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The opposition tally in numbers over the years

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New Delhi, May 29: Opposition is the political party which has secured the second largest number of seats in either upper or lower houses. In the 2019 Genaral election Bharatiya Janata Party won 303 seats, further increasing its substantial majority and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance won 353 seats. Congress has won 52 Lok Sabha seats. The party has improved its tally in the Lok Sabha from 44 in 2014 and remains the main Opposition party in the house. However, like the 16th Lok Sabha, the Congress has not qualified to have a Leader of Opposition in the 17th Lok Sabha.

The opposition tally in numbers over the years

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance won 91 seats. Other parties and their alliances won 98 seats. Indian National Congress again failed to secure the requisite 10% of the seats (55 seats) in the Lok Sabha and hence India remains without an official opposition party.

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The trends take us back to 2014 when the BJP crossed the 272 mark comfortably on its own, without allies, winning 282 seats, a gain of 166. As results for all 543 Lok Sabha seats were announced, the NDA looked set to win 336 seats. This was the biggest victory since the 1984 election, which was won by Rajiv Gandhi with 414 Lok Sabha seats. The 2014 win was also a historic victory for the BJP as it was also the first time ever in the 67-year history of independent India that a non-Congress party had won a simple majority on its own.

In 2014 General election the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won a sweeping victory, taking 336 seats. The BJP won 31.0% votes, which is the lowest share for a party to form a majority government in India since independence, while NDA's combined vote share was 38.5%. BJP and its allies won the right to form the largest majority government since the1984 general election, and it was the first time since that election that a party has won enough seats to govern without the support of other parties.

Whereas, the United Progressive Alliance ( UPA), led by the Indian National Congress, won 59 seats, 44 (8.1%) of which were won by the Congress, that won 19.3% of all votes. It was the Congress party's worst defeat in a general election. In order to become the official opposition party in India, a party must gain 10% of the seats (55 seats) in the Lok Sabha; however, the Indian National Congress was unable to attain this number. Due to this fact, India remains without an official opposition party.

The 2009 elections were held in five phases. A total of 8070 candidates contested for 543 Lok Sabha seats. The average election turnout over all 5 phases was around 56.97%. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) led by the Indian National Congress formed the government after obtaining the majority of seats based on strong results in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Manmohan Singh became the first prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru in 1962 to be re-elected after completing a full five-year term. The UPA was able to put together a comfortable majority with support from 322 members out of 543 members of the House. Though this is less than the 335 members who supported the UPA in the last parliament, UPA alone had a plurality of over 260 seats as opposed to 218 seats in the 14th Lok Sabha. External support came from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Janata Dal (Secular) (JD(S)), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and other minor parties.

The Congress won 145 seats in 2004 - barely four more than it had won in 1998 (141 seats) when it was defeated by the Vajpayee-led BJP.

In the four general elections between 1996 and 2004, the Congress won 145 seats or less in each of these Lok Sabha polls. Its average tally in the four general election from 1996-2004: 135 seats. The Congress tally jumped to 206 seats.

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In 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004, the Congress averaged 135 Lok Sabha seats. So the 206 seats it won in 2009 was clearly a blip. With the urban vote turning viscerally against UPA-2 following scams, inflation and damage to institutions such as CAG, CVC and even the PMO, the Congress' seat tally should logically fall to its trendline average between 1996 and 2004, viz around 135.

But here too there are three new factors at work: severe anti-incumbency due to corruption and inflation; disruption in Andhra Pradesh; and Narendra Modi's rise. Put together, these factors could take the Congress all the way back to its 1999 tally of 114 Lok Sabha seats - and perhaps considerably lower.

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