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Saturday 28 May 2022







    Ø In a democracy, people do not govern directly. They govern through the elected- representatives.

    Ø Governing through elected representatives is the most common form of democracy.

    Ø Electoral politics is all about understanding election of representatives, need of elections and how to make election democratic.

    Ø It also involves examining the role of the election commission in ensuring free and fair elections.


    Ø The mechanism or procedure by which people choose their representatives at regular intervals is called election.

    The procedure of election can be understood by the real example of Haryana Assembly elections. It will show how candidates standing in election become representatives and how power can be removed from their hands.


    Ø Haryana had been ruled by Congress party since 1982. At that time, Chaudhary Devi Lai was an opposition leader.

    Ø He led movement called Nyaya Yudh (struggle for justice) and formed new party ‘Lok Dal’.

    Ø In election campaign of 1987 Assembly election, Devi Lai promised voters that if his party win, he would give loans to farmers and small businessmen.

    Ø Voters favoured Lok Dal as people were unhappy with the existing government, they were attracted by Devi Lai’s promise. So, they voted in favour of Lok Dal and its partners.

    Ø Lok Dal won 60 seats, have a clear majority in the – Assembly. Congress got only 5 seats.

    Ø The newly elected Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) of Lok Dal chose Devi Lai as their leader. The Governor invited’ Devi Lai to be the new Chief Minister.

    Ø Then his government issued a government order to give loans to small farmers, agricultural labourers and small businessmen.

    Ø Lok Dal ruled state for 4 years. In 1991 election, the party did not win people’s support. This time Congress won the election and formed the government.


    Ø Elections are very much needed to elect representatives. Its necessity understood by imagine of democracy without elections.

    §  In the absence of the election, all the people have to sit together every day and take all the decisions. But this is not possible in any large community.

    §  Nor it is possible for everyone to have the time and knowledge to take decisions on all matters.

    §  Therefore, in most democracies, people rule through their representatives. The elections are needed for any representative democracy because

    Ø They solve the problem of assessing people on the basis of education, knowledge or experience.

    Ø They also help in analysing people like their representatives or not.

    Ø They ensure that the representatives rule as per the wishes of the people and make sure that those who are not working for the people, do not remain their representatives.

    Ø By election, the voters make many choices like

    §  They can choose who will make laws for them.

    §  They can choose who will form the government and take major decisions.

    §  They can choose the party whose policies will guide the government and law making.


    Ø Elections are held in all democratic countries and also in most of the non-democratic countries in many ways. But there is a simple list of the minimum conditions which make an election democratic like

    §  Everyone should have the right to choose a representative. It means everyone has one vote and every vote has equal value.

    §  Political parties and candidates should be free to contest elections and offer some real choices to the voters.

    §  The choices should be offered at regular intervals. It means, elections must be held regularly after a certain period.

    §  The candidates preferred by the people only should get elected.

    §  Elections should be conducted in a free and fair manner where people can choose as they really wish.


    Ø Elections are all about competition. Without competition, elections would become meaningless. Political competition takes place when different political parties compete to gain confidence and ultimately the vote of the voters. They make promises and give incentives to motivate the voters.


    §  It creates a sense of disunity and factionalism (Groupism) and party-politics in every locality.

    §  Different political parties and candidates often use dirty tricks like booth capturing to win elections.

    §  The pressure to win electoral fights does not allow to- form useful long-term policies.

    §  The competition leads to the idea of being dragged into the unhealthy competition. That’s why good people do not enter and participate in political competition.


    §  Electoral competition provides incentives to political parties and leaders. If they can satisfy the voters with their work, they will be able to win again.

    §  It helps to force political parties and leaders to serve the people.

    §  It reveals the real motive of political parties.

    §  It gives choices to voters to choose among the best.


    Ø In India, Election are held at different level as Centre level  (Lok Sabha) State level (Vidhan Sabha ) and Local level (Panchayat and Municipalities).They held regularly after every five years.


