Indian Politics: Trends And Developments | Chapter 12 Notes

Indian Politics: Trends And Developments 

Indian Politics

After 1980 India has witnessed five major developments that change the complete scenario of national politics.

  • The defeat of the most successful  Congress party in the elections held in 1989.
  • The economic policy followed by various governments.
  • Babri Masjid demolition at Ayodhya in December, 1992.

The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991 resulting change in leadership of the Congress party.

Decline of Congress

During the late sixties, the superiority of the Congress party was questioned, but the party re-establish its predominant position under the leadership of Indira Gandhi.

In the 1989 election India initiated an era of coalition governments at the centre, in which regional parties played a crucial role in forming ruling alliances.

Political Rise of Other Backward Classes

Many backward castes have declined support for the Congress this created a space for non-Congress parties to get their support.

Many of the constituents of the Janata party, like the Bhartiya Kranti Dal, Bhartiya Lok Dal and the Samyukta party, had a powerful rural base among some sections of the OBC.

After 1980 caste based politics dominated Indian politics. In 1989 and 1991, this was the first time in independent India that a Bahujan Samaj Party supported by Dalit voters had achieved a landmark political success.

In many parts of India, Dalit politics and OBC politics have developed independently and often in competition with each other.

Mandal Commission 

Many parties during the period of 1980s-90s sought better opportunities for OBCs in education and employment and also raised the question of the share of power enjoyed by the OBCs.

The mandal commission was set-up to look into the extent of educational and social backwardness among various sections of Indian society.

After investigation, the commission recommended reservation of 27 percent of seats in educational institutions and government jobs for these groups.

In August 1990, the national front government implemented the recommendations of the commission.

Growing Consensus

After 1990 a consensus appears to have emerged among most parties which consists of following elements

  • Agreement on new economic policies.
  • Acceptance of the political and social claims of the backward castes.
  • Acceptance of the role of state level parties in governance of the country.
  • Emphasis on pragmatic considerations rather than ideological positions and political alliances without ideological agreement.
  • They also work as pressure groups in Indian politics.
  • Sometimes regional parties influence the Central Government to divert more annual budget funds to their states at the expense of other states.

Emergence of a New Consensus

Since the 1989 election, the votes polled by the two parties-Congress and BJP did not cross more than 50 per cent.

The political competition during the nineties was divided between the coalition led by BJP and the coalition led by the Congress.

Lok Sabha Elections 2004

In 2004 elections, the coalition led by BJP National Democratic Alliance was defeated and a new coalition led by the Congress, known as the United Progressive Alliance came to power.

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Era of Coalition

Elections in 1989 led to the new development in Indian politics and the era of coalition government started.

Regional parties played an important role in the United Front government that came to power in 1996.

The BJP continued to consolidate its position in the elections of 1991 and 1996 and it emerged as the largest party in the 1996 election and was invited to form the government.

After the 1989 election, a long phase of coalition politics began in India. Since then, there have been nine coalition governments at the centre, all of which have either been coalition governments or minority governments supported by other parties.

National Front

The National Front, also known as Rashtriya Morcha, was a coalition of political parties, led by the Janata Dal, which formed the government between 1989 and 1990 under the leadership of N. T. Rama Rao as President and V. P. Singh as Convener. 

The National Front coalition’s prime minister was V. P. Singh. The parties in the Front were: Janata Dal of North India, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam of Tamil Nadu, Telugu Desam Party of Andhra Pradesh, and Asom Gana Parishad of Assam and Congress (S). 

They were supported from outside by the Left Front and the Bharatiya Janata Party. 

The Leader of the Opposition, P. Upendra was a General Secretary of the Front.

In 1991, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha became a part of the front. 

In 1995, TDP split with a minority faction siding with N. T. Rama Rao and the majority faction chose to side with Chandrababu Naidu. 

After Rao died of a heart attack in January 1996, Janata Dal stood by Rama Rao’s widow Lakshmi Parvathi while Left parties formed an alliance with the TDP faction led by Chandrababu Naidu.

After the 1996 elections, Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party, DMK, TDP, AGP, All India Indira Congress (Tiwari), Left Front (4 parties), Tamil Maanila Congress, National Conference, and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party formed a 13 party United Front. 

H. D. Deve Gowda became the prime minister. He was later succeeded by I.K. Gujral. Both governments were supported from outside by the Indian National Congress under Sitaram Kesri.

United Progressive Alliance

[UPA]- I 

The UPA was formed after the 2004, 14th Lok Sabha general elections when no party had won an absolute majority. It lasts till 2008

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had won 181 seats out of 543-member and UPA got 218 seats.

The Left Front with 59 MPs, the Samajwadi Party with 39 MPs and the Bahujan Samaj Party with 19 MPs.

These were other significant blocks that opted to support UPA and made UPA-1.

The UPA did not enjoy a single majority on its own in the parliament, rather it has relied on external support to ensure that it enjoys the confidence of the Indian parliament.

Similar formula was adopted by the previous minority governments of the United Front, the NDA, the Congress government of P. V. Narasimha Rao, and earlier governments of V. P. Singh and Chandra Shekhar.

An informal alliance already existed before the elections, as several of the current constituent parties had developed seat-sharing agreements in many states. 

