First instance of general elections following Universal Adult Suffrage (people aged 21 years or more) in Independent India. 176 million Indians were voting for the first time, 85% of whom could not read or write.

Important political parties were:

  • Socialist Party – Jayaprakash Narayan, part of the Quit India Movement
  • Jana Sangh – predecessors to the BJP
  • Communist Party of India – strong in Telangana after the revolution there.
  • Indian national congress – eventual winner

Nehru did a huge tour of the country where he covered it end to end in 9 weeks, addressing millions of people in his speeches.

The voter turnout was about 60%. Congress eventually won 364 seats out of 489 in Parliament. Nehru’s popularity was on display as Ambedkar lost in Bombay to an obscure politician called Kajrolkar.