    Ø General Election: - When elections are held in all constituencies at the same time, either on the same day or within a few days. This is known as General Election.

    Ø By-election: - When an election is held only for one constituency to fill the vacancy caused by death or resignation of a member. This is known as a by-election.

    Ø Re-election: -When elections are held again in any booths of any constituency due to some problem. That is known as re-election.


    Ø In India, an area-based system of representation is followed. An area of a country from where the people elect one representative, is called as Electoral Constituencies. It is popularly known as Seats.

    Ø Centre Election: -There are 543 Lok Sabha constituencies and 233 Rajya Sabha Constituencies in our country. The elected representatives are called as Member of Parliament (MP).

    Ø Vidhan Sabha Election: -Each state is divided into a specific number of assembly constituencies for Vidhan Sabha and the elected representative of assembly constituency is called the Member of Legislative Assembly or an MLA.

    Ø Local Election: -Each village or town is divided into different wards for local elections. Each ward elects one member of the village or the urban local body.


    Ø The constituency which are reserved only for the particular community is known as reserved constituency. It means only particular candidate can contest the election for which the seat is reserved.


    §  In an open electoral competition, certain weaker sections may not stand a good chance to get elected to the Lok Sabha and the state Legislative Assemblies.

    §  Without reservation the voice of a significant section of our population, would be deprived.

    §  It would make our democracy less representative and less democratic.


    Ø A few seats in Lok Sabha are reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs). This number is in proportion to their share in the total population.

    Ø In the year 2021, 84 seats are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 47 for the Scheduled Tribes (in Lok Sabha).

    Ø Thus, the reserved seats for SC and ST do not take away the legitimate share of any other social group.

    Ø This system of reservation was extended later to other weaker sections at the district and local level.

    Ø In many states, seats in rural (panchayat) and urban (municipalities and corporations) local bodies are now reserved for Other Backward Classes (OBC) as well.

    Ø However, the proportion of seats reserved varies from state to state.

    Ø Similarly, one-third of the seats are reserved in rural and urban local bodies for women candidates.


    Ø After constituencies are decided, the next step is to decide who can and who cannot vote.

    Ø In a democratic election, the list of those who are eligible to vote is prepared much before the election and given to everyone. This list is officially called the Electoral Roll and is commonly known as the Voters’ List.

    Ø In our country, all the citizens aged 18 years and above can vote in an election. Every citizen has the right to vote, regardless of his or her caste, religion or gender. It is called as Universal Adult Franchise.


    Ø It is the responsibility of the government to get the names of all the eligible voters put on the voters’ list.

    Ø As new persons attain voting age, names are added to the voters’ list, names of those who move out of a place or those who are dead are deleted.

    Ø A complete revision of the list takes place every five years. This is done to ensure that it remains up to date.


    Ø In the last few years, a new system of Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC) has been introduced.

    Ø The voters are required to carry this card when they go out to vote so that no one can vote in their place.

    Ø The card has not been made compulsory for voting, and. voters can show many other proofs of identity like the ration card, driving’ licence or Adhar Card.


    Ø The system of our country provides almost no restrictions on anyone to contest the election. This only makes any election a democratic election.

    Ø Anyone who can be a voter can also become a candidate in elections.

    Ø The only difference to be a voter is that the minimum age is 18 years while to be a candidate in the election the minimum age is 25 years.

    Ø There are also some other restrictions on criminals but these apply in very extreme cases.

    Ø Political parties nominate their candidates who get the party support and symbol. Party’s nomination is often called Party Ticket. The candidate has to fill a nomination form and give some money as a security deposit.

    Ø Candidates also contest election independently. (Nirdaliya)


    §  Educational qualifications of the candidate

    §  Details of the assets and liabilities of the candidate and his/her family.

    §  Serious criminal cases pending against the candidate.

