Elections in India : Working of world’s largest democracy.
It’s the biggest voting event in the world with about 1 billion people to vote. How does the system work ?
India is a constitutional democracy. The heart of the system is to conduct free and fair elections. India uses single-choice-voting or simple majority voting system or in other words, every citizen of the country above age of 18 can cast a single vote to a single member standing in the election. The person who obtains the largest number of vote wins.
India’s government is based on federalism. Election commission by the constitution of India is responsible for conducting free and fair elections and declare the results. The election is held once in five years for Lok Sabha and state governments.
Elections to one-third of the seats of the upper house of the Parliament – the Rajya Sabha are conducted every two years. The members of the upper house are elected indirectly by the state legislative assemblies on the basis of proportional representation. Members to the state legislative councils (in states which have an upper house) are elected indirectly through local bodies.
Fun fact, Constitution allows a maximum of 552 members for the Lok Sabha with upto 530 members from states and 20 members from the UTs. In practice 543 members of Lok Sabha are elected every year.
The Election Commission has a Chief Electoral Officer and he announces the dates for election when the tenure of the existing government is about to end. The Election Commission divides the places into constituencies based on the population. It is done once in every 10 years. The nominations for the elections take place. During every nomination, the nominee must submit information about his education, property he owns and other personal information such as marriage status etc. The Election Commission after scrutinising every information, qualified candidates are allowed to stand in the election. People with records of criminal cases are not allowed to stand in the election. The information as furnished by the candidates is released to the public and also displayed in the commission’s website.
During campaigning, the members are not allowed to use government money. There is a specific threshold amount for every member upto which he can spend in a particular constituency for campaigning.
Fun fact, Election commission has allowed each member to spend upto Rs.28 lakhs for campaigning in 2018 Karnataka Election.
Some of the rules that come into effect during the elections include,
1.No party is allowed to bribe the candidates before elections.
2.The government cannot start a project during the election period.
3.Campaigning ends at 6:00 pm on the second last day before the polling day.
At the day of the election, the district collector is responsible for conducting elections in a fair manner. The elections are co-ordinated by government officials.
After the results are announced, the party with majority submits a letter to the Governor or the President showcasing its majority and asking permission to form the government. If the Governor or the President is satisfied with the majority and if he thinks that the political party can form a stable government, he invites the party to form the government in the state. If he is not satisfied with the majority or any other person raises doubts in the majority, the Speaker of the house calls for the motion of no confidence at which the ruling party should show its majority in front of the house.
India is one of the largest democracy. At it core stands the elections. India has conducted free and equal and fair elections all these years. Hope the trend continues.