Lesson4 Electoral Politics
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
Legal declaration introduced by the Supreme Court for filing Nomination papers. Every candidate has to make a legaldeclaration, giving full details of Serious criminal cases pendingagainst the candidate Every candidate has to make a legal declaration, giving full details of Details of the assets and liabilitiesof the candidate and his or herfamily; and Every candidate has to make a legal declaration, giving full details of Education qualifications of thecandidate.
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)
Election Campaign: Political parties try to focus public attention to bigger issues during election campaign The candidates and political party conduct election campaign to educate the voters about their future programmes and policies. Political parties hold rallies, road-shows, mohalla sabhas, etc They also spend on hoardings, advertising, banners, posters and pamphlets. Political parties usually try to focus the voters' attention on some big issues; like poverty alleviation, corruption, employment generation, provision for electricity, water, food, etc. In election campaign the political parties have to agree for a model code of conduct'.
Model Code of Conduct: One the election dates are announced the model code of conduct is enforced by the Election Commission. This code of conduct prohibits the following: Use of any place of worship for election propaganda. Use of government vehicles, officials or aircraft for election campaign. Laying of foundation stone for any project and announcing any big ticket programme
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.
Polling and counting of votes: India is one of the few countries where electronic voting machines (EVMs) are used for voting. One needs to press the button against the electoral symbol of his choice to register a vote EVMs provide many benefits compared to traditional ballot papers. EVMs are lightweight and much less number of EVMs is required to cover a constituency. Counting of votes is less time consuming and more accurate through EVMs. Now-a-days, even paper trail can be printed from an EVM. It is because of the use of EVMs that poll results are announced within a day of beginning of counting During the days of ballot papers, carrying the ballot boxes to and from the polling booth used to be a tedious task. Counting of votes used to take three to four days. Chances of malpractices were far too high.
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.
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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