Fading fortunes of independent candidates

New Delhi


Since the first-ever general elections in 1952 when 37 independent candidates were elected to the Lok Sabha, out of the total 533 who contested, the number of such winning candidates has fallen drastically over the years. In 2014, only three out of the 3,234 independent candidates were elected to the lower house.

According to data shared by the Press Information Bureau, the percentage of independent candidates forfeiting their deposits has also gone up over the years, and over 99.5 per cent did so in the 2014 elections. In 1952, 360 out of the 533 independent candidates, or 67.54 per cent, lost their deposits.

The data shows that only three independent candidates were elected out of the 3,234 who contested in the 2014 polls. Some 3,218 candidates had to forfeit their deposit as they failed to secure even one-sixth of the total votes.

This is in contrast to 1952 when only 533 independent candidates were in the fray and 37 of them got elected, while 360 lost their deposits.

In the very next elections in 1957, the performance of independent candidates improved and 42 got elected out of the total 481 who were contesting. Some 324 (67.36 per cent) of them lost their security deposit.

However since then, the performance of independent candidates has been on a decline with 20 elected in 1962, 35 in 1967 and 14 in 1971.

For the next 11 elections -- barring 1989 when 12 independents won -- the number of winning independent candidates dropped to single digits.

In 1977 and 1980, nine such candidates got elected while in 1984 and 1991, only five made it to the Lok Sabha. 

1996 was a special year in terms of independent candidates with a whopping 10,635 in the fray. Out of these, only nine won, while 10,604 lost their deposits.

In 1998 and 1999, six independent candidates won, while in 2004, five got elected and in 2009, nine made it.

In 2014, the number of independent MPs was the least so far, with only three registering a win.-IANS