Indian General Election - Creating Local Politics

Indian general elections refer to the process by which members of the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament in India) are elected. These elections are held once every five years and allow all adult citizens of India to vote for candidates standing in their respective constituencies.

General elections are expected to be held in India between April and May 2024 to elect the 543 members of the Lok Sabha. The term of the 17th Lok Sabha is due to end on 16 June 2024. The previous general elections were held in April–May 2019. After the elections, the National Democratic Alliance, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, formed a union government with Narendra Modi continuing as Prime Minister. 

Source - BBC

Key Points About Indian General Elections:

Eligibility to vote: Indian citizens aged 18 years and above have the right to vote in general elections. The electoral commission oversees the voter registration process.

Election Commission of India (ECI): The ECI is an autonomous constitutional body responsible for the administration of electoral processes in India. It conducts elections to the Lok Sabha, state legislatures and the offices of the President and Vice President.

Campaigns: Political parties run extensive campaigns involving rallies, speeches and information programs to connect with voters. The media, including television, radio and social media, play a significant role in disseminating information.

Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs): Voting in India is primarily conducted using electronic voting machines to ensure a fair and transparent election process. The use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) was introduced in the 1990s to streamline the voting process.

Electoral system: All 543 elected MPs are elected from single-member constituencies using the first ballot. The 104th constitutional amendment abolished the two seats that were reserved for the Anglo-Indian community.

Legislative Role: The Lok Sabha meets in the Lok Sabha Chamber Sansad Bhavan in New Delhi to discuss matters related to making new laws, improving existing laws and solving problems affecting all Indian citizens.

History of General Elections of India

Pre-independence period:

Before independence in 1947, India was under British colonial rule.
Limited electoral processes were introduced by the British in the form of legislative councils, but were not truly representative or democratic.

Post-independence and first general election (1951-1952):

The first general elections in independent India were held in 1951-1952.
The election marked the beginning of a democratic process on a massive scale with more than 170 million eligible voters.

The Indian National Congress (INC), led by Jawaharlal Nehru, emerged as the dominant party and formed the government.

Congress dominance:

In the early decades after independence, the INC, under the leadership of the Nehru-Gandhi family, held a dominant position in Indian politics. Jawaharlal Nehru served as Prime Minister until his death in 1964, after which his daughter Indira Gandhi took over the role.

National parties recognized by the Election Commission of India:

1. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP): The current ruling party at the national level, the BJP is a right-wing Hindu nationalist party advocating social conservatism and economic liberalization. It is headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

2. Indian National Congress (INC): The oldest party in India, Congress espouses leftist, secular and social democratic principles. It dominated Indian politics for most of the post-independence era, but has faced electoral decline in recent years. It is currently headed by Mallikarjun Kharge.

3. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP): BSP represents the interests of Dalits and other marginalized communities and is a center-left party that advocates affirmative action and social jus tice. It is led by Mayawati.

4. Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)): India's largest communist party, the CPI(M) adheres to Marxist ideology and advocates workers' rights and socialist policies. It is directed by Sitaram Yechury.

5. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP): A relatively young party founded in 2012, it focuses on anti-corruption activism and public welfare initiatives. It currently rules Delhi and Punjab and has made significant gains in recent years. It is headed by Arvind Kejriwal.

6. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP): A centre-left party founded in 1999, the NCP is a key player in Maharashtra state politics and is often allied with the Congress at the national level. It is directed by Sharad Pawar.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been the ruling party in India since 2014 under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BJP's rise to power was a major turning point in Indian politics and its policies had a significant impact on the country.

Economic policies

The BJP's economic policy focused on economic growth and development. The party introduced a series of reforms, including the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which simplified the country's tax system. India's economy has been growing at a steady pace since 2014 and unemployment has been falling. However, the BJP has also been criticized for its focus on economic growth at the expense of social welfare.

Social policy

The BJP's social policies have been more controversial. The party has been accused of promoting Hindu nationalism and discriminating against minority groups. The BJP has also been criticized for addressing issues such as religious freedom and gender equality.

Written by - Ankit Bharadwaj 

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