56) What do you know about voter's ID card?
Answer: (i) In the last few years, a new system of Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC) has been introduced.
(ii) The government has made efforts to give this card to every person on the voters' list. (iii) The voters are required to carry this card when they go out to cast their vote, so that no one can vote for someone else.
(iv) But the card is not yet compulsory for voting. The voters can show many other proofs of identity like the ration card, driving license or the passport, etc.
57) Do people have real choice in a democratic election?
Answer: (i) In a democratic election, people should have real choice. This happens only when there are almost no restrictions on anyone to contest elections. This is what our system provides.
(ii) Anyone who can be a voter, can also become a candidate in elections and therefore can contest elections.
(iii) The only difference is that in order to be a candidate, the minimum age is 25 years, while it is only 18 years for being a voter.
58) In what manner does the Election Commission monitor the election campaign?
Answer: (i) In a democracy, it is best to leave political parties and candidates free to conduct their election campaigns the way they want to.
(ii) But it is sometimes necessary to regulate campaigns to ensure that every political party and candidate gets a fair and equal chance to compete.
(iii) Election Commission can fix the amount of rupees to be spent in campaigning and any kind of malpractices can be checked by them.
59) What is a Model Code of Conduct for election campaigns?
Answer: (i) No party or candidate can use any place of worship for election propaganda. (ii) No party or candidate can use government vehicles, aircraft and officials for elections. (iii) Once elections are announced, ministers shall not lay foundation stones of any projects, take any big policy decision or make any promises of providing public facilities.
60) How can we check the quality of the election process?
Answer:Ways to check the quality of the election process: (i) To see whether people participate in it with enthusiasm. (ii) Turn out of the voters indicate it. (iii) Large proportions of the poor, illiterate, and under privileged vote in the process. It shows the success of the system. (iv) Election-related activities are increasing over the years.
61) How are results declared after an election in our country?
Answer: (i) A few days later, on a fixed date, all the EVMs from a constituency are opened and the votes secured by each candidate are counted. (ii) In general elections, usually the counting of votes in all the constituencies takes place at the same time, on the same day. (iii) Television channels, radio and newspapers report this event. Within a few hours of counting, all the results are declared and it becomes clear. as to who will form the next government.
62) What does turnout figure indicate?
Answer: (i) People's participation in election is usually measured by voters' turnout figure. (ii) Turnout indicates the percentage of eligible voters who actually cast their vote. (iii) Over the last fifty years, the turnout in Europe and North America has declined. In India, the turnout has either remained stable or actually gone up.
63) Is it true that the interest of voters is increasing day by day in election- related activities?
Answer: (i) The interest of voters in election-related activities has been, increasing over the years. (ii) During the 2004 elections, more than one-third voters took part in campaign-related activities. (iii) More than half of the people identified themselves as being close to one or the other political party. One out of every seven voters is a member of a political party.
64) In what way does the outcome of elections matter to the people?
Answer: (i) One final test of the free and fairness of the elections is in its outcome itself. (ii) If elections are not free or fair, the outcome always favours the powerful. In such a situation, the ruling parties do not lose elections. (iii) Usually, the losing party does not accept the outcome of a rigged elections.
65) How can you say that elections in India are free, fair and democratic?
Answer: (i) Elections in India are basically free and fair. The party that wins an election and forms government does so because people have chosen it over its rivals.
(ii) This may not be true for every constituency. A few candidates may win purely on the basis of money power and unfair means. But the overall verdict of a general election still reflects popular preference.
(iii) There is very few exceptions to this rule in the last fifty years in our country. This is what makes Indian elections democratic.
66) What does booth capturing and rigging mean in the elections?
Answer:(i) Booth capturing: Supporters or hired musclemen of party or a candidate gain physical control of a polling booth and cast false votes by threatening everyone or by preventing genuine voters from reaching the polling booth. (ii) Rigging: Fraud and malpractices indulged by a party or candidate to increase his votes. It includes stuffing ballot boxes by a few persons using the votes of others; recording multiple votes by the same person; and bribing polling officers to favour a candidate.
67) What are the minimum conditions for a democratic election?
Answer: Minimum conditions for democratic elections are as follows:
(i) Everyone should be able to choose. This means that everyone should have one vote and every vote should have equal value.
(ii) Parties and candidates should be free to contest elections and should offer some real choice to the voters.
(iii) The choice should be offered at regular intervals. Elections must be held every few years.
(iv) The candidates preferred by the people should get elected.
(v) Elections should be conducted in a free and fair manner, where people can choose as they wish.
68) What are the merits and demerits of an electoral competition?
(i) In an ideal world, all political leaders know what is good for the people and are motivated only by a desire to serve them.
(ii) Our constitution makers opted for free competition in elections as the way to select our future leaders, because this system works better in the long run. (iii) Political leaders are motivated by a desire to advance in their political careers. They want to remain in power or get power and position for themselves for which, they can compete with other political parties.
