The 6th Lok Sabha elections were held in 1977 one year later than scheduled. Indira Gandhi led Congress to resounding victory in 1971 despite split in party headed by Morarji Desai. In 1975 a court found Indira guilty on the charge of misuse of government machinery for her election campaign’s election and declared her election null and void and unseated her from her seat. Infuriated Indira declared emergency. She assumed vast powers, opposition leaders were jailed and press was curtailed. Emergency was there for 21 months from June 1975 to Mar 1977.

Indira lifted Emergency and called for elections. Opposition parties parties namely INCO (M. Desai), Bhartiya Lok Dal (Charan Singh) and Bhartiya Jan Sangh (Vajpayee)formed a grand alliance called Janata Party. These parties fought on Bhartiya Lok Dal’s symbol.

Elections were held for 542 constituencies. 5 national parties and 29 state parties contested the elections. Congress lost badly and Janata Party alliance won. Morarji Desai became the 1st non Congress PM. Both Indira and her son Sanjay lost. Congress was trounced in UP / Bihar drawing a blank out of 139 seats. Congress won only 154 seats, while BLD won 295 seats (+23 seats from majority).

Name of Party Seats Won Change Votes %
INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS(INC) 154 (198) 35%
COMMUNIST  PARTY OF INDIA (CPI) 7 (16) 3%
BHARATIYA LOK DAL(BLD)* 295 260 41%
COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MARXIST)( CPM) 22 (3) 4%
INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS ORGANISATION ( NCO) 3 (13) 2%
OTHER STATE PARTIES 49 9 9%
REGISTERED UNRECOGNISED PARTIES 3 (10) 1%
INDEPENDENT(IND) 9 (5) 6%
Total 542   100%

Source: Statistical Report, Election Commission of India, 1977

Some Interesting Facts

  • Voting population was 32.1 crores (2009 elections 71.4 crores)
  • Voting % was 57.8% (2009 elections 59.7%)
  • 2,439 candidates participated, 4.5 per constituency (2009 average 14.86)
  • 55.6% candidates lost their deposits (2009 elections 84.6%)