Static – Modern History (Post-Independence) – Congress Dominance | Focus – Mains

Notes for Modern History (Post-Independence)

Congress Dominance

  • The Congress party won 364 of the 489 seats in the first Lok Sabha and finished way ahead of any other challenger.
  • The Congress scored big victory in state elections as well.
  • It won a majority of seats in all the states except Travancore-Cochin (part of today’s Kerala), Madras and Orissa. Finally even in these states the Congress formed the government.
  • So the party ruled all over the country at the national and the state level.
  • The Congress dominated during the period 1952-1962.
  • None of the opposition parties could win even one-tenth of the number of seats won by the Congress.
  • Reasons for Congress dominance:
    • The Congress party had inherited the legacy of the national movement.
    • It was the only party then to have an organisation spread all over the country.
    • And finally, in Jawaharlal Nehru, the party had the most popular and charismatic leader in Indian politics.

  • In the state assembly elections, the Congress did not get majority in a few cases.
  • The most significant of these cases was in Kerala in 1957 when a coalition led by the CPI formed the government.
  • Apart from exceptions like this, the Congress controlled the national and all the state governments.
  • The extent of the victory of the Congress was artificially boosted by our electoral system.
  • The Congress won three out of every four seats but it did not get even half of the votes. In 1952, for example, the Congress obtained 45 per cent of the total votes. But it managed to win 74 per cent of the seats.
  • The Socialist Party, the second largest party in terms of votes, secured more than 10 percent of the votes all over the country. But it could not even win three per cent of the seats.
  • How did this happen?
    • In this system of election, that has been adopted in our country, the party that gets more votes than others tends to get much more than its proportional share. That is exactly what worked in favour of the Congress.
    • If we add up the votes of all the non-Congress candidates it was more than the votes of the Congress. But the non-Congress votes were divided between different rival parties and candidates. So the Congress was still way ahead of the opposition and managed to win.