1989 Indian general election

← 1984 22 and 26 November 1989[1] 1991 →

529 of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha
265 seats needed for a majority
Turnout61.95% (Decrease 2.06pp)
  First party Second party
Rajiv Gandhi, the 6th PM of India.jpg
V. P. Singh (cropped).jpg
Leader Rajiv Gandhi V. P. Singh
Party INC(I) JD
Alliance INC (I)+ JD+
Last election 46.86%, 414 seats 13.50%, 14 seats
Seats won 197 143
Seat change Decrease 217 Increase 129
Popular vote 118,894,702 53,518,521
Percentage 39.53% 17.79%
Swing Decrease 7.33pp Increase 4.29pp

  Third party Fourth party
E. M. S. Namboodiripad.jpg
Leader L. K. Advani E. M. S. Namboodiripad
Party BJP CPI(M)
Alliance LF
Last election 7.74%, 2 seats 5.87%, 22 seats
Seats won 85 33
Seat change Increase 83 Increase 11
Popular vote 34,171,477 19,691,309
Percentage 11.36% 6.55%
Swing Increase 3.62pp Increase 0.68pp

Results by constituency

Prime Minister before election

Rajiv Gandhi

Prime Minister after election

V. P. Singh

General elections were held in India on 22 and 26 November 1989 to elect the members of the ninth Lok Sabha.[1] The incumbent Indian National Congress (Indira) government under the premiership of Rajiv Gandhi lost its mandate, even though it was still the largest single party in the Lok Sabha.[2][3] V. P. Singh, the leader of the second largest party Janata Dal (which also headed the National Front) was invited by the President of India to form the government.[4] The government was formed with outside support from the Bharatiya Janata Party and Communist parties led by CPI(M).[5] V. P. Singh was sworn in as the seventh Prime Minister of India on 2 December 1989.


The 1989 Indian general election were held because the previous Lok Sabha had been in power for five years, and the constitution allowed for new elections. Even though Rajiv Gandhi had won the last election by a unprecedented landslide of 414 seats (mainly due to an overwhelming outpour of popular grief for to his mother's assassination), this election saw him trying to fight off scandals that had marred his administration.

The Bofors scandal, Gandhi's supposed attempt at shielding Adil Shahryar, who had been involved in the 1984 Bhopal tragedy, allegations of Muslim appeasement in the wake of the Shah Bano case, rising insurgency in Assam, insurrection in Punjab, Indian involvement in the Sri Lankan civil war were just some of the problems that stared at his government. Rajiv's biggest critic was Vishwanath Pratap Singh, who held the portfolios of the finance ministry and the defence ministry in the government.

But Singh was soon sacked from the Cabinet and he then resigned from his memberships in the Congress and the Lok Sabha. He formed the Jana Morcha with Arun Nehru and Arif Mohammad Khan and re-entered the Lok Sabha as an Independent MP from Allahabad. Witnessing V. P. Singh's meteoric rise on national stage, Rajiv tried to counter[6] him with another prominent Rajput stalwart Satyendra Narain Singh but failed eventually.

On 11 October 1988, the birth anniversary of Jayprakasha Narayan, V. P Singh made Jana Morcha merge with the Janata Party & some of its breakaway factions like the Janata Party (Secular), Lok Dal & Congress (Jagjivan) to form the Janata Dal. Singh then formed the National Front consisting of the Janata Dal, Congress (Socialist) of Sarat Chandra Sinha, TDP of N. T. Rama Rao, DMK of M. Karunanidhi & AGP of Prafulla Mahanta. The National Front also received outside support of Lal Krishna Advani from the Bharatiya Janata Party (which had also been formed out of the Janata Party) & Jyoti Basu from the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

To remove the allegations of Muslim appeasement against the Congress (I) party, Rajiv Gandhi took the step of unlocking the gates of the disputed Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1986,[7] which inadvertently caused increased public consciousness about the dispute over the site. The BJP was able to galvanize significant support from the country's Hindu majority towards itself by its electoral promise of constructing a Hindu temple at the site after tearing down the mosque.

