Q.1. Explain the challenges faced by Indian democracy while holding free and fair elections.
(i) Casteism and communalism. Voters in India vote on the basis of caste and religion. They do note consider the ability of the candidate. In the same way, parties are affected by caste and community. They give tickets based on the above consideration and not the ability.
(ii) Money power : A lot of money is spent by parties and candidates to win the favour of the voters. They try to buy votes by wooing the poor, the illiterate and lower classes. The ordinary citizens cannot contest elections.
(iii) Unfair advantage lies with bigger parties. They have more resources as compared to smaller parties and independent candidates.
(iv) Voters have no choice : There is sometimes no difference in the agenda of different parties. It is only a clash of personalities and voter has no choice.
(v) Politics have been criminalised in recent times. More and more people with criminal background are winning elections. They indulge in booth capturing, and rigging during elections. They use muscle power to intimidate the voters.
(vi) Politicians misuse government machinery during elections.
Q.2. What sustains democracy in India?
How can the principles of democracy be applied to all spheres of life. [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. India has been a democracy since it won independence in 1947. Sixty three years have not shaken the roots of democracy in our country.
- First of all, India has given equal rights and freedom to every citizen. Fundamental rights are given by the Constitution to all the people.
- There is universal adult franchise which gives every citizen a right to vote in elections. This has made the political parties to reach out to millions of people located in urban, rural or slum areas.
- The citizens are also now aware of the power they have to change governments and disapprove their policies.
- Government has taken measures to protect the weaker section of society. They are given reservation of seats in the Parliament, State Assemblies and local bodies. Seats are reserved for women in the Panchyati Raj institutions.
- There is full freedom of thought, speech and writing and people can form and express their opinions without fear.
- There is Freedom of Press. The press can shape public opinion by giving unbiased news about issues facing the country.
- India has a federal system where power is shared both horizontally and vertically. People have a say in decision-making right from the village panchayat to the top. All these factors have kept India a united democracy.
Q.3. What is the role of an ordinary citizen in a democracy?
- A citizen has to be an active and participatory citizen. He has to be interested not only in his affairs, but of the affairs of the nation as well. He should be well informed about the politics of his country.
- He should have consideration and regard for other people — their needs, views and well being.
- People must co-operate with the government to make democracy successful.
- Besides their rights, they should be aware of their duties as citizens of the country.
- He should get rid of intolerance, fanaticism and inhuman treatment of weaker sections of the society. He should be law abiding himself and teach others to be law abiding citizens too.
- Acts of Parliament cannot create a healthy, successful, democracy. India needs well informed, concerned citizens, who take keen interest in public affairs, perform all their civic duties and co-operate with the government.