The important part of democracy is to let the people choose their own representatives. And for that elections are held.
Why do we need elections ?
- Democracy is only possible when the people have the power to choose their leaders.
- People can choose the leaders who can make laws for them.
- People can remove the leaders that they don’t like.
- They can choose the party which will guide the country in the right direction.
What makes an election democratic ?
- Each person has one vote and each vote carries equal value.
- Parties are free to contest elections, so that people have choices.
- Elections must be held at regular interval.
- Elections must be held in free and fair manner.
- Party getting majority of votes is declared to be the winner.
Is it good to have political competition ?
- Without competition, elections are pointless.
- The competition among candidates can lead to a sense of disunity and factionalism in every locality.
- Parties and candidates sometimes use dirty tricks to win the election.
- That’s why it often discourages some good people who don’t want to be dragged in such unhealthy competitions.
- Regular electoral competition provides incentives to political parties and leaders.
- They know that if they raise issues that people want to be raised, their popularity and chances of victory will increase.
- Thus, the hunger for power will keep a check on the parties and their candidates.
India’s Electoral System:
In India, elections are held after every five years.
The elections which are held in all constituencies at the same time, either on same day or within a few days, are known as “General elections“.
The election held in a constituency to fill the vacancy caused by death or resignation of a member is known as “By-election“.
Some important segments of Indian Electoral System are:
- Our country is divided into different areas for purposes of election. These areas are known as “Constituencies“.
- Each constituency has roughly the equal population living in it.
- The voters who live in this area elect one representative.
- The representative elected from each constituency is known as “Member of Parliament” or “MP“.
- Each state is divided into specific number of Assembly constituencies.
- The elected representative of these constituencies are known as “Member of Legislative Assembly” or “MLA“.
- Sometimes, these constituencies are considered as “seats“.
- This same principle applies for Panchayat elections.
- Each village is divided into “wards“, and the elected representative is known as “Ward member“.
- To make our democracy more representative, our constitution makers thought of a special system of reserved constituencies.
- Some constituencies are reserved for people who belong to Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST).
- The number of reserved seats is in proportion to their total share in the population of that area.
- Thus it doesn’t take away the legitimate share of any other social group.
- This system of reservation was further extended to other weaker sections.
- The number of reserved seats vary from state to state.
- The list of voters who can vote in a constituency is known as “Electoral Roll“, or is popularly known as “Voters’ List“.
- It means that each person has a vote.
- In India, all citizens of age 18 or above has right to vote, regardless of their profession, economic status, religion, caste, etc.
- In rare situations only, a person is denied the right to vote.
- The list has to be kept updated.
- The names of persons attaining voting age are added to the list.
- The names of persons dead or moved out of that constituency are deleted from the list.
Nomination of Candidates:
- Any one who has voting right can become an election candidate, the only difference is the minimum age for elections can differ a little.
- Party nominates a candidate and that candidate gets the party symbol and support.
- Party’s nomination is often known as “Ticket“.
- The candidate has to fill out a nomination form and give some money as ‘security deposit’.
- The Supreme Court has directed that each candidate should make a legal declaration regarding: criminal cases against them, details of assets and liabilities of the candidate and their family members, education qualifications of the candidate.
- All the details are made public, so that the people can know the candidates better and can cast their votes accordingly.