    The information provided has to be made public so that voters to make their decision on the basis of the information provided by the candidates.


    Ø There is no educational qualification for candidates for being an MP or an MLA.

    Ø Putting an educational qualification would go against the spirit of democracy because it would deprive a majority of the citizens right to contest elections.

    Ø This is because still, the majority of the Indian population is uneducated.

    Ø Even if education was relevant, it should be left to the people to decide how much importance they give to educational qualifications.


    Ø Election campaign means the promotion (or propaganda) of the policies, offers and promises that the candidates make to voters to fulfil if they are elected. In this way, voters can decide the candidate to vote for. They vote for the candidate whose policies they like.

    Ø In our country, election campaigning takes place for a two-week period between the announcement of the final list of candidates and the polling. Though it started before many months of election.

    Ø During this period, the candidates contact their electorate, political leaders, held meetings to mobilise their supporters. This is also the period when Print Media, social media and television and news are full of election-related stories and debates and slogans.

    Ø They also prepare their election manifestos. In election campaigns, political parties try to focus public attention on some big issues.

    Some of the successful slogans given by different political parties in various elections are given below

    Ø Garibi Hatao’ (Remove poverty) In the Lok Sabha election of 1971 the Congress party led by Indira Gahdhi gave this slogan. The party promised to reorient all the policies of the government to remove poverty .

    Ø Save Democracy’ was the slogan given by Janata Party in the next Lok Sabha election held in 1977. Hie party promised to undo the excesses committed during Emergency and restore civil liberties.

    Ø The Left Front used the slogan of ‘Land to the Teller’ in the West Bengal Assembly elections held in 1977.

    Ø Protect the Self-Respect of the Telugus’ was the slogan used by N.T. Rama Rao, the leader of the Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections in 1983.

    Ø ‘Abki bar Modi Sarkar’ was the slogan used by BJP in the Lok Sabha election of 2014 and won the full majority under Narendra Modi.


    Ø To regulate the election campaign, there are some election laws. According to these laws, no party or candidate can

    §  Bribe or threaten voters,

    §  Appeal to them in the name of caste or religion,

    §  Use government resources for election campaign and

    §  Spend more than Rs. 95 lakhs in a constituency for a Lok Sabha election or Rs. 40 lakhs in a constituency in an Assembly Election.

    Ø If any party or candidate is found practising any of the above, their election can be rejected by the court.

    Ø In addition to the laws, all the political parties in our country have agreed to a model code of conduct for an election campaign. According to this, no party or candidate can

    §  use any place of worship for election propaganda

    §  use government vehicles, aircraft and officials for elections

    §  once elections are announced, ministers shall not lay foundation stones of any project, take any big policy decision or make any promise of providing public facilities.


    Ø On the day when voters cast or ‘poll’ their vote is called an Election Day.

    Ø Every person whose name is on the voters’ list can go to a nearby polling booth and cast his/her vote through a Secret ballot/ EVM.

    Ø Once the voter goes inside the booth, the election official identifies him/ her, put a mark on the voter’s finger and allow him/ her to cast his/ her vote.

    Ø An agent of each candidate is allowed to sit inside the polling booth and ensure that the voting takes place in a fair way.

    Ø Earlier voting was done, by putting a stamp on the ballot paper. A ballot paper is a sheet of paper on which names of the contesting candidates along with party name and symbols are listed. Now Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are used to record votes. The machine shows the names of the candidates and the party symbols. The voter has to press the button against the name of the candidate, he/she wants to cast his/her vote.


    Ø Once the polling is over, all the EVMs are sealed and taken to a secure place.

    Ø A few days later, on a fixed date, all the EVMs are opened and the votes secured by each candidate are counted.

    Ø The candidate who secures the highest number of votes from a constituency is declared elected.

    Ø In general elections, the counting of votes in all constituencies takes place at the same time, on the same day.

