Examine the major changes that the country witnessed at the time of fourth general election in 1967.
The fourth general elections to the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies were held in February 1967 due to the heightened popular discontent and the polarisation of political forces.
- The results jolted the Congress at the national and state levels. Many contemporary political observers described the election results as a 'political earthquake'. The Congress did manage to get a majority in the Lok Sabha, but with its lowest tally of seats and share of votes since 1952. Half the ministers in Indira Gandhi's cabinet were defeated. The political stalwarts who lost in their constituencies included Kamaraj in Tamil Nadu, S. K. Patil in Maharashtra, Atulya Ghosh in West Bengal and K. B. Sahay in Bihar.
- The dramatic nature of the political change was more apparent at the state level. The Congress lost majority in as many as seven states. In two other states, defections prevented it from forming a government. These nine states where the Congress lost power were spread across the country—Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha (Orissa), Madras (Tamil Nadu) and Kerala.
- The elections of 1967 brought into picture the phenomenon of coalitions. Because no single party had got a majority, various non-Congress parties came together to form joint legislative parties called Vinayak Dal in Hindi which supported non-Congress governments.
- Another important feature of the politics after the 1967 election was the role played by defection in the making and unmaking of the government in the states.
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