• Why elections
• What makes election democratic?
• Is it good to have political competition?
• What is our system of election?
• What makes election democratic in India?
• Election, procedure that allows members of an
organization or community to choose
representatives who will hold positions of
authority within it.
• The most important elections select the
leaders of local, state, and national
• The chance to decide who will govern at these
levels serves as an opportunity for the public
to make choices about the policies, programs,
and future directions of government action.
• At the same time, elections promote
• The threat of defeat at the polls exerts
pressure on those in power to conduct
themselves in a responsible manner and take
account of popular interests and wishes when
they make their decisions.
•Elections take place regularly in
any democracy. We know that
there are more than 100 countries
in the world in which elections take
place to chose people’s
•But why do we need elections?
• A rule of people is possible without any
elections if all the people can sit together
everyday and take all the decisions.
•But we already know that it is not possible in an
•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.
• In an election the voters
make many choices:
• 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
WHAT MAKES ELECTION
Conditions of a democratic elections:
First, everyone should be able to choose. This means
that everyone should have one vote and every vote
and every vote should have equal value.
Second, there should be something to choose
from. Parties and candidates should be free to
contest elections and should offer some real choice
to the voters.
Third, the choice should be offered at
regular intervals. Election must be
held regularly after every few years.
Fourth, the candidate preferred by
the people should get elected.
Fifth, elections should be conducted
in a free and fair manner where
people can choose as they really
IS IT GOOD TO HAVE POLITICAL
Elections are thus all about political
competition. This takes competition takes
various forms. The most obvious form is the
competition among political parties. At the
constituency level, it takes the form of
competition among several candidates. If
there is no competition, elections will
But is it good to have political
Clearly, an electoral competition has many
demerits. It creates a sense of disunity and
‘factionalism’ in every locality. Different political
parties and leaders often level allegations against
one another. Parties and candidates often use
dirty tricks to win elections. Some people say
that this pressure to win electoral fights dose not
allow sensible long-term policies to be
formulated. Some good people who may wish to
serve the country do not enter this arena. They
do not like the idea being dragged into healthy
WHAT IS OUR SYSTEM OF
Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha (Assembly) elections
are held after every five years. After five years the
term of all elected representatives comes to an
end. The Lok sabha or vidhan sabha stands
‘dissolved’. 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.
Sometimes elections is held only for one
constituency to fill the vacancy caused by death or
resignation of a member. This is called a by-
In our country we follow an area based
system of representation. The country
is divided into different areas for
purposes of elections. These areas are
called electoral constituencies. The
voters who live in an area elect one
For Lok Sabha elections, the country is
divided into 543 constituencies. The
representative elected from each
constituency is called a Member of
parliament or an MP.
One of the features of democratic election
is that every vote should have equal
value. That is why our constitution
requires that each constituency should
have a roughly equal population living
Similarly, each state is divided into specific
number of Assembly constituencies. In this case,
the elected representative is called the member
of Legislative Assembly or an MLA. Each
parliamentary constituency has within it several
assembly constituencies. The same principle
applies for Panchayat and Municipal elections.
Each village or town is divided into several
ewardsi that are like constincutencies. Each
ward elects one member of the village or the
urban local body.
Sometimes these constituencies are
counted as sates for each
constituency represents one seat in
the assembly. When we say that
elok dal won 60 seats in Haryana,
it means that candidates of Lok Dal
won in 60 assembly constituencies
in the state and thus Lok Dal had
60 MLAs in the state assembly.
• The makers of our constitution thought of a special
system of reserved constituencies are reserved for the
weaker sections. Some constituencies are reserved for
people who belong to the Scheduled castes [SC] and
Scheduled Tribes [ST].
• In a SC reserved constituency only someone who
belongs to the Scheduled Castes can stand for election.
• Similarly only those belonging to the Scheduled Tribes
can contest an election from a constituency reserved
for ST. Currently, in the Lok Sabha 79 seats are reserved
for the Scheduled Castes and 41 for the Scheduled
• 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
• This is an important step for it is linked to
the first condition of a democratic
election: everyone should get an equal
opportunity to choose representatives.
• Universal adult franchise: In
this practice it means that
everyone should have one
vote and each vote should
have equal value.
