a two-member seat.
It was an election held in a tough phase for the country, with Jawaharlal Nehru fighting the right wing within his party, and the communists and the socialists outside it. The polls came in the backdrop of the Hindu Personal Law reforms and the 1955 Bandung Conference that had ushered in Nehruvian non-alignment, that phase of bold positioning by newly independent and large countries, even if underdeveloped, during the Cold War years.
The country was riven by language disputes, the States Reorganisation Commission had been set up, and it was during this phase that India got its states more or less as they are known today. This was also the time when higher education plans, especially the IITs, came about, Five Year Plans were given importance and big dams and big projects were signalled. Despite the Congress ruling state legislatures and at the Centre, land reform was not really pushed. Insecurity of food loomed large.
The Congress consolidated its grip further, with its seat count and vote share going up. The Lok Sabha lasted its full term.
Just 45 women candidates contested. And half of them, 22, won.
As in the first elections (1951-52), the Congress dominated North India, winning 85.5 per cent of the seats there. After that, it steadily declined in that region.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee won his first election. Feroze Gandhi was re-elected from Rae Bareli in what was to be his last election.
V K Krishna Menon was to become very powerful after winning in these elections. He held the external affairs portfolio, influencing events tremendously in the years to come.
Former MLA Shailendra Rawat returns to BJP Dehradun: Former MLA Shailendra Rawat, who was held responsible for the defeat of former CM B C Khanduri from the Kotdwar seat in the 2012 Uttarakhand Assembly elections, has been brought back to the BJP fold.
Also read: First Lok Sabha elections
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