However, it was only after the 2004 election that the results of negotiations between parties were announced. 

The UPA government’s policies were initially guided by a common minimum programme that the alliance made out with fruitful consultations with Jyoti Basu and Harkishan Singh Surjeet of the 59-member Left Front. 

Hence, government policies were generally recognized as centre-left, reflecting the central policies of the INC.

During the tenure of Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, the constituents of the UPA were supporting his government.

On 22 July 2008, the UPA narrowly survived with a vote of confidence in the parliament brought on by the Left Front. They withdraw their support in protest at the India–United States Civil Nuclear Agreement.

The Congress party and its leaders along with then SP leader Amar Singh were accused of a cash-for-vote scam in which they were accused of buying votes in Lok Sabha to save the government.

During UPA-I the economy saw steady economic growth and there was a drastic reduction in poverty.


In the 15th General Election in 2009, the UPA won 262 seats, of which the INC settled for 206. 

During the governance of UPA II, the alliance was involved in a number of scams. This ranged from 2G spectrum to CoalGate Scam. These scams impacted UPA image nationwide and the approval rating for the govt continued to fall. 

Some members started leaving to form their own parties. Like DMK left the alliance altogether. During this time UPA struggled with state elections and leadership stability. 

Then in the 16th Lok Sabha election in 2014 UPA appointed Rahul Gandhi as the PM candidate. The alliance had a humiliating defeat as it bagged only 60 seats, a huge reduction from 262. 

In addition UPA only managed to win in 1 state election and got wiped out from AP to 0 where they previously had 150+ MLA.

The UPA’s bad days continued after the 2014 Indian general election. From 2014 to 2017, they only won 3 state elections during this period where they had a high amount of presence in. This was blamed to the alliance failed leadership and weakness of the alliance.

In the 2019 Indian general election UPA only managed to win 91 seats and failed to secure the opposition post too.

In 2020 they were able to make more parties join the alliance and it strengthened the alliance. The alliance again lost the crucial Bihar election which everyone expected it to win. 

In addition UPA only won 1 out of the 5 state elections in 2021. However the alliance was able to make significant gains in the number of MLA.


National Democratic Alliance



The NDA was formed in May 1998 as a coalition to contest the general election against Indian National Congress coalition. 

It was led by the BJP, and included several regional parties. That includes the Samta Party and the AIADMK, as well as Shiv Sena.

Shiv Sena left the alliance in 2019 to join the Congress led United Progressive Alliance. The Shiv Sena was the only member in NDA which shared the Hindutva ideology of the BJP.

After the election, it was able to assemble a slim majority with outside support from the Telugu Desam Party, allowing Atal Bihari Vajpayee to return as prime minister.

The government collapsed within a year because the AIADMK withdrew its support. 

After the entry of a few more regional parties, the NDA won the 1999 elections with a larger majority. Vajpayee became Prime Minister for a third time, and this time served a full five-year term.

The NDA called general elections in early 2004, six months ahead of schedule. Its campaign was based around the slogan of “India Shining” which depict the NDA government as responsible for a rapid economic transformation of the country. However, the NDA suffered a defeat, winning only 186 seats in the Lok Sabha election.


The Bharatiya Janata Party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi got an absolute majority in the 16th Lok Sabha elections which was held in May 2014. 

After nearly 30 years in Indian politics, a full majority government was established at the Centre.

Though called NDA III, the BJP-led coalition of 2014 was largely different from its previous coalition governments, which were led by one of the national parties.

NDA III coalition was also called a ‘surplus majority coalition’.

A major transformation has been seen in the nature of coalition politics, where one party led coalition transformed to one party dominated coalition.

In the 17th Lok Sabha election in 2019, BJP led NDA [NDA IV] again came to centre of power by winning more than 350 seats out of 543.

It was the biggest number any single party has won in the lower house since 1984 when Congress swept the elections after Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

The era of one party dominance, like the ‘Congress System’ has once again started appearing in the democratic politics of India.

Issues of Development and Governance

A major change in Indian politics after 2014 was transformation from caste and religion based politics to development and governance oriented politics.

With the goal of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, the Government started several socio-economic welfare schemes to make development and governance accessible to the masses.

Some prominent schemes are:

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jan-Dhan Yojana, Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, Kisan Fasal Bima Yojna, Beti Bachao Beti padhao, Ayushman Bharat Yojana, etc.

All these schemes intended to take administration to the doorstep of the common man by making the rural households.

Particularly the womens who are the real beneficiaries of the Central Government schemes.

The success of these schemes strengthened from the results of 2019 Lok Sabha election.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is national front?

Answer: The National Front, also known as Rashtriya Morcha, was a coalition of political parties, led by the Janata Dal, which formed the government between 1989 and 1990 under the leadership of N. T. Rama Rao as President and V. P. Singh as Convener. 

What is the major changes in
Indian politics after 2014?

Answer: A major change in Indian politics after 2014 was transformation from caste and religion based politics to development and governance oriented politics.

Indian Politics: Trends And Developments Unit 12 CBSE, class 12 Political science notes. This cbse Political Science class 12 notes has a brief explanation of every topic that NCERT  syllabus has. You will also get ncert solutions, cbse class 12 Political Science sample paper, cbse Political Science class 12 previous year paper.

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