Short article on Eighth General Election of India (1984)



The Eighth General Elections were held under unprecedented circumstances following the assassination of Indira Gandhi. The tragic end of a powerful and charismatic Prime Minister had cast a pall of gloom as well as uncertainty of India's unity, integrity and political stability.

Her son, Rajiv Gandhi, was sworn in as Prime Minister on the very same day of her assassination. The new Prime Minister was eager to get a fresh mandate from the people with a view to legitimising his government.

That is why the Eighth General Elections were announced to be held within less than two months after his assumption of office.

The eighth General Elections were held between twenty-fourth and twenty-eighth of December 1984. The total number of the electorate was over 389 million. Nearly sixty per cent of the voters exercised their franchise at the elections.

The results of the eighth General Elections showed the triumphal, unprecedented march to success of the Congress Party led by Rajiv Gandhi. The Party won 415 seats out of a total 517 seats contested and secured 48.1 percent of the total votes polled. This was the first time in thirty-seven years that the Party was able to get in its favour such a high percentage of votes.

The only State where the Party's performance was poor was Andhra Pradesh where the Telugu Desam Party held its way almost unchallenged. That Party secured 30 seats out of the 34 it contested, a record for any State Party.

In comparison, most of the other parties fared badly. For instance, Bharatiya Janata Party which contested 229 seats won only 2 seats! Janata Party contested 219 seats and won only ten. The Communist Party of India contested 66 seats and won only six. The only party which performed better was the Communist Party of India (Marxist) which contested 64 seats and winning 22 of them.