Elections in India

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India is a federation with a parliamentary system governed under the Constitution of India, which defines the power distribution among the central government and the states.

The President of India is the ceremonial head of the country and supreme commander-in-chief for all defence forces in India. [1]

However, it is the Prime Minister of India, who is the leader of the party or political alliance having a majority in the country wide elections to the Lok Sabha that exercises most executive powers for matters that require country wide powers under a federal system.

India is regionally divided into States and each State has a Chief Minister who is the leader of the party or political alliance having won majority in the regional elections otherwise known as State Assembly Elections that exercises executive powers in that State. The respective State's Chief Minister has executive powers within the State and works jointly with the Prime Minister of India or his ministers on matters that require both State and Central attention.

The President of India, monitors the rule of law through his appointed governors in each State and on their recommendation can take over the executive powers from the Chief Minister of the State, temporarily when the elected representatives of the State government has failed to create a peaceful environment and has deteriorated into chaos. The President of India dissolves the existing State government if necessary, and a new election is conducted.

Election Commission[edit]

Election Commission is a federal body, enacted under the provisions of the Constitution, responsible for monitoring and administering all the electoral processes of India. This body is responsible for ensuring elections are free and fair, without any bias.[2]

Election Commission ensures the conduct of members pre-elections, during elections and post-elections are as per the statutory legislation.

All election related disputes are handled by the Election Commission. The Supreme Court of India has held that where the enacted laws are silent or make insufficient provision to deal with a given situation in the conduct of elections, the Election Commission has the residuary powers under the Constitution to act in appropriate manner.

Type of Elections[edit]

Elections in the Republic of India include elections for :

General Elections (Lok Sabha)[edit]

Members of Lok Sabha (House of the People) or the lower house of India's Parliament are elected by being voted upon by all adult citizens of India, from a set of candidates who stand in their respective constituencies. Every adult citizen of India can vote only in their constituency. Candidates who win the Lok Sabha elections are called 'Member of Parliament' and hold their seats for five years or until the body is dissolved by the President on the advice of the council of ministers. The house meets in the Lok Sabha Chambers of the Sansad Bhavan in New Delhi, on matters relating to creation of new laws, removing or improving the existing laws that affect all citizens of India. Elections take place once in 5 years to elect 545 members for the Lok Sabha (Lower house).[citation needed]

General Election results (Lok sabha)


History of Lok Sabha Elections[edit]
Key

  All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)   Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS)   Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)   Communist Party of India (CPI)   Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM)   Indian National Congress (INC)   Indian National Congress (Indira) INC(I)   Janata Party (JP)   Janata Party (Secular) JNP(S)   Praja Socialist Party (PSP)   Samajwadi Party (SP)   Socialist Party (India) (SOC)   Swatantra Party (SWA)   Telugu Desam Party (TDP)   YSR Congress Party (YSRCP)