Voting was not held in Assam due to rising unrest and a rebellion of Bodos, culminating into a massacre of 535 people at Gohpur. Moreover, the Union territory of Goa, Daman and Diu was bifurcated into Goa and Daman & Diu with Goa retaining its 2 seats and the latter gaining 1 seat. Thus the total Lok Sabha seats increased by 1 to a total of 543. Since Assam never went to the polls, the total seats contested in this election was down to 529.


Indian National Congress (Indira)118,894,70239.53197
Janata Dal53,518,52117.79143
Bharatiya Janata Party34,171,47711.3685
Communist Party of India (Marxist)19,691,3096.5533
Telugu Desam Party9,909,7283.292
Communist Party of India7,734,6972.5712
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam7,196,0992.390
Bahujan Samaj Party6,213,3902.073
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam4,518,6491.5011
Janata Party3,029,7431.010
Shiromani Akali Dal (Simranjit Singh Mann)2,318,8720.776
Revolutionary Socialist Party1,854,2760.624
Pattali Makkal Katchi1,561,3710.520
Doordarshi Party1,338,5660.450
All India Forward Bloc1,261,3100.423
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha1,032,2760.343
Indian Congress (Socialist) – Sarat Chandra Sinha978,3770.331
Indian Union Muslim League974,2340.322
Indian People's Front737,5510.251
Peasants and Workers Party of India636,5890.210
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen617,3760.211
Lok Dal (Bahuguna)602,1100.200
Bharatiya Republican Paksha572,4340.190
Karnataka Rajya Ryota Sangha495,5650.160
Republican Party of India (Khobragade)468,6150.160
Gorkha National Liberation Front435,0700.141
Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal)427,6090.140
Jharkhand Dal367,8380.120
Kerala Congress (M)352,1910.121
Shiv Sena339,4260.111
Marxist Co-ordination Committee247,0130.081
Nagaland People's Council239,1240.080
Hindu Mahasabha217,5140.071
Manipur Peoples Party147,1280.050
Republican Party of India129,3000.040
Humanist Party of India122,9470.040
All India Dalit Muslim Minorities Suraksha Mahasangh120,1590.040
Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party116,3920.041
Kuki National Assembly108,0850.040
Shiromani Akali Dal100,5700.030
Marxist Communist Party of India (S.S. Srivastava)100,3000.030
People's Party of Arunachal96,1810.030
Uttar Pradesh Republican Party91,7400.030
Sikkim Sangram Parishad91,6080.031
Amra Bangali80,8340.030
Jammu & Kashmir National Conference71,1940.023
Mizo National Front70,7490.020
Kerala Congress68,8110.020
Tharasu Makkal Mandaram64,8850.020
Democratic Party43,6670.010
Shoshit Samaj Dal42,2820.010
Uttarakhand Kranti Dal39,4650.010
Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist)38,9370.010
Muslim Majlis Uttar Pradesh25,8390.010
Proutist Bloc Of India23,3310.010
Jammu & Kashmir Panthers Party22,6250.010
Bharatiya Jana Sangh22,4460.010
Karnataka Gana Parishad19,5930.010
Socialist Party (Lohiya)17,6390.010
Tamiliar Kazhagam12,8590.000
Rising Sun Party12,8580.000
Indian Congress (J) Trikha Group12,5390.000
Socialist Party12,4300.000
Socialist Unity Centre of India8,7470.000
All India Garib Congress7,6350.000
Hul Jharkhand Party6,6630.000
Bhatiya Krishi Udyog Sangh5,8950.000
Lok Party4,7310.000
Akhil Bhartiya Gorkha League (Budhiman Gurung)4,4260.000
Shoshit Samaj Party3,7560.000
Scientific Vedic Revolutionary Party3,4700.000
Deseeya Karshaka Party3,0590.000
Akhil Bharatiya Ram Rajya Parishad2,9980.000
Barat Desam Labour Party2,9440.000
Progressive Hul Jharkhand2,8900.000
Republicon Presidium Party2,7910.000
West Orissa Peoples Front2,6820.000
West Bengal Socialist Party (Biman Mitra)2,4110.000
All India Shiromani Baba Jiwan Singh Mazhbi Dal2,3680.000
Akhil Bhartiya Hindustani Krantikari Samajwadi Party2,2630.000
Green Party of India2,1420.000
Akhil Baratiya Pichhra Varg Party2,0550.000
Tamil Nadu Peoples Welfare Association1,9640.000
Sadharam Rajya Parishad1,9280.000
Indian National Congress (O) Anti-Merger Group1,7350.000
Gujarat Janata Parishad1,5770.000
All India Justice Party1,4280.000
Peoples Democracy of India1,3920.000
Punjab Peoples Party1,3740.000
Hindustan Janata Party1,3610.000
Bharatha Makkal Congress1,3570.000
Deccan Congress1,3320.000
Akhil Bhartiya Lok Tantrik Party1,2720.000
Vijaya Shakti1,0930.000
Bhartiya Loktantrik Mazdoor Dal1,0350.000
Pandav Dal9180.000
National Republican Party8390.000
Bhartiya Loktantrik Mazdoor Sangh7030.000
Mahabharat Peoples Party6940.000
Indian Union Muslim League (IML)6870.000
Manipur Peoples Council6770.000
Vishal Bharat Pary6210.000
Republican Party of India (Gavai Group)5390.000
Punjab Kairon Dal4930.000
Peoples Party of India4780.000
Indian Labour Party4060.000
Socialist Labour League3910.000
Bharatiya Krantikari Kisan Sang3670.000
Kamaraj Desiya Congress3220.000
Punjab Naya Front3140.000
Hindu Shiv Sena1600.000
Bhartiya Lok Kalyan Dal1450.000
Labour Party of India990.000
Nominated Anglo-Indians2
Valid votes300,776,42397.32
Invalid/blank votes8,274,0722.68
Total votes309,050,495100.00
Registered voters/turnout498,906,12961.95
Source: ECI


