The ninth General Elections demonstrated the vibrant manner in which parliamentary democracy functioned in India. In spite of the massive majority secured by the Congress Party of Rajiv Gandhi at the eighth General Elections in 1984, at the end of a five-year term in Parliament, that party was unable to secure even a simple majority in 1989.

The Party could secure only 193 seats out of a total of 510 seats contested, although it was the largest Party in the House. Another important aspect of the ninth General Elections was that no political party could secure a majority in Parliament.

This was the first time that General Elections in India failed to produce a majority for any party which contested the elections. Yet another striking feature was that the Janata Dal, an altogether new Party in 1989 came second with 143 seats.

But perhaps the most surprising aspect of the ninth General Elections was the spectacular performance of the Bharatiya Janata party which improved its position from a mere two seats in the eighth General Elections in 1984 to 85 seats in 1989.


Equally surprising was the debacle of the Telugu Desam Party which sank to two seats from 30 which it held in the eighth General Elections. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) not only maintained its position but improved on it by capturing 33 seats.

The ninth General Elections were memorable in several other ways. It saw the largest number of political parties participating in the elections, their total number being 117. Of these, eight were national parties, twenty State Parties and 89 unrecognised registered parties. There were in all 6,084 candidates.

Of these, 3,928 were independent candidates. 1989 also saw for the first time the lowering of the voting age, from the earlier 21 to 18 years. The lowering of the voting age resulted in a steep rise in the number of the electorate. The total number of the electorate was 498.9 million. Of these, over 300 million exercised their franchise at the elections, roughly 62 per cent.