LOK SABHA ELECTIONS
First Second Third
Year Election Total seats Party Seats % votes Party Seats % votes Party Seats % votes
1951–52 [3][4][5] 1st Lok Sabha 489 INC 364 45% CPI 16 3.29% SOC 12 10.59%
1957[6] 2nd Lok Sabha 494 INC 371 47.78% CPI 27 8.92% PSP 19 10.41%
1962 3rd Lok Sabha 494 INC 361 44.72% CPI 29 9.94% SWA 18 7.89%
1967 4th Lok Sabha 520 INC 283 40.78% SWA 44 8.67% BJS 35 9.31%
1971 5th Lok Sabha 518 INC 352 43.68% CPM 25 5.12% CPI 23 4.73%
1977 6th Lok Sabha 542 JP 298 43.17% INC 153 34.52% CPM 22 4.29%
1980 7th Lok Sabha 529 ( 542* ) INC(I) 351 42.69% JNP(S) 41 9.39% CPM 37 6.24%
1984 8th Lok Sabha 514 INC 404 49.10% TDP 30 4.31% CPM 22 5.87%
1989 9th Lok Sabha 529 INC 195 39.53% JD 142 17.79% BJP 89 11.36%
1991 10th Lok Sabha 521 INC 244 35.66% BJP 120 20.11% JD 59 11.84%
1996 11th Lok Sabha 543 BJP 161 20.29% INC 140 28.80% JD 46 23.45%
1998 12th Lok Sabha 545 BJP 182 25.59% INC 141 25.82% CPM 32 5.16%
1999 13th Lok Sabha 545 BJP 182 23.75% INC 114 28.30% CPM 33 5.40%
2004 14th Lok Sabha 543 INC 145 26.53% BJP 138 22.16% CPM 43 5.66%
2009 15th Lok Sabha 545 INC 206 28.55% BJP 116 18.80% SP 23 3.23%
2014 16th Lok Sabha 545 BJP 282 31.34% INC 44 19.52% AIADMK 37 3.31%
2019 17th Lok Sabha 543 BJP 303 37.4%[7] INC 52 19.50%[8] DMK 24 4.24%

* : 12 seats in Assam and 1 in Meghalaya did not vote.[9]

State Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) Elections[edit]

Members of State Legislative Assembly, are elected directly by voting, from a set of candidates who stands in their respective constituencies. Every adult citizen of India can vote only in their constituency. Candidates who win the State Legislative Assemblies elections are called 'Member of Legislative Assembly' (MLA) and hold their seats for five years or until the body is dissolved by the Governor. The house meets in the respective state, on matters relating to creation of new laws, removing or improving the existing laws that affect all citizens living in that state.

Total strength of each assembly depends on each State, mostly based on size and population. Similar to Lok sabha elections, leader of the majority party/alliance takes oath as Chief Minister of the State.

State Assembly election results (Vidhan Sabha)
State/UT 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 2020s
AP 1955
1957
1962
1967
1972
1978
1983
1985
1989
1994
1999
2004
2009
2014
2019
AR 1978 1980
1984
1990
1995
1999
2004
2009
2014
2019
AS 1952
1957
1962
1967
1972
1978
1983
1985
1991
1996
2001
2006
2011
2016
BR 1952
1957
1962
1967
1969
1972
1977
1980
1985
1990
1995
2000
2005 (Feb)
2005 (Oct)
2010
2015
2020
CG  –  –  –  –  – 2003
2008
2013
2018
DL 1952  –  –  – 1993
1998
2003
2008
2013
2015
2020
GA  – 1967 1972
1977
1980
1984
1989
1994
1999
2002
2007
2012
2017
GJ  – 1962
1967
1972
1975
1980
1985
1990
1995
1998
2002
2007
2012
2017
HR  – 1967
1968
1972
1977
1982
1987
1991
1996
2000
2005
2009
2014
2019
HP 1952
1967 1972
1977
1985
1990
1993
1998
2003
2007
2012
2017
JK 1951
1957
1962
1967
1972
1977
1983
1987
1996 2002
2008
2014 2021
JH  –  –  –  –  – 2005
2009
2014
KA 1952
1957
1962
1967
1972
1978
1983
1985
1989
1994
1999
2004
2008
2013
2018
KL 1957 1960
1965
1967
1970
1977
1980
1982
1987
1991
1996
2001
2006
2011
2016
MP Bhopal 1952
MB 1952
MP 1952
VP 1952
1957
1967 1972
1977
1980
1985
1990
1993
1998
2003
2008
2013
2018
MH  – 1962
1967
1972
1978
1980
1985
1990
1995
1999
2004
2009
2014
2019
MN  – 1967 1972
1974
1980
1984
1990
1995
2000
2002
2007
2012
2017
ML  –  – 1972
1978
1983
1988
1993
1998
2003
2008
2013
2018
MZ  –  – 1972
1978
1979
1984
1987
1989
1993
1998
2003
2008
2013
2018
NL  – 1964
1969
1974
1977
1982
1987
1989
1993
1998
2003
2008
2013
2018
OD 1952
1957
1961
1967
1971
1974
1977
1980
1985
1990
1995
2000
2004
2009
2014
2019
PB 1952
1957
1962
1967
1969
1972
1977
1980
1985
1992
1997
2002
2007
2012
2017
PY  – 1964
1969
1974
1977
1980
1985
1990
1991
1996
2001
2006
2011
2016
RJ 1952
1957
1962
1967
1972
1977
1980
1985
1990
1993
1998
2003
2013
2018
SK  –  – 1979 1985
1989
1994
1999
2004
2009
2014
TN 1952
1957
1962
1967
1971
1977
1980
1984
1989
1991
1996
2001
2006
2011
2016
TS  –  –  –  –  –  – 2018
TR  –  –  –  –  – 2003
2008
2013
2018
UP 1951
1952
1957
1962
1967
1969
1972
1977
1980
1985
1989
1991
1993
1996
2002
2007
2012
2017
UK  –  –  –  –  – 2002
2007
2012
2017
WB 1952
1957
1962
1967
1969
1971
1972
1977
1982
1987
1991
1996
2001
2006
2011
2016

