India’s General Elections

India’s General Elections

To judge by the American press, one would think the third general election of independent India began and ended with the story of Krishna Menon! The moment his victory became clear, the press lost further interest and to this day has not published the final or complete results or given any statistical breakdown of the popular voting.

If I find this concentration on Menon a narrow view of the election, it is not because I underestimate its importance, particularly in view of Nehru’s involvement in the North Bombay campaign. It is one of the few disturbing factors—the other is the fraudulent elections held in the highIy sensitive Kashmir area and described by our Bombay correspondent—in an election marked by its democratic procedure, its sense of responsibility, and the active participation of tens of millions. In what other newly independent great nation today have elections of such significance, and so democratic in character, been conducted?

Further, the fairly insubstantial reports received thus far indicate a growing sophistication and discernment among the voters in their choice of representatives. Even ministers in the present Congress government were rejected by the voters on grounds of inefficiency or ineptitude or unpopularity. Where the tendency of the first two general elections was simply to return Congress party-endorsed candidates, this time the voters apparently examined the choices before them in a deliberate way. The Letter from Bombay which follows gives many details of the campaign and the results. Here we shall only in a general way indicate some conclusions which may be drawn from the material already in, but far from complete.

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