Social Scientist. v 8, no. 86 (Sept 1979) p. 3.

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New Phase of Political Development in India

THE new year that dawns on January 1,1980, will mean, for the Indian people, not the opening of just a new calendar year but of a new phase in their political development. For, within a week thereafter, they will be going to the polls to elect their representatives to the seventh Lok Sabha. This election will be different from all previous elections; it is taking place under conditions which existed in no previous election.

Ever since the 1952 election to the first Lok Sabha took place, the electorate had to decide whether they should allow the Congress to continue as the ruling parry. Although the opposition partiesó"right" as well as "left"ówere calling for throwing the Congress out of power, their efforts in this direction were of no avail. The first election in which the Congress was nearly thrown out was that of 1967: the Congress was then thrown out of power from nine states. It, however, maintained itself in power at tlie Centre. Furthermore, almost all the non-Congress governments formed in 1967 were subsequently thrown out one after another;

the Congress consolidated itself and strengthened its position at the Centre in 1971.

End of Political Stability

Only in the 1977 election for the sixth Lok Sabha was the Congress completely thrown out of power. It appeared then that

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