Elections in India

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Elections in the Republic of India include elections for the Parliament, Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha, the Legislative Assemblies, and numerous other Councils and local bodies.

According to the Constitution of India, elections for the Parliament and the State Legislative Assemblies should take place every five years, unless a state of emergency has been declared. Any vacancy caused by death or resignation must be filled through an election within six months of any such occurrence. The elections for the lower houses (in Parliament and in the states) use the first-past-the-post electoral system (i.e. the candidate with the majority of the votes wins the election).

Elections for one-third of the seats of the upper house of the Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, are conducted every two years. The members of the upper house are elected indirectly by the state legislative assemblies based on proportional representation. Members of the state legislative councils (in states that have an upper house) are elected indirectly through local bodies.

All the elections at the central and state level are conducted by the Election Commission of India while local body elections are conducted by state election commissions. The recommendation is made by the Government and the notification for election is issued by the Election Commission.

The 2014 general election involved an electorate of 863,500,000 people. It was conducted in nine stages.[1][2] The expenditure for the 2014 election was approximately 3765 crore. The cost per voter was Rs 1375.[3] Votes were cast using over one million electronic voting machines.[4] In the 2014 election, the National Democratic Alliance led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power. The BJP secured a majority of 282 seats and Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India. As per the Center for media studies, Rs. 30,000 crore were spent during the 2016 Lok sabha elections in India.

Background[edit]

India's government is based on Federalism. Elected officials are appointed at federal, state and local levels. In India, there is universal suffrage. Results of elections are determined by first-past-the-post electoral system.[5] Elections are conducted by the Election Commission of India.

The Prime Minister of India is elected by members of the Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament.[6] The Constitution of India allows for up to 552 members in the Lok Sabha, with up to 530 members representing the States. Up to 20 members represent the Union Territories. In practice, 543 members of the Lok Sabha are elected every five years. Two members are elected by the President of India to represent the Anglo-Indian community.[7]

In 1952, there were 1874 candidates vying for places in the Lok Sabha. In 1996, this number rose to 1,39,529 candidates. In 2009 there were only 80,708 candidates.[8] The number of votes and seats won provides a ranking of the major political parties.[9]

The Rajya Sabha is the upper house of the parliament. 233 of its members are elected indirectly by the legislative assemblies of the states and the Electoral College of the Union Territories. The President of India appoints 12 of its members. (See Wikipedia, "Rajya Sabha")[10]. The 233 members are elected for a six-year term. Every two years, one-third of the members retire. The elected members are chosen by proportional representation via the single transferable vote. There are twelve nominated members who are usually an eclectic mix of eminent artists (including actors), scientists, jurists, sportsmen and women, executives, journalists and other citizens.[10]

LOK SABHA ELECTIONS
First Second Third
Year Election Total seats Party Seats % votes Party Seats % votes Party Seats % votes
1951-52 [11][12][13] 1st Lok Sabha 489 INC 364 45% CPI 16 3.29% SOC 12 10.59%
1957 [14] 2nd Lok Sabha 494 INC 371 47.78% CPI 27 8.92% PSP 19 10.41%
1962 3rd Lok Sabha 494 INC 361 44.72% CPI 29 9.94% SWA 18 7.89%
1967 4th Lok Sabha 520 INC 283 40.78% SWA 44 8.67% BJS 35 9.31%
1971 5th Lok Sabha 518 INC 352 43.68% CPM 25 5.12% CPI 23 4.73%
1977 6th Lok Sabha 542 JP 298 43.17% INC 153 34.52% CPM 22 4.29%
1980 7th Lok Sabha 529 ( 542* ) INC(I) 351 42.69% JNP(S) 41 9.39% CPM 37 6.24%
1984 8th Lok Sabha 514 INC 404 49.10% TDP 30 4.31% CPM 22 5.87%
1989 9th Lok Sabha 529 INC 195 39.53% JD 142 17.79% BJP 89 11.36%
1991 10th Lok Sabha 521 INC 244 35.66% BJP 120 20.11% JD 59 11.84%
1996 11th Lok Sabha 543 BJP 161 20.29% INC 140 28.80% JD 46 23.45%
1998 12th Lok Sabha 545 BJP 182 25.59% INC 141 25.82% CPM 32 5.16%
1999 13th Lok Sabha 545 BJP 182 23.75% INC 114 28.30% CPM 33 5.40%
2004 14th Lok Sabha 543 INC 145 26.53% BJP 138 22.16% CPM 43 5.66%
2009 15th Lok Sabha 545 INC 206 28.55% BJP 116 18.80% SP 23 3.23%
2014 16th Lok Sabha 545 BJP 282 31.34% INC 44 19.52% AIADMK 37 3.31%