LOK SABHA CONSTITUENCIES
Total constituencies = 543
General = 423
Reserved (SC) =79
Andhra Pradesh 42
Arunachal Pradesh 2
Himachal Pradesh 4
Jammu and Kashmir 6
Madhya Pradesh 29
Mizoram 1 UNION TERRITORIES
Orissa 21 Andaman & Nicobar 1
Punjab 13 Chandigarh 1
Rajasthan 25 Dadra &Nagar Haveli
Sikkim 1 Daman &Diu 1
Tamil Nadu 39 Delhi 7
Tripura 2 Lakshadweep 1
Uttar Pradesh 80 Pondicherry 1
West Bengal 42
• The main purpose of election is to give
people a chance to choose the
representatives, the government and the
policies they prefer. Therefore it is
necessary to have a free and open
discussion about who is a better
representative, which party will make a
better government or what is a good policy.
This is what happens during election
• In our country such campaigns take place
for a two week period between the
announcement of the final list of
candidates and the date of polling. During
this period the candidates contact their
voters, political leaders address election
meetings and political parties mobilize their
• According to our election law, no party or candidates
• Bribe or threaten voters.
• Appeal to them in the name of casts or religion.
• Use government resources for election campaign
spend more than rupees 20 lakh in a constituency in
an assembly election.
• Use any place of worship for election propaganda.
• Use government vehicles, aircrafts and officials for
• Once elections are announced, ministers shall not lay
foundation stones of any projects, take any big policy
decisions or make any promises of providing public
Why do you
bother? You can
go, I got your
• POLLING AND COUNTING OF VOTES
• The final stage of an election is the day when the voters cast
or ‘poll’ their vote. That day is usually called the election day.
CANDIDATE PARTY VOTESPS POLLED %OF VOTES
Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi INC 312432 37.76
Basawaraj Patil Sedum BJP 254548 30.82
Vithal Heroor JD (S) 189001 22.84
Suryakant Nimbalkar BSP 26723 3.23
Sanganna IND 15212 1.84
KNDP 7155 0.86
Bhagavanreddy B IND 6748 0.52
Hamid Pasha Sarmast MUL 3900 0.47
AIFB 3671 0.44
Sandesh C Bandak USYP 3380 0.41
WHAT MAKES ELECTIONS IN
• We get to read a lot about unfair practices in
• Inclusion of false names and exclusion genuine
names in the voters list;
• Misuse of government facilities and officials by the
• Excessive use of money by rich candidates and big
• Intimidation of voters and rigging on the polling
• Very few election commissions in the world
have such wide-ranging powers as the
election commission of India.
• 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
• During the election period, the EC can
order the government to follow some
guidelines, to prevent use and
enhance its chances its chances to win
election, or to transfer some
• When on election, or to transfer some
government officers work under the
control of the EC and not the
Do you think vote makes
Has no effect
1996 1998 1999 2004
Those who participate in any
election related activity in India.
THE OUTCOMES OF INDIA’S
ELECTIONS SPEAKS FOR ITSELF:
• The ruling parties routinely lose elections in India both at
the national and state level. In fact in every two out of the
three elections held in the last fifteen years, the ruling
• In the US, an incumbent or ‘sitting’ elected representative
rarely loses an election. In India about half of the sitting
MPs lose election.
• Barring very few disputed elections, the electoral
outcomes are usually accepted as ‘people’s verdict’ by the
What was need to say that
we have distributed tickets
only amongst suitable and
winnable family relations?
CHALLENGES TO FREE AND
• All this lead to a simple conclusion: elections in India
are basically free and fair. The party that wins an
election and forms government dose so because
people have chosen it over its rivals.
• can an ordinary citizen hope to win election?
Questions of this kind bring the many limitations
and challenges of Indian elections to our attention.
• Candidates and parties with lot of money may not
be sure of their victory but they do enjoy a big and
unfair advantage over smaller parties and
• In some parts of the country, candidates with
criminal connection have been able to push others
out of the electoral race and to secure a tickets from
• Some families tend to dominate political parties;
tickets are distributed to relatives from these
• Very often elections offer little choice to ordinary
citizens, for both the major parties are quite similar
to each other both in policies and practice.
• Smaller parties and independent candidates suffer a
huge disadvantage compared to bigger parties.
These challenges exist not just in India but also
in many established democracies. These
deeper issues area matter of concern for
those who believe in democracy. That is why
citizens , social activists and organiza-
tions have been demanding
reforms in our