The Election process in India

India is truly regarded as the world’s largest constitutional democracy due to its vast majority of population. The Indian constitution has given all the citizens equal rights in terms of choosing their leader. People have the right to elect their choice of representatives and appoint them to the central level to manage all the administrative decisions as the ministers of the elected party’s government.

Being such a large democracy, it's not always an easy thing for the Election Commission to conduct the elections successfully in all the 29 states of India. Also, most of the states have long records of electoral fights and violence and malpractices such as force voting etc, so the election commission takes extra special measures to prevent any malpractice.

One such measure taken by them is to divide the election process into multiple phases. This makes managing the process free and fair, so that the deserving candidate wins the election.

As per the constitution of India, the Indian election process for selection of candidates into the governing body is divided into three major elections. They are:

1. The LOK SABHA elections held every five years to elect the lower house of the parliamentary members. It includes the Prime Minister of India and the Cabinet Ministers that run the government. These elected members are popularly known as the Members of Parliament or MPs. This election is considered to be the most important election in India.

2. The VIDHAN SABHA elections of each state of India separately. These members are also called the Member of Legislative Assemblies or MLAs. This election is also organized after every five years. This election chooses the Chief Ministers of the states.

3. The other minor elections held for the local Gram Panchayat/ Nagar Panchayat/ Nagar Palika / Mahanagar Palika, through which people elect their local level leaders who take decisions at those respective levels.

The Election process to get a seat in power is as follows:

  • The elections are held after a period of five years. 
  • For the MLA Elections, each state is divided into many constituencies on the basis of their respective population.
  • Each candidate must be a legal citizen of India, and of at least 18 + years of age.
  • The basic requirements of Candidates to contest elections are that they must be from the political parties or they can also stand as an independent candidate.
  • Voting must only be carried out through the secret ballot paper system or EVM to maintain secrecy and transparency.

The Counting of registered Votes

During the Election process, counting of the votes is carried out. There are generally 2 types of voting systems used in India.

The older ballot paper system
In earlier times, the older system of voting through ballot paper was in use. In this method, people used a piece of separate and individual ballot paper to cast their vote to their desired candidate. After the voting was done, the ballot boxes from different polling booths were collected securely and moved to the various spread out counting stations. The votes were manually counted by the EC staff members, and then the results were declared by the authority. This whole process was supervised under strict CCTV surveillance which was in direct control of the EC of India.

Main drawbacks of ballot paper voting system were:

  • Manipulation with ballot boxes and papers is very likely to be done by various political parties.
  • Much longer time in the declaration of results, as the votes are counted manually.
  • More human resources being deployed.
  • Higher costing of conducting voting.

Due to all these drawbacks and as a part of the integration of technology in the workings of the government, the EVMs were introduced.

Electronic Voting Machines and the VVPAT systems

An EVM has two basic setup parts:

The control unit which is handled by the chief polling officer, and the open balloting unit which is inside the voting booth. When the polling officer enables the button from the control unit, the voter can then cast his vote to the choice of candidate by pressing the button on the setup. Thus the votes are recorded by the EVM. An EVM can store up to 3840 votes. It can be used for voting for up to 64 candidates at a time.

The main benefit of the EVM system is that there is no need for a large human force to count the votes manually. The results can be found out and declared much faster as compared to the previous ballot paper election system.

However, there have been instances of serious flaws and drawbacks in the EVM as well. When the BJP formed government 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, there were many controversies raised by various leaders of opposition parties, saying that they had manipulated the EVMs and they won the elections with the help of fake voters. So, it was made compulsory to integrate the VVPAT (Voter-verified paper audit trail) with the EVMs. To deal with controversies, the Election Commission is likely to introduce an advanced version of EVM by the 2019 general elections. The VVPAT is directly connected with the EVM machine, and it prints out a small receipt, having the candidate name printed on it. So a voter can verify that his vote has been recorded for the desired candidate only.

The Declaration of result

After counting is over, the results are conveyed to the public about who has won the election contest. The Election Commissioner calls the elected candidate, who has secured the maximum votes. The elected candidate has to sign the form 21C or 21D as the proof or accepting the result and being elected.

  • Next step is to send copies of the declaration to
  • The election commission
  • The Chief Electoral Officer of the state
  • Union Ministry of law
  • The secretary general of Lok Sabha

Publication of the results of elected candidates

The election is one of the most important events of the nation with all eyes glued to the results. Notification of selected candidates is passed by the way of press releases in:

  • Newspapers
  • Official site of election commission of India 
  • Official Social Media Accounts of various political parties
  • News channels
  • Manuals and magazines published by Election Commission of India

Being the largest democracy in the world, the election process of India is followed by the world. With the dates of 2019 general elections being released, the country is all pumped up to participate in the election process.

- Sonal Bera

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The Election process in India The Election process in India Reviewed by EMN on March 17, 2019 Rating: 5

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