Demerits: (i) An electoral competition creates a sense of disunity and factionalism in every locality.
(ii) Different political parties and leaders often level allegations against one another.
(iii) Parties and candidates often use dirty tricks to win elections.
69) How are elections held in India?
Answer: (i) Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections are held regularly, after every five years.
(ii) After five years, the term of all the elected representatives comes to an end.
(iii) The Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha stands dissolved.
(iv) 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'.
(v) Sometimes, elections are held only for one constituency to fill the vacancy caused by the death or resignation of a member. This is called a 'by-election'.
70) Why were 'reserved constituencies' devised for the weaker sections by the makers of the Indian constitution?
Answer: (i) The constitution makers were worried that in an open electoral competition, certain weaker sections may not stand a good chance to get elected to the Lok Sabha and to the State Legislative Assemblies.
(ii) They may not have the required resources, education and contacts to contest and win elections against others.
(iii) Those who are influential and resourceful may prevent them from winning the elections.
(iv) If that happens, our Parliament and Assemblies will be deprived of the voice of a significant section of the population. This would make our democracy less representative and less democratic.
71) How was the system of 'reserved constituencies' introduced for the SCs and STs?
Answer: (i) Some constituencies are reserved for the people who belong to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
(ii) In an SC-reserved constituency, only someone who belongs to the scheduled caste can stand for elections.
(iii) Similarly, only those belonging to a scheduled tribe can contest elections from a constituency reserved for STs.
(iv) Currently, 79 seats are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 41 for the Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha.
(v) This number is in proportion to their share in the total population; thus the reserved seats for SCs and STs do not take away the legitimate share of any other social group.
72) How does a party file a nomination for its candidate?
Answer: (i) In order to be a candidate, the minimum age is 25 years.
(ii) Political parties nominate their candidates who get the party symbol and support.
(iii) Party's nomination is often called a party 'ticket'.
(iv) Every person who wishes to contest an election has to fill a 'nomination form' and give some money as 'security deposit'. If the information provided is not correct, the nomination can be cancelled and the security deposit is returned.
73) How is campaigning done for elections held in India?
Answer: (i) In India, such campaigns take place for a two-week period between the announcement of the final list of candidates and the date of polling.
(ii) During this period, the candidates contact their voters.
(iii) Political leaders address election meetings and political parties mobilize their supporters.
(iv) This is also the period when newspapers and the television news broadcasting channels are full of election-related stories and debates.
(v) During election campaigns, political parties try to focus the public attention on some big issues.
(vi) They want the public to vote for their party on that basis.
74) Write some of the successful slogans given by different political parties in various elections.
Answer: (i) 'Garibi Hatao' was the slogan of the Congress party, led by Indira Gandhi in the Lok Sabha elections of 1971. The party promised to prepare all policies to remove poverty from the country.
(ii) 'Save Democracy' was the slogan of the Janata Party in the Lok Sabha elections of 1977. The party promised to undo the excesses committed during the Emergency and restore civil liberties.
(iii) 'Land to the Tiller' was the slogan used by the Left Front in the West Bengal Assembly elections held in 1977.
(iv) 'Protect the Self-respect of the Telugus' was the slogan used by N.T. Rama Rao, the leader of the Telugu Desam Party in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections in 1983.
75) What election laws are made for campaigning?
Answer:Every political party and candidate gets a fair and equal chance to compete. According to our election law, no party or candidate can:
(i) bribe or threaten the voters to vote for them only;
(ii) appeal to the voters in the name of caste or religion;
(iii) use the government resources for election campaigns;
(iv) spend more than ` 25 lakhs in a constituency for the Lok Sabha elections or ` 10 lakhs in a constituency during an assembly election. If they do so, their election can be rejected by the court even after they have been declared elected.
76) How are 'polls' conducted in India?
Answer: (i) The final stage of an election is the day when the voters cast their votes in a polling booth. That day is usually called the Election Day.
(ii) Every person whose name is on the voters' list can go to a nearby 'polling booth', situated usually in a local school or a government office.
(iii) Once the voter goes inside the booth, the election officials identify him or her by putting a mark on his or her finger and allow him or her to cast the vote.
(iv) An agent of each candidate is allowed to sit inside the polling booth and ensure that the voting takes place in a fair way.
(v) A ballot paper is placed in which the names of the contesting candidates along with their party name and symbols are listed.
(vi) Nowadays, Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are used to record votes.
(vii) The machine shows the names of the candidates and party symbols. Independent candidates too have their own symbols, allotted by the election officials.
(viii) Each voter has to press the button against the name of the candidate she or he wants to vote for.
77) How are votes counted after the polls?
Answer: (i) Once the polling is over, all the EVMs are sealed and taken to a secure place. (ii) A few days later, on a fixed date, all the EVMs from a constituency are opened and the votes secured by each candidate are counted.
(iii) The agents of all candidates are present there to ensure that the counting is done properly.
(iv) The candidate who secures the highest number of votes from a constituency is declared elected.