* : 12 seats in Assam and 1 in Meghalaya did not vote.[15]

Indian political parties[edit]

From 1947 to 1964, the Indian National Congress was India's dominant political party. It was led by Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 – 1964), K Kamaraj (1903 – 1975) and then Lal Bahadur Shastri (1905 – 1966). In the 1970s, the Congress party splintered. Indira Gandhi then led the party to election victory. In 1977, the Congress party lost to an opposition coalition that represented voters opposed to India's state of emergency which had been imposed in 1975. Indira Gandhi regained power but was assassinated in 1984. After her death, her son, Rajiv Gandhi (1941 – 1991) led the party. In 1989, the Congress party lost to a coalition led by VP Singh (1931 – 2008) after Rajiv Gandhi was accused of corruption. In 1991, the Congress party returned to power, led by P V Narasimha Rao (1921 – 2004).

In 1996, a coalition government was formed, mostly from regional parties. Further coalition governments followed, led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, I K Gujral and H D Deve Gowda. In 1999, the National Democratic Alliance led by the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power and completed a full term. For the next decade, the United Progressive Alliance led by the Indian National Congress party formed the government under Manmohan Singh.

Parties with strong traditional regional bases include the Telugu Desam Party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. In the 1990s, new regional parties emerged including the Indian National Lok Dal, Shiromani Akali Dal, Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, and Janata Dal. Such parties may promote regional aspirations such as Telangana Rashtra Samithi and Shiv Sena or caste considerations as in the case of the Bahujan Samaj Party. Though India is a democratic country but malpractices during the elections have been continuing since the first government was formed.

Election Commission[edit]

The Election Commission of India is an autonomous entity prescribed in the Constitution of India. It is the federal authority responsible for administering all the electoral processes of India and ensuring they are free and fair.[16]

Elections are conducted according to constitutional provisions and parliamentary legislation. These include the Representation of the People Act, 1950, which mainly deals with the preparation and revision of electoral rolls, and the Representation of the People Act, 1951 which deals, in detail, with all aspects of the conduct of elections and post-election disputes. The Supreme Court of India has held that where the enacted laws are silent or make insufficient provision to deal with a given situation in the conduct of elections, the Election Commission has the residuary powers under the Constitution to act in an appropriate manner.

From 1947 to 16 October 1989, there was one Chief Election Commissioner. From 1989 to 1 January 1990, there were two commissioners. In 1990 of January, two chief commissioners were abolished and election commission acted as a single-member body. Again by The Election Commissioner Amendment Act, 1993 made the Election Commission a multi-member body. On 1 October 1993, a further two commissioners were appointed. Decisions are made by majority vote.

Electoral procedures[edit]

Candidates are required to file their nomination papers with the Electoral Commission. Then, a list of candidates is published. No party is allowed to use government resources for campaigning. No party is allowed to bribe the candidates before elections. The government cannot start a project during the election period. Campaigning ends by 6:00 pm two days before the polling day.

The polling is held between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm. The Collector of each district is in charge of polling. Government employees are employed as poll officers at the polling stations. Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) are being used instead of ballot boxes to prevent election fraud. After the citizen votes his or her left index finger is marked with an indelible ink. This practice was instituted in 1962.

Indelible ink[edit]

Ink used in Indian elections
Ink bottle pledge

Research into an indelible ink was commenced by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (|CSIR). In the 1950s, M. L. Goel worked on this research at the Chemical Division of the National Physical Laboratory of India. The ink used contains silver nitrate, which makes it photo-sensitive. It is stored in amber coloured plastic or brown coloured glass bottles. On application, the ink remains on the fingernail for at least two days. It may last up to a month depending upon the person's body temperature and the environment.

Electronic voting[edit]

Balloting unit (left), control unit (right)
Voting machine

BHAVIK (EVM) were first used in the 1999 election and became the only method of voting in 2004. The EVMs save time and report results. A voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) was introduced on 14 August 2013. The first election to implement the VVPAT was a by-election in the Noksen assembly constituency in Nagaland.[17] In the 2014 general election, VVPAT was operational in 8 constituencies as a pilot project.[18][19][20][21] These included Lucknow, Gandhinagar, Bangalore South, Chennai Central, Jadavpur, Raipur, Patna Sahib and Mizoram constituencies.[22][23][24][25][26][27] A slip generated by the VVPT tells a voter to which party or candidate their vote has been given, their name, their constituency and their polling booth.[28][29][30][31][32]. VVPAT has been in news recently (2017), following the demand of opposition parties to make it mandatory in the upcoming elections all over India due to allegations on the government of hacking the EVM. For the voters, it is very important to know how the VVPAT works to enable them cross-check whether the vote they have given goes to the right candidate. Here is a brief " At the point when the voter presses the button against the name of the applicant of her/his decision on the EVM unit, the VVPAT unit produces a paper slip, additionally called 'ballot slip'. This paper slip contains the name, serial number, and image of the candidate selected by the voter for his vote. "

