By Anju Anna John:
It has happened! The 2014 elections are finally a thing of the past. While some of us have quickly settled back into reading other events around the world that are making the news, some others are still recovering from the hangover of the election reports. The constitution of the Lok Sabha has been finalized (and also the Cabinet Ministers) and Mr. Modi took oath as the 15th Prime Minister of the nation on the 26th of May. Before we close the chapter on the 2014 elections, here’s a quick look at the profile of the 16th Lok Sabha.
Starting from the overwhelming majority of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the Lok Sabha and the decimation of the Congress, the 16th Lok Sabha has broken a series of records. Be it with regard to the representation of women, the number of debutants, or the age of the politicians – there were records being made on all fronts.
To begin with, although analysts and exit polls had been indicating towards a victory for the NDA, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) itself managed to get 282 seats, that is, 52% of the total seats in the 16th Lok Sabha. While this might not come close to the 74% majority that the Congress had in the very first election of independent India in 1951, it is a huge leap for BJP from its 25.5% and 23.8% in 1998 and 1999 respectively. The 336 seats that the NDA won, have been the highest seat per vote (9 seats for every one percent of the votes cast) recorded by any alliance or party in India. In comparison, the Congress in 1984 obtained 8.5 seats for every percent votes cast.
This elections also saw the highest number of debutante members to the Lok Sabha in three decades. About 58% of the members elected in are first-timers. The AIADMK tops the list with 92% of its MPs being first timers. Following this, we have Shiv Sena (67%), Biju Janata Dal (60%), BJP (59%) and Trinamool Congress (56%). Congress on the other hand, only had nine seats (about 20% of its total MPs) which were filled by debutants.
Ironically, in an election that saw the most number of first time voters, the 16th Lok Sabha — with 47% (253 out of 543) of the members being over the age of 55 — is the oldest Parliament since independence. At 86, BJP’s L. K. Advani is India’s oldest Parliamentarian. Only 12 members are below the age of 35, and nine of these 12 come from families with political connections. These include Mamta Banerjee’s nephew, Abhishek Banerjee and Mulayam Singh Yadav’s nephew, Akshay Yadav.
With regard to education, 75% of the members have at least a graduate degree. However, this is slightly lower than in the 15th Lok Sabha where, 79% of the members had a minimum of a graduate degree. Moreover, the number of Parliamentarians without a Matriculate degree in the present Lok Sabha is at 13%, as opposed to 3% in the 15th Lok Sabha. On a brighter note, 6% of the 16th Lok Sabha have a Doctoral degree, as opposed to the 3% in the previous Lok Sabha.
Agriculture continues to be the most popular profession among parliamentarians, with around 27% indicating it as their primary occupation. This is followed by Political and Social Service (24%), Business (20%), Lawyers (7%) and others. In comparison, the 15th Lok Sabha constituted mainly of members whose primary occupation was Political and Social Service (28%), followed by Agriculture (27%) and Business (15%). Strikingly, the very first Lok Sabha constituted mostly of Lawyers (36%), which was then followed by Agriculture (22%) and Business (12%).
As far as representation of women go, out of the 543 members elected into the Lok Sabha, 61 are women. Essentially 11.3% of the present lower house of the parliament is constituted of women. In contrast, the very first Lok Sabha only had 24 women, which came up to a mere 5% of the House. While men still form the majority with almost 89%, the 11.3% is still a step in the positive direction as this is one of the highest representation that women have had in the parliament in the history of the nation.
On a lighter note, the only couple in the 16th Lok Sabha is from Bihar; Rajesh Rajan (better known as Pappu Yadav) and his wife Ranjeet Rajan. Moreover, 21 of the 26 BJP members from Gujarat are crorepatis, and these include Narendra Modi, L. K. Advani and Paresh Rawal.
To sum up, the 16th Lok Sabha constitutes of the largest number of new-comers, has one of the largest representation of women, where most are above the age of 55, and the most common occupation is Agriculture!