First General Election in India (1951-52), Know the Date and Key Facts

India’s journey towards democracy is an important milestone – The first general elections were held in 1951–1952. This historical event not only decided the direction of Indian politics but also laid the foundation of the world’s largest democratic experiment. Let us learn about the significance, challenges and triumphs of India’s early democratic exercise.

First general election in India

India’s journey towards establishing itself as a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic reached an important milestone with its launch. First general election on 25 October 1951. After years of struggle for independence, the nation was now ready to adopt the principles of universal adult suffrage and conduct electoral exercises on a large scale.

First general election in India (1951–1952) – key events

Formation of the first Lok Sabha: The first Lok Sabha was elected during the first general election, which was an important step in shaping the democratic landscape of independent India.

Transition from Interim Legislature: From August 1947, India was governed by an interim legislature known as the Constituent Assembly of India. The first general elections paved the way for a more representative and permanent legislative body.

Universal adult franchise: An important aspect of the election was the implementation of universal adult suffrage, allowing every citizen over the age of 21 to exercise their right to vote, irrespective of caste, creed, religion, gender or socio-economic status.

Scale and participants: A total of 53 political parties contested the elections for 489 seats, with 1874 candidates in the fray. The election involved 401 constituencies, some of which had multiple seats. In particular, multi-seat constituencies were abolished in the 1960s.

Voter turnout and representation:Out of a population of 36 crore, about 17.32 crore people were eligible to vote, resulting in a remarkable 45% voter turnout. The Indian National Congress (INC) dominated the elections and won 364 seats, securing about 45% of the vote. The Communist Party of India (CPI) stood second with 16 seats.

Fake Elections and Election Commissioner: To familiarize citizens with the election process, a mock election was held in September 1951. Sukumar Sen served as the first Election Commissioner of India, and oversaw the fair and efficient conduct of the electoral process.

Major winners and losses: Prominent personalities like Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Sucheta Kripalani, Gulzari Lal Nanda and Syama Prasad Mukherjee emerged as major winners. However, BR Ambedkar lost the Bombay (North-Central) seat to Congress candidate Narayan Sadoba Kajrolkar.

Highlights of India’s first general election results

The table below outlines the major parties, their respective votes and the seats they received:

major parties number of votes seats won
Indian National Congress 47,665,875 364
Communist Party of India 3,484,401 16
Bharatiya Jan Singh 3,246,288 3
socialist Party 11,266,779 12
Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party 6,156,558 9
independent 16,817,910 37

Notable facts and figures of the first Lok Sabha (1852-1957)

  • first Lok Sabhalasting from The record from April 1952 to April 1957 was 677.
  • V. Mavalankar Served as the Speaker of the first Lok Sabha.
  • Ravi Narayan Reddyrepresent People’s Democratic FrontHe was the first person to enter Parliament by defeating Nehru in the first general election.

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