    Ø Now within a few hours of counting, all the results are declared and it becomes clear as who will form the next government.

    Ø This event is reported by television channels, radio and newspapers.


    Ø There are many factors which ensure that elections held in India are democratic. An independent body ‘Election Commission’ responsible to conduct elections is formulated in the Constitution of India.


    In our country, elections are conducted by very powerful Election Commission (EC) consisted of one Chief Election Commission with two other members. Now Rajeev Kumar is CEC. In our country EC is completely independent as:

    §  It enjoys the same kind of independence that the judiciary enjoys.

    §  The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) is appointed by the President of India. But once appointed, he is not answerable to even the President or the government Powers of Election Commission Potters enjoyed by dying Election Commission ate.

    §  The service conditions of the chief election commissioner cannot be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.


    §  It takes decisions on every aspect of conduct and control of elections right from the announcement of elections to the declaration of results.

    §  It implements the code of conduct and punishes any candidate or party that violates it.

    §  During the election period, Election Commission can order the government to follow some guidelines to prevent the use and misuse of governmental power.

    §  On election duty, government officers work under the control of the Election Commission and not the government.

    §  When election officials come to the opinion that polling was not fair in some booths or even an entire constituency, they order a repoll.

    §  EC also issue the symbols to the party and candidate.

    §  EC also advise the president on matters relating to disqualifications of the members of Parliament.

    §  To conduct the election of President, Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, And Vidhan sabha, Vidhan Parishad.


    §  The participation and enthusiasm of people in an election is another criterion to check the quality of elections.

    §  Turnout indicates the per cent of eligible voters who actually cast their vote.

    §  In India, there is greater voter turnout of poor illiterate people as compared to western democracies.


    §  The outcome of elections-the final test of the free and fairness of it.

    §  If elections are not free or fair, the outcome always favours the powerful.

    §  In such a situation, the ruling parties do not lose elections. Usually, losing party does not accept the outcome of a rigged election. The outcome of India’s election speaks for itself for its democratic way as:

    ·      The ruling parties routinely lose elections in India both at the national and state level.

    ·      In India, about half of the sitting MPs or MLAs lose elections.

    ·      Candidates who are known to have spent a lot of money on buying votes and those with Known criminal connection often lose elections.

    ·      Except for some disputed elections, the electoral outcomes are usually accepted by the defeated party as ‘people’s verdict’.


    The challenges to free and fair elections are listed as follows

    Ø Candidates and parties with a lot of money may not be sure of their victory but they do enjoy an unfair advantage over smaller parties and independents.

    Ø Some candidates with criminal records are able to secure party tickets from major parties due to their connections political.

    Ø Some families tend to dominate political parties; a tendency for the dynastic rule is very common.

    Ø Elections offer only little choice to ordinary citizens. All the major parties are quite similar to each other both in policies and practice.

    Ø Smaller parties and independent candidates suffer a huge disadvantage compared to bigger parties in terms of money power and organisational support.

    Ø These challenges exist not only in India but also in many established democracies. This is a matter of concern for all who believe in democracy. This is the reason due to which there is the demand for reforms in our electoral system by citizens, social activists and organisations.


    Ø Code of Conduct: A set of norms and guidelines to be followed by political parties and contesting candidates during election time.

    Ø Constituency: Voters in a geographical area who elect a representative to the legislative bodies.

    Ø Incumbent: The current holder of a political office. Usually, the choice for the voters in elections is between the incumbent party or candidate and those who oppose them.

    Ø Level playing field: Condition in which all parties and candidates contesting in an election have equal opportunities to appeal for votes and to carry out election campaign.

    Ø Rigging: Fraud and malpractices indulged by a party or candidate t increase its votes. It includes stuffing ballot boxes by a few persons using the votes of others; recording multiple votes by the same person; and bribing or coercing polling officers to favour a candidate.

    Ø Turnout: The percentage of eligible voters who cast their votes in an election.


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