By-election[edit]

As the name suggests, when a elected candidate to either the State Assembly, Rajya Sabha or Lok Sabha leaves the office vacant before their term ends, a by election is conducted to find a suitable replacement to fill the vacant position. It is often referred in India as Bypolls.

Common reasons for by elections :

  • Sitting MLA resigns once he gets elected as MP.
  • Sitting MLA or MP died.

But there are other reasons that occur when the incumbent becomes ineligible to continue in office (criminal conviction, or failure to maintain a minimum attendance in the office or due to election irregularities found later. Also, when a candidate has won more than one seat, they have to vacate one .)

Rajya Sabha (Upper House) Elections[edit]

The Rajya Sabha, also known as the Council of States, is the upper house of India's Parliament. Candidates are not elected directly by the citizens, but by the Members of Legislative Assemblies and up to 12 can be nominated by the President of India for their contributions to art, literature, science, and social services. Members of the Parliament in Rajya Sabha get a tenure of six years, with one-third of the body facing re-election every two years. Rajya Sabha acts as a second-level review body before a bill becomes an act.[10]

The Vice President of India is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, who presides over its sessions.

The Legislative proposals (making new laws, removing or appending new conditions to the existing law) are brought before either house of the Parliament in the form of a bill. A bill is the draft of a legislative proposal, which, when passed by both houses of Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) and assented to by the President, becomes an Act of Parliament.

The Constitution of India however places some restrictions on the Rajya Sabha which makes the Lok Sabha more powerful in certain areas. For example, it stipulates that Money bills must originate in the Lok Sabha.

Members of Rajya Sabha debate bills sent by the Lok Sabha and can approve, reject or send the bill back to the Lok Sabha for further debate and discussion on the matter, as well as to suggest better changes in the drafted bill. Members of Rajya Sabha can only make recommendations to the Lok Sabha for money bills within 14 days. Even if Rajya Sabha fails to return the money bill in 14 days to the Lok Sabha, that bill is deemed to have passed by both the Houses. Also, if the Lok Sabha rejects any (or all) of the amendments proposed by the Rajya Sabha, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both Houses of Parliament of India in the form the Lok Sabha finally passes it.

Electoral procedures[edit]

Candidates are required to file their nomination papers with the Electoral Commission. Then, a list of candidates is published. No party is allowed to use government resources for campaigning. No party is allowed to bribe the candidates before elections. The government cannot start a project during the election period. Campaigning ends by 6:00 pm two days before the polling day.

The polling is held between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm. The Collector of each district is in charge of polling. Government employees are employed as poll officers at the polling stations. Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) are being used instead of ballot boxes to prevent election fraud. After the citizen votes his or her left index finger is marked with an indelible ink. This practice was instituted in 1962.