NOTA[edit]

On 27 September 2013, the Supreme Court of India judged that citizens have the right to a negative vote by exercising a "None of the above" (NOTA) option. This was the result of petitioning from the Electoral Commission and the People's Union for Civil Liberties from 2009. In November 2013, NOTA was introduced in five state elections.[33]

Absentee voting[edit]

India does not provide general absentee voting.[34][35][36] On 24 November 2010, the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill 2010 was gazetted to give voting rights to non-resident Indians but a physical presence at the voting booth is still required.[37][38][39][40]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shashi Tharoor (16 April 2009). "The recurring miracle of Indian democracy". New Straits Times.[dead link]
  2. ^ "Number of registered voters in India". news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Election Expenditure per elector went up by twenty times in 2009 compared to the first General Elections". PIB. 11 March 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  4. ^ Indian General Election Expenditure, from ECI website accessed 14 May 2006. Archived 20 April 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Lok Sabha: Introduction". parliamentofindia.nic.in. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  6. ^ Basu, Durga D. (2009). "11". Introduction to the Constitution of India. Nagpur, India: LexisNexis Butterworths Wadhwa Nagpur. p. 199. ISBN 9788180385599.
  7. ^ Lok Sabha Secretariat. "Lok Sabha". Parliament of India. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  8. ^ "Lok Sabha Election Facts: Candidate Seat Ratio increased from 4 in 1952 to 25 in 1996". news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  9. ^ "Statistical Reports of Lok Sabha Elections". Election Commission of India. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  10. ^ a b Rajya Sabha Secretariat. "Council of States (Rajya Sabha)". The national portal of India. Parliament of India. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  11. ^ "Lok Sabha Results 1951-52". Election Commission of India. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  12. ^ "Statistical Report on Lok Sabha Elections 1951-52" (PDF). Election Commission of India. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Lok Sabha Elections Stats Summary 1951-52" (PDF). Election Commission of India. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  14. ^ "Statistical Report on Lok Sabha Elections 1957". Election Commission of India.
  15. ^ "Seventh Lok Sabha elections (1980)". Indian Express. Indian Express. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  16. ^ "A Constitutional Body". Election Commission of India.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "EC Decides to use VVPAT System at Bye-Election in Nagaland" (Press release). Press Information Bureau. 17 August 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
  18. ^ "EVM-paper trail introduced in 8 of 543 constituencies". dna. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  19. ^ Press Trust of India (29 April 2014). "LS polls: Voters to get 'automated-receipts' at Gandhinagar". Business-standard.com. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  20. ^ Staff Reporter. "VVPAT machine to be on demonstration for 10 days". The Hindu. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  21. ^ "VVPAT to be introduced in Jadavpur constituency". Indiatvnews.com. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  22. ^ "VVPAT, a revolutionary step in voting transparency". DNA. 27 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-27.
  23. ^ Patna Sahib electorate can see who they voted for - The Times of India
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^ 400 EVMs on standby for Patna Sahib, Pataliputra
  26. ^ "VVPAT to Debut in B'lore South". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  27. ^ T. Ramakrishnan. "Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail system comes to Chennai". The Hindu. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  28. ^ "Not many were aware of VVPAT, but were happy with verification". The Hindu. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  29. ^ "Safe distance". The Indian Express. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  30. ^ "As smooth as it gets, says city poll chief". The Times of India. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  31. ^ Ripon Buildings turns nerve centre of electoral activities in Chennai
  32. ^ "Voter's verifiable paper audit trail system to be introduced in Chennai Central constituency". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 1 April 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  33. ^ "ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA : Press release" (PDF). Eci.nic.in. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  34. ^ "Who can vote by postal ballot?". The Economic Times. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  35. ^ "Election Commission to ensure postal votes don't get invalid". dna. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  36. ^ "Pranab to become first president to cast vote via postal ballot". Oneindia.com. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  37. ^ "gazette notifications". Thehindu.com. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 2012-08-06.
  38. ^ "Petition for Absentee Voting in Indian Elections". Voterswithoutborders.org. Archived from the original on 16 April 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  39. ^ "Non-Resident Indians Voting rights in the upcoming general elections". Tanushreebagrodia.blogspot.com. 8 December 2008. Retrieved 2012-08-06.
  40. ^ "People for Lok Satta- NRI voting campaign". Nrivotingrights.info. 9 January 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-06.

External links[edit]