Indian general election, 1980

Indian General Election, 1980

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Indian general election, 1980

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India held general elections to the 7th Lok Sabha. The Janata Party came into power riding the public anger against the Congress and the Emergency but its position was weak. The party held 270 seats in the Lok Sabha and it never quite had a firm grip on power.

Bharatiya Lok Dal leader Charan Singh and Jagjivan Ram, who had quit the Congress, were members of the Janata alliance but they were at loggerheads with Prime Minister Morarji Desai.

The tribunals the government had set up to investigate human rights abuses during the Emergency appeared vindictive and a witch-hunt against Congress leader Indira Gandhi, who lost no opportunity of portraying herself as a harassed woman.

The Janata Party, an amalgam of socialists and Hindu nationalists, split in 1979 when Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) leaders A B Vajpayee and L K Advani quit and the BJS withdrew support to the government.

Desai lost a trust vote in Parliament and resigned. Charan Singh, who had retained some partners of the Janata alliance, was sworn in as Prime Minister in June 1979.

Congress promised to support Singh in Parliament but later backed out. He called for elections in January 1980 and is the only Prime Minister not to have faced Parliament. The fight between Janata Party leaders and the political instability in the country worked in favour of the Congress (I), which reminded voters of the strong government of Indira Gandhi.

The Congress won 374 Lok Sabha seats and the Janata Party, or what remained of the alliance,...
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