Answer :

The 1967 election marked a landmark in the history of India. It brought a series of changes to the political system.

• The Congress party suffered its worst defeat till then. Although it came to power, with the lowest majority, it had since independence. Its vote share decreased, and there was a gradual loss of mass support.

• The Congress lost in as many as 8 state assemblies (Bihar, U.P., Rajasthan, Punjab, West Bengal, Orissa, Madras, and Kerela). Thus, its dominance declined.

• This was the first big transition in India as the party which ruled for two decades was now challenged.

• There was a rise in regional parties. In the southern states such as Kerela and Tamil Nadu, DMK emerged victoriously. This made the political system more competitive.

• The defeat of Congress weakened the Congress internally. A new phenomenon of defection became evident, as the party members defected to opposition parties.

• For the first time in political history, the coalition was formed against the Congress. Samyukta Vidhayak Dal- which comprised of Jan Sangh, socialists, Swatantra and congress defectors, formed a government in the state.

• This period was characterized by the first democratic upsurge as intermediate and backward caste groups gained political power.

• Power became a key weapon to hold parties with different ideology united. Thus, politics was no longer governed by the ideology of the parties.

• There was a renewal in the demands for separate states. Thus, there was a rise in regional sentiment in different parts of the country.

• There was communal tension in different parts of the country. The new leadership headed by Indira Gandhi was not well equipped to handle the growing crisis in the system.

• The Congress party started shedding its umbrella-like character and focussed more on the poor and the downtrodden

Thus, a full-fledged democracy took roots in India and the country move towards a competitive multi-party system.

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