Lesson4 Electoral Politics
Elections Elections are a democratic way of selecting representatives. Democracy ensures the right choice of the people's representatives at regular interval of time. They ensure that the representatives rule as per the wishes of the people. Elections help voters to choose representatives who will make laws for them, form the government and take major decisions The voters can choose the party whose policies will guide the government and lawmaking. Thus election is a mechanism by which people can choose their representatives at regular intervals and change them if they wish to
What makes an Election Democratic?
Some non democratic nations also have elections but they are not real choices Everyone should be able to choose, i.e. everyone should have one vote and every vote should have equal value. Universal Adult Franchise. There should be parties and candidates to choose from, freedom to contest and a wide choice for people. Election Candidate preferred by the people should be elected. Elections should be held in a fair and free atmosphere to be democratic. These conditions are not followed in many so called democratic nations. s must be held at regular intervals.
Political Competition: Demerits In the name of party politics many unwanted practices are followed. - Creates a sense of disunity.. Parties level allegations against each other of using dirty tricks to win elections Long-term and sensible policies cannot be formulated. Good people do not enter politics
Merits: Elections are good because they force the ruling party to perform. The government is aware that it will be voted out of power if it does not perform as the people expected. forces parties and leaders to perform, so competition is good. Political competition may cause divisions and some ugliness, but it finally helps to force political parties and leaders to serve the
How elections are held in India General Election. Elections are held in all constituencies at the same time, either on the same day or within a few days. This is called a general election. By-election Sometimes election is held only for one constituency or two to fill the vacancy caused by death or resignation of a member. This is called a by-election.
Electoral constituencies The country is divided into different areas based on population for the purpose of elections These areas are called electoral constituencies. For LokSabha elections, the country is divided into 543 constituencies
Similarly, each state is divided into constituencies and a specific number of members called Members of the Legislative Assembly are elected. -Sometimes the constituencies are called as seats. The dates of General Elections are announced. Each party declares its Manifesto and prepares a list of nominations.
Reserved Constituencies: Constitution has a special system of reserved constituencies for the weaker sections. Constituencies are kept reserved for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. At local and district level the reservation system is extended to other weaker sections like women and OBC.
Voters' list The list of those who are eligible to vote is prepared much before the election and given to everyone. This list is officially called Electoral Roll and is commonly known as the Voters'List In our country, all the citizens aged18 years and above can vote in an election. Every citizen has the right to vote, regardless of his or her caste, r ligion or gender Some criminals and persons with an unsound mind can be denied the right to vote, but only in rare situations. In the last few years, a an been introduced. The government has tried to give this card to every person on the voter's list.
Nomination of candidates Anyone who can be a voter can also become a candidate in elections. The only difference is that in order to be the candidate the minimum age is 25years, while it is only 18 years for being a voter. Every person who wishes to contest an election has to fill a nomination form' and give some money as 'security deposit
There is no education al qualification for candidates to conduct elections Educational qualifications are not relevant to all kinds of jobs. The relevant qualification for being an MLA or an MP is the ability to understand people's concerns, problems and to represent their interests Even if education was relevant, it should beleave to the people to decide how much importance they give to educational qualifications. In our country putting an educationalqualification would go against the spirit ofdemocracy for yet another reason. It wouldmean depriving a majority of the country'scitizens the right to contest elections(with poor literacy rate)
According to law, following activities are banned during election campaign: Threatening or bribing the voters. Asking for votes in the name of religion or caste. Use of government resources in election campaign Spending more than Rs. 25 lakh in a Lok Sabha constituency and more than Rs. 1O lakh in an assembly constituency.
What makes elections in India Democratic Independent Election Commission: In India elections are conducted by an independent and very powerful Election commission. An independent and powerful commission appointed by the President of India to conduct free and fair election is called Election Commission. The commission has three members and once they are appointed, they are not answerable to the President or the government.
Powers and functions of the Election Commiss EC takes decisions on every aspect of conduct and control of elections 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, the ECcan order the government to followsome guidelines, to revent use andmisuse of governmental power toenhance its chances to winelections, or to transfer somegovernment officials When on election duty, government officers work under the control of the EC and not the government.
Popular participation of people in Election People's participation in the election is usually measured by voter turnout figures. Turnout indicates the percent of eligible voters who actually cast their vote. Inlndia the turnout has eitherremained stable or actually goneup. In India, the poor, illiterate and underprivileged people vote in larger proportion as compared to the rich and privileged sections -Common people in India attach a lot of importance to elections. They feel that through elections they can bring pressure on political parties to adopt policies and programmes vorable to them. /The interest of voters in election-related activities has been increasing over the years During the 2004 elections, more than one-third voters took part in campaign-related activities. Morethan half of the people are being close to one or the other political party.
Acceptance of electionoutcome by the candidates and parties The ruling parties routinely loseelections in India both at thenational and state level. In fact inevery two out of the three electionsheld in the last fifteen years, theruling party lost. In India, about half of the sitting MPs or MLAs lose elections. Candidates who are known to have spent a lot of money on 'buyingvotes' and those with known criminal connections often lose elections. Barring very few disputed elections, the electoral outcomes are usually accepted as 'people'verdict' by the defeated party.
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