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Assembly Polls- History

While Congress has ruled Delhi for most of the time, BJP too has been successful on quite a few occasions.

india Updated: Oct 16, 2003 19:54 IST

It has been primarily a contest between the Congress and BJP (or the then Janata Party) ever since Delhi State Legislative Assembly came into being on 7th March, 1952 under the Government of Part-C States Act, 1951. While Congress has ruled Delhi for most of the time, BJP too has been successful on quite a few occasions.

The 'pro-saffron' party won a thumping majority in 1993 but intense infighting that resulted in three CMs during the tenure took all the advantage away from it and Congress came back to power with a bang in 1998. Congress' landslide victory in March 2002 civic polls further boosted its morale. Congress had taken 107 of 134 seats in Delhi Municipal Corporation - India's largest municipal body. However, BJP has been making relentless efforts to woo the voters back to its fold.

Following is the brief summary of Assembly polls in Delhi over the years:


The ruling BJP led by Sushma Swaraj was routed in the polls bagging just 15 seats while Congress walked away with 52 seats. One seat was won by Janata Dal while two seats went to Independents. The credit for Congress went to its Delhi chief Sheila Dikshit, who eventually became the chief minister. The BJP's rout was despite the fact that BJP had registered leads in as many as 52 of the 70 Assembly segments in Delhi in 1998 Lok Sabha polls. (See Details on EC site)


BJP wrested the state from Congress in a big way securing 49 of the 70 seats while Congress got just 14. Four seats went to Janata Dal while Independents bagged three seats. The veteran BJP leader Madanlal Khurana became the Chief Minister. Sahib Singh Verma replaced him after a few years following intense infighting. Finally, just months before the 1998 polls the high profile Union Minister Sushma Swaraj was brought in as the Chief Minister. (See Details)


Congress bagged 34 out of the total 56 seats in Delhi Assembly then. BJP got 19 while Lok Dal bagged two seats and Janata Party one. (See details)


The earlier avatar of BJP, the Janata Party bagged 46 out of 56 seats in Delhi Assembly while the main Opposition Congress got just 10. (See Details)


Congress bagged 44 seats while BJS got five seats, CPI three and Indian National Congress (Organisation) two. Two seats were won by Independents.(See details)


Indian Ntional Congress won 39 seats out of a total of 42 in the first Delhi Legislative Assembly. Bharatiya Jansangh, the earlier of BJP had secured five seats. (See details)

Delhi Assemblyover the years

The political and administrative set up of Delhi has undergone several changes after independence. Prior to independence, Delhi had a number of Municipalities and its administration was being looked after by Chief Commissioner. After independence, Delhi was given the status of Part-C State.

The Delhi State Legislative Assembly came into being on 7th March, 1952 under the Government of Part-C States Act, 1951.

The 1952 Assembly consisted of 48 members. There was a provision for a council of Ministers to aid and advice the Chief Commissioner in the exercise of his functions in relation to matters in respect of which the State Assembly was given powers to make laws. The first Council of Ministers was headed by Ch. Braham Prakash.

However, legislative powers granted to Part-C States were limited and the legislative powers of Delhi Assembly had been further curtailed as is evident from the proviso to Section 21 of the Part C States Act, 1951.

In pursuance of the recommendations of the State Reorganisation Commission (1955), Delhi ceased to be a Part-C State with effect from 1st November, 1956. The Delhi Legislative Assembly and the Council of Ministers were abolished and Delhi became Union Territory under the direct administration of President. In accordance with another recommendation of the Commission, the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 was enacted constituting Municipal Corporation for the whole of Delhi with members elected on the basis of adult franchise.

There was considerable pressure of public opinion for providing a democratic set up and a responsive administration for Delhi. In partial fulfillment of this demand and on the basis of recommendations of Administrative Reforms Commission, the Delhi Administration Act was enacted. The Act provided for a deliberative body-called Metropolitan Council having recommendatory powers. At the top, there was Lt. Governor or Administrator who was appointed by President of India under Article 239 of the Constitution. There was an Executive Council consisting of one Chief Executive Councilors and three Executive Councilors. The Metropolitan Council was a unicameral Democratic body consisting of member – 56 elected and 5 nominated by the President.

The Metropolitan Council set-up suffered from many inherent deficiencies. It had no legislative powers and it had only an advisory role in the governance of Delhi. There was, therefore, a continuous demand for a fulfledged State Assembly with Council of Ministers to aid and advice the Lt. Governor.

Accordingly, on 24th December, 1987, the Government of India Appointed Sarkaria Committee (late on called Balakrishan Committee) to go into the various issues connected with the administration of union territory of Delhi and to recommend measures for streamlining the administrative set up. The Committee submitted its report on 14th December, 1989.

The committee went into the matter in great details and considered the issues after holding discussions with various individuals, associations, political parties and other experts. It also considered the arrangements existing in the National Capitals of other countries with a federal set-up and also the reports by earlier committees and commissions.

After detailed enquiries and examinations, it recommended that Delhi should continue to be a Union Territory but should be provided with a Legislative Assembly and a Council of Ministers responsible to such Assembly with appropriate powers to deal with matters of concern to the common man.

The Committee also recommended that with a view to ensuring stability and permanence, the arrangements should be incorporated in the constitution to give the National Capital a special status among the Union Territories.

The Delhi Assembly today has a strength of 70 seats.

First Published: Oct 13, 2003 15:16 IST