A. Why Elections?
- Elections are a democratic way of selecting representatives.
- They ensure that the representatives rule as per the wishes of the people.
- Elections help voters to choose representatives who will make laws for them, form the government and take major decisions.
- The voters can choose the party whose policies will guide the government and law making.
- Thus election is a mechanism by which people can choose their representatives at regular intervals and change them if they wish to.
B. What Makes an Election Democratic?
- Everyone should be able to choose, i.e. everyone should have one vote and every vote should have equal value. Universal Adult Franchise.
- There should be parties and candidates to choose from, freedom to contest and a wide choice for people.
- Elections must be held at regular intervals.
- Candidate preferred by the people should be elected.
- Elections should be held in a fair and free atmosphere to be democratic.
C. Political Competition : Demerits
- Creates a sense of disunity and ‘party politics’.
- Parties level allegations against each other of using dirty tricks to win elections.
- Long-term policies cannot be formulated.
- Good people do not enter politics.
Merits : Elections are good because they force the ruling party to perform. The government is aware that it will be voted out of power if it does not perform as the people expected.
- It forces parties and leaders to perform, so competition is good.
D. Our Election System
- First a voters list is compiled.
- Then the election date is announced.
- The country is divided into constituencies for purpose of elections.
- The voters have to elect one representative for the Lok Sabha from each constituency (Lok Sabha has 543 constituencies), called Member of Parliament. The constituencies are formed on basis of population.
- Similarly, each state is divided into constituencies and a specific number of members called Members of the Legislative Assembly are elected.
- The dates of General Elections are announced.
- Each party declares its Manifesto and prepares a list of nominations.