‘Ab ki baar, teen sau paar,’ the slogan used by the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, turned out to be prophetic when the polling officials unboxed the Electronic Voting Machines and started the mega counting that commenced at 8 am on May 23. Early trends showed that the NDA had achieved the magic number of 272. By afternoon, the tally showed that BJP bettering its 2014 results. A day later, on May 24, the Election Commission of India’s figures show that the BJP has officially breached the 300-mark. As of now, the BJP has won 303 seats on its own.
With this, the BJP has become the first non-Congress party in the history of independent India to win more than 300 seats in the Lok Sabha Elections. Before this it was Indira Gandhi and her father and India’s first Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru who held this unique record. Nehru led Congress into victory in three General Elections of 1951, 1957 and 1962.
Crestfallen after the 1962 war, Nehru’s health deteriorated and on May 28, 1964, he died in office. Subsequently, Lal Bahadur Shastri became the Prime Minister. He never faced a General Election as he too died in office in January 1966 after signing the Tashkent Accord on restoring subcontinental peace after the 1965 India-Pakistan war.
After the sudden demise of Pt Nehru, his daughter India Gandhi took over the mantle of Congress. Despite lesser margins, the Congress under the new leadership won the 1967 Lok Sabha Elections. Instead of 1972, Gandhi called elections a year early in 1971 and won a decisive mandate and saw the country win its biggest military victory the same year. It was the year that witnessed the decimation of the Pakistani Army and the creation of the independent nation of Bangladesh.
Four years later, fighting off an Opposition onslaught for her resignation after an adverse court verdict holding her guilty of electoral malpractices, Gandhi declared Emergency in 1975, due to which the elections which were due in 1976, were not held.
Indira Gandhi lifted the emergency in 1977 and called general election that saw a conglomeration of disparate parties under the Janata Party umbrella being swept to power.
That experiment lasted a little over two years and Indira Gandhi led the Congress to a resounding victory in the 1980 general election.
Indira Gandhi was assassinated in October 1984 and her son Rajiv Gandhi became the prime minister. He called early elections the same year that saw the Congress being returned with a thumping majority, winning 414 of the 533 seats where polling was held.
48 years after Indira Gandhi, India has seen return of a Prime Minister with a majority. The stellar vote surge from 17 crore to 22 crore has solidified BJP’s grip. The 2019 mandate also means that India’s voters have once again put faith in the decisive leadership of Narendra Modi.