Since the first Lok Sabha (LS) elections in 1957, only on six occasions the count of winning independents has reached two digits. The maximum winning percentage of 8.73% was also seen during first election when total of 42 independents had won out of 533 who had contested.
Till now, the highest number of winning independent candidates was seen in 1957 elections when they won 42 seats, followed by 37 in 1952. Besides 1952 and 1957, independent candidates won 20 seats (in 1962 elections), 35 seats (1967), 14 seats (1971) and 12 seats (1989). While in all rest ten LS elections they could not cross single digit.
Since 1991 polls, number of winning independents is not just stood at single digit but also sharply declining too. The lowest count also observed in 1991 when only one independent had won out of total 5,514 independents contested. That also marked lowest success rate at 0.02%.
Among all the states, Uttar Pradesh, having 80 LS seats now (earlier 86), has sent a maximum of 37 independents to the Lok Sabha so far.
An observation of the data available at Election Commission of India (ECI) shows that though over the years number of contesting independents increased but the number of winning candidates among them have constantly declined. In last LS polls 2014, only 3 independents were elected.
Similarly, the total votes share percentage has also been declining for independents elected till 2014. The maximum vote share percentage was registered at 19.32% in 1957 when 42 independents were elected out of total 481 contested. Vote share percentage was seen lowest at 2.37% in 1998 when 6 independents were elected out of total 1915 contested.
Analysis shows that less number of winning independents is majorly due to votes division among more number of independents contested elections year by year.
Though in Indian democracy any independent fulfilling current eligibility criteria can contest elections as many times. But observing constant decline in winning candidates because certain candidates despite losing elections several times still decide to contest, ECI had recommended debarring them from contesting elections in December 2010.
The Law Commission of India in its report on ‘Reform of Electoral Laws’ has also said that independent candidates should be debarred from contesting elections to the Lok Sabha. However, no final decision has been taken yet.