From 36 to 3, where are independent LS members?

The number of independent MPs who were the second largest group in the first Lok Sabha in 1952 after Congress with 36 members has come down to just 3 in the outgoing House.

Although independent candidates contest in every election, only a few get through the test to land in the Legislative House. Since 1952, the Lok Sabha has seen a total of 202 independent members.

 

More than 15 independent members were elected in each of the first five Lok Sabha elections - 68.86 percent of total independent MPs. The trend began to change from the sixth Lok Sabha onwards. While the highest number of independents were elected during the first Lok Sabha, the second highest number of independent members were elected in the fourth Lok Sabha in 1967, which had 34 independents. The number of independent members in 1957, 1962 and 1971 were 25, 19 and 15 respectively.

The post-Emergency Lok Sabha in 1977 had only seven independent members and in 1980, the number went down to 4. In 1984 and 1989 the numbers were 9  and 8 respectively, but the Tenth Lok Sabha in 1991 had only one independent member. In 1996, it rose to 11 and in 1998, dropped to 6. Seven MPs in the following Lok Sabha in 1999 were independent. During UPA-I and UPA-II, the number of independent members was 6 and 11 respectively before shrinking to three in Modi's Lok Sabha.

Contributions from states

In the first Lok Sabha, the most number of independent MPs came from erstwhile Madras state. Current day Andhra Pradesh (which was part of Madras) contributed 9 independent seats. Rajasthan followed with 7. Later, the trend shifted to other states and regions from time to time.

 

Uttar Pradesh has elected the highest number of independent MPs (28 to 12 Lok Sabha's). This can mainly be attributed to the highest number of constituencies present in the state. 

Rajasthan with 19 independent members elected to seven Houses comes in second. Kerala (15), Maharashtra (13), Madhya Pradesh (12) and Andhra Pradesh (12) take up the subsequent slots on the list. 

Jharkhand and West Bengal have sent 11 independent MPs each. Assam, Bihar and Chhattisgarh have sent seven MPs each while Tamil Nadu has sent 8 MPs.

While five MPs each have been elected from Gujarat, Odisha and Mizoram, Jammu and Kashmir has sent four independent MPs to the lower house.

Only 3 independent MPs have been elected from Karnataka so far. The last was poet Dinakar Desai in 1967 from Kanara Lok Sabha Constituency with the support of the combined opposition parties, when it was still Mysore state. 

In the ongoing elections, two prominent independent candidates are contesting from the state - Prakash Raj from Bangalore Central and Sumalatha from Mandya. The jinx can be broken if either one of them gets elected.
 

Kokrajhar Lok Sabha constituency in Assam has elected the most number of the independent MPs - eight times since 1971 with breaks in 1980, 1989 and 2009. In the current Lok Sabha, independent Naba Hira Kumar Sarania represents the Kokrajhar seat. He defeated another independent Urkhao Gwra Brahma by a margin of 355,779 votes in 2014. 

Bikaner Lok Sabha constituency elected an independent MP for the first five Lok Sabha elections. As a mark of respect to the erstwhile Bikaner princely kingdom, the voters elected the Maharaja of Bikaner Dr Karni Singh to the lower house five times in a row.

Maneka Gandhi won as an independent MP twice in 1998 and 1999 from Pilbhit in Uttar Pradesh. Two independent MPs in the current Lok Sabha are from Kerala with support from the Left Front and one among them is Malayalam film actor Innocent from Chalakkudy constituency.

With so many national and regional parties around, it is extremely difficult for an independent candidate to win in the elections. As noted above, most of the independent members won with either support from powerful parties in a particular area or by utilising their public-image.

Growing election expenses are also seen as a reason for the dwindling number of the independent MPs in the House. Parties now prefer to send independent personalities to the Rajya Sabha rather than the Lok Sabha.

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From 36 to 3, where are independent LS members?

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