GUWAHATI, April 1 - The number of candidates in the fray for the Lok Sabha elections from Assam was comparatively low in the first few decades after Independence, but the situation began to change from the mid-1980s when the number of contestants witnessed a major increase.
It is also noteworthy that a majority of parliamentary poll candidates in Assam over the years have forfeited their security deposits by failing to secure a minimum of one-sixth of the total valid votes cast in their particular constituency.
In the first Lok Sabha polls held in 1951-52, there were 10 parliamentary constituencies in Assam.
Of those, eight were �single-member� constituencies and two were �double-member� constituencies. As such, the total number of seats from Assam was 12.
There were a total of 40 contestants from Assam and 11 of them forfeited their deposits in the 1951-52 polls.
A total of 31 candidates contested from the constituencies of Assam in the general elections to the second Lok Sabha held in 1957. Of the total contestants, four lost their deposits.
The �double-member� constituencies were done away with during the third Lok Sabha polls held in 1962. In those elections, a total of 41 candidates were in the fray from the 12 constituencies of Assam and 12 of the contestants forfeited deposits.
By the time of the fourth Lok Sabha elections, the number of constituencies in Assam increased to 14. The total number of candidates in Assam during the 1967 general elections was 47 and 14 of them forfeited deposits.
There were 78 candidates in Assam for the fifth Lok Sabha polls of 1971 and 55 of the contestants forfeited their deposits.
In the 1977 elections, the total number of candidates from the State went down to 40. Of the total contenders, 12 forfeited their security deposits.
The seventh Lok Sabha polls of 1980 were not held in the constituencies of the Brahmaputra Valley. However, voting took place in the two seats of the Barak Valley. Only seven candidates were in the fray for the two constituencies, two of whom forfeited their deposits.
While the rest of the country voted in 1984 to elect the eighth Lok Sabha, the elections to the parliamentary constituencies of Assam and Punjab were held only in 1985. The number of total contestants from Assam crossed the hundred mark for the first time in the 1985 polls. A total of 106 candidates were in the fray and 75 of them forfeited their deposits.
Elections to the Lok Sabha constituencies of Assam were not held in 1989.
In the elections to the 10th Lok Sabha in 1991, the number of candidates from Assam went up to 167. Of the total, 135 contestants lost their security deposits.
The total number of contestants came down to 137 in the 1996 Lok Sabha polls and 101 candidates forfeited their deposits. In the 1998 Lok Sabha polls, the total number of candidates fell further to 101, and 65 of them forfeited deposits.
The number of overall contestants from the constituencies of the State went up to 115 in the 1999 parliamentary polls and 79 of them lost their security deposits.
In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, there were 116 contenders for the 14 constituencies of Assam and 81 of the contestants forfeited deposits.
In the general elections to the 15th Lok Sabha held in 2009, a total of 158 candidates contested in Assam. The number of those who forfeited their security deposits stood at 122.
The 16th general elections held in 2014 witnessed the highest ever number of candidates in the fray from Assam. There were a total of 162 contestants and of them 127 candidates forfeited their deposits.