Electoral Politics Class 9 Notes Political Science (Civics) Chapter 3
What Are Electoral Politics ?
- An election is a process through which people choose their representatives at regular intervals.
- Elections provide a way to the people to assert their voice, opinion and choose the person whose priorities and ideas matches with them most.
What Makes An Election Democratic?
- Everyone should have one vote and every vote should have equal value.
- Parties and candidates should be free to contest elections and should offer some real choice to the voters.
- The choice should be offered at regular intervals. Elections must be held regularly after every fixed periodic intervals.
- The candidate preferred by the people should get elected.
- Elections should be conducted in a free and fair manner where people can choose as they really wish.
What Is System Of Elections In India?
- Elections are held in all constituencies at the same time, either on the same day or within a few days.
- Sometimes election is held only for one constituency or two to fill the vacancy caused by the death or resignation of a member.
- The country is divided into different areas based on population for the purpose of elections. These are called electoral constituencies.
- For Lok Sabha elections, the country is divided into 543 constituencies.
- Some constituencies are reserved for people who belong to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
- 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’ List.
- In India, all the citizens aged 18 years and above has the right to vote, regardless of his or her caste, creed, colour, religion or gender.
Nomination of Candidates
- Anyone who can be a voter can also become a candidate to contests an election. 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.
- Every candidate has to make a legal declaration, giving full details of:
(i) Serious criminal cases pending against the candidate.
(ii) Details of the assets and liabilities of the candidate and his or her family.
(iii) Educational qualifications of the candidate.
- 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.
In election campaigns, political parties try to focus public attention on some big issues. They want to attract the public to that issue and get them to vote for their party on that basis
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.
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. The agents of all candidates are present there to ensure that the counting is done properly.
What Makes Elections In India Democratic?
Independent Election Commission
- In India, elections are conducted by an independent and fairly by very powerful constitutional body i.e., Election Commission. It enjoys the same kind of independence that the judiciary enjoys.
- The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) is appointed by the President of India.
- But once appointed, CEC is not answerable to the President or the government.
- EC takes decisions on every aspect of conduct and control of elections from the announcement of elections to the declaration of results.
- Another way to check the quality of the election process is to see whether people participate in it with enthusiasm. If the election process is not free or fair, people will not continue to participate in the exercise.
Acceptance of election outcome
- The ruling parties generally lose elections in India both at the national and state level.
- Candidates who are known to have spent a lot of money on buying votes and those with known criminal connections often lose elections.
- Barring very few disputed elections, the electoral outcomes are usually accepted as people’s verdict by the defeated party.
Challenges to free and fair election in India
- 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.
- 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 'ticket' from major parties.
- Some families tend to dominate political parties; tickets are distributed to relatives from these families.
- Very often elections offer little choice to ordinary citizens because 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.