V. P. Singh, who was the head of the Janata Dal, was chosen leader of the National Front government with outside support of the BJP & CPI(M).[8] The alliance broke down after Singh supported Bihar's Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav's step to arrest Advani in Samastipur to stop his Ram Rath Yatra, which was going to the Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya on 23 October 1990. Following this incident, BJP withdrew their support to Singh government, causing them to lose parliamentary vote of confidence on 7 November 1990.[9]

Chandra Shekhar broke away from the Janata Dal with 64 MPs and formed the Samajwadi Janata Party in 1990. He got outside support from the Congress(I) and became the 8th Prime Minister of India. He finally resigned on 21 June 1991, after the Congress(I) withdrew its support alleging that the Chandra Shekhar government was spying on Rajiv Gandhi.

See also


  1. ^ a b "INDIA: Parliamentary elections Lok Sabha, 1989". Inter-Parliamentary Union. Archived from the original on 22 February 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  2. ^ Krishna, India since Independence (2011), p. 343.
  3. ^ Sumeda (6 April 2024). "How the 1989 Lok Sabha election changed Indian politics". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 19 May 2024.
  4. ^ Krishna, India since Independence (2011), p. 349: 'The Rashtrapati Bhawan communiqué that evening was a commentary on the fractured nature of the mandate: "Since the Congress (I), elected to the Ninth Lok Sabha with the largest membership, has opted not to stake its claim for forming the Government, the President invited Mr. V. P. Singh, leader of the second largest party/group, namely the Janata Dal/National Front to form the Government and take a vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha within 30 days of his assuming office."'
  5. ^ Krishna, India since Independence (2011), p. 347.
  6. ^ Philip, A. J. (7 September 2006). "Opinion: A gentleman among politicians". The Tribune (Chandigarh). Archived from the original on 13 October 2006. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  7. ^ Staff, T. N. M. (3 January 2024). "How Rajiv Gandhi fell for bad advice to open Babri Masjid locks in 1986". The News Minute. Retrieved 16 June 2024.
  8. ^ "V. P. Singh: Prime Minister of India who tried to improve the lot of the poor". The Independent. 19 December 2008. Archived from the original on 1 May 2022. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  9. ^ "India's Cabinet Falls as Premier Loses Confidence Vote, by 142–346, and Quits". The New York Times. 8 November 1990. Archived from the original on 11 July 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2017.