(v) In a general election, the counting of votes in all the constituencies usually takes place at the same time, and on the same day.
(vi) Within a few hours of counting, all the results are declared and it becomes clear as to who will form the next government.
78) Who organises the election procedure in India?
Answer: (i) In India, elections are conducted by an independent and very powerful Election Commission (EC).
(ii) It enjoys independence like the judiciary of our country.
(iii) The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) is appointed by the President of India. But once appointed, the CEC is not answerable to the President or the government.
(iv) Even if the ruling party or the government does not like what the Commission does, it is virtually impossible for them to remove the CEC.
79) What powers are exercised by the Election Commission of India?
Answer: (i) The Election Commission (EC) controls the elections right from the announcement of the elections to the declaration of the result.
(ii) It implements the Code of Conduct and punishes any candidate or party that violates it.
(iii) During the election period, the EC can order the government to follow some guidelines, to prevent the use and misuse of government power to enhance its chances to win the elections or to transfer some government officials.
(iv) If the EC comes to know that the polling was not fair in some booths or even an entire constituency, they order a repoll.
80) How is the 'voter turnout' in India measured?
Answer: (i) People's participation in elections is usually measured by the voter turn out figures. Turnout indicates the per cent of eligible voters who actually cast their votes.
(ii) In India, the poor, illiterate and the underprivileged people vote in larger proportion as compared to the rich and privileged sections.
(iii) Common people in India attach a lot of importance to elections. They feel that through elections, they can bring pressure on the political parties to adopt policies and programmes favourable for them.
(iv) The interest of voters, in election-related activities, has been increasing over the years.
81) What are the challenges to free and fair elections in India?
Answer: Challenges to free and fair elections in India are as follows:
(i) Candidates and parties with a lot of money may not be sure of their victory but they do enjoy a big and unfair advantage over smaller parties and independents.
(ii) In some parts of the country, candidates with criminal connection have been able to secure a 'ticket' from major parties.
(iii) Some families tend to dominate the political parties; tickets are distributed to relatives from these families.
(iv) Very often, elections offer little choice to ordinary citizens as both the major parties are similar to each other in their policies and practices.
(v) Smaller parties and independent candidates suffer a huge disadvantage as compared to the bigger parties.
82) Which section of our country's population is eligible to vote?
Answer: (i) In our country, all the citizens aged 18 years and above can vote in an election.
(ii) Every citizen has the right to vote, regardless of his or her caste, religion or gender. (iii) Some criminals and persons with unsound mind can be denied the right to vote, but only in rare situations.
(iv) It is the responsibility of the government to get the names of all the eligible voters put on voters' list.
(v) Names of those who move out of a place or those who are dead are deleted.
(vi) A complete revision of the list takes place every five years. This is done to ensure that it remains up to date.
83) Do you think that elections promote democracy?
Answer:Yes, elections do promote democracy. They help people to choose candidates on the basis of one-vote-one-value. Parties are free to contest elections. Elections must be held at regular intervals. Further, candidates preferred by people only are elected. Besides, elections are free and fair.
84) How far is it good to have political competition? Give reasons.
Answer:It is good to have political competition. In a democracy political leaders know what is good for the people. It motivates them to serve the people. Regular electoral competition provides an initiative to political parties arid leaders. Leaders realise that if they raise and work for people's issues they would become popular and their chance to win would increase.
85) You visited an electoral booth and viewed malpractices being used to win the election. Can these malpractices be stopped? Give reasons.
Answer: Yes, the malpractices related to election can be curbed. The Election Commission should ban people with criminal background from contesting election. Further, it should be mandatory for candidates to declare their assets and electoral malpractices or rigging should be checked.
86) Identify the reasons which make India a successful democracy in the world.
Answer: (i) Free and fair elections are held.
(ii) Periodic elections are held.
(iii) Independent Election Commission exists to make elections free and fair.
87) Who amongst the following constitute an important segment of the food insecure population? (a) SCs and STs with poor land base (b) The people affected by natural disaster (c) OBCs with low land productivity (d) All the above
88) For the purpose of elections, the country is divided into different areas called (a) states (b) districts (c) constituencies (d) none of these
89) Like constituencies, each village or town is divided into (a) panchayats (b) blocks (c) wards (d) grams
90) How many seats are reserved for women candidates in the rural and urban local bodies? (a) Two-third of the seats (b) One-third of the seats (c) One-fourth of the seats (d) Three-fourth of the seats
91) Political parties nominate their candidates and the party's nomination is called (a) partisanship (b) party ticket (c) party nomination (d) party's nominee
92) 'Land to the Tiller' was the famous slogan used by (a) Left Front (b) Congress party (c) Telugu Desam Party (d) none of these
93) What is general election ?
Answer:Election held after every five year is termed as general election.
94) Is the Election Commission of India an independent or an advisory body?
Answer:The Election Commission of India is an independent body.
95) Who is responsible for the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India?
Answer: President of India appoints the Chief Election Commissioner of India.