Indelible ink[edit]

Ink used in Indian elections
Ink bottle pledge

Research into an indelible ink was commenced by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). In the 1950s, M. L. Goel worked on this research at the Chemical Division of the National Physical Laboratory of India. The ink used contains silver nitrate, which makes it photo-sensitive. It is stored in amber coloured plastic or brown coloured glass bottles. On application, the ink remains on the fingernail for at least two days. It may last up to a month depending upon the person's body temperature and the environment.

Electronic voting[edit]

Voting machine

BHAVIK (EVM) were first used in the 1997 election and became the only method of voting in 2004. The EVMs save time in reporting results. A voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) was introduced on 14 August 2014 in Nagaland.[11] In the 2014 general election, VVPAT was operational in 8 constituencies (Lucknow, Gandhinagar, Bangalore South, Chennai Central, Jadavpur, Raipur, Patna Sahib and Mizoram) as a pilot project.[12][13] A slip generated by the VVPAT tells a voter to which party or candidate their vote has been given, their name, their constituency and their polling booth.[14][15][16][17][18]

Opposition parties demanded that VVPAT be made mandatory all over India due to allegations on the government of hacking the EVM. Accordingly, Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) and EVMs were used in every assembly and general election in India since 2019.[19][20] On 9 April 2019, Supreme Court of India gave the judgement, ordering the Election Commission of India to increase VVPAT slips vote count to five randomly selected EVMs per assembly constituency, which means Election Commission of India has to count VVPAT slips of 20,625 EVMs in 2019 General elections.[21][22][23] VVPAT enables voters to cross-check whether the vote they have given goes to their desired candidate as the VVPAT unit produces a paper slip, additionally called ballot slip, that contains the name, serial number, and image of the candidate selected by the voter for his vote. Post the 2019 general election, ECI declared that no mismatches between EVM and VVPAT.[24]

NOTA[edit]

On 27 September 2013, the Supreme Court of India judged that citizens have the right to a negative vote by exercising a "None of the above" (NOTA) option. This was the result of petitioning from the Electoral Commission and the People's Union for Civil Liberties from 2009. In November 2013, NOTA was introduced in five state elections.[25]

Absentee voting[edit]

India does not provide general absentee voting.[26][27][28] On 24 November 2010, the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill 2010 was gazetted to give voting rights to non-resident Indians but a physical presence at the voting booth is still required.[29][30][31]

Postal voting[edit]

Postal voting in India is done only through the "Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot Papers (ETPB)" system of Election Commission of India, where ballot papers are distributed to the registered eligible voters and they return the votes by post. When the counting of votes commences, these postal votes are counted first before the counting of votes from the Electronic Voting Machines of all other voters. Only certain categories of people are eligible to register as postal voters. People working in the union armed forces and state police as well as their wives, and employees working for the Government of India who are officially posted abroad can register for the postal vote, these are also called the "Service voters". Additionally, people in preventive detention, disabled and those above the age of 80 years old can use postal vote. Prisoners can not vote at all.[32][33][34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sharma 2007, p. 31.
  2. ^ "A Constitutional Body". Election Commission of India.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Lok Sabha Results 1951-52". Election Commission of India. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Statistical Report on Lok Sabha Elections 1951-52" (PDF). Election Commission of India. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  5. ^ "Lok Sabha Elections Stats Summary 1951-52" (PDF). Election Commission of India. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  6. ^ "Statistical Report on Lok Sabha Elections 1957". Election Commission of India.
  7. ^ "Here's how BJP earned the massive mandate: Explained in numbers". The Economic Times. 28 May 2019. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  8. ^ Ramani, Srinivasan (23 May 2019). "Analysis: Highest-ever national vote share for the BJP". The Hindu. The Hindu.
  9. ^ "Seventh Lok Sabha elections (1980)". Indian Express. Indian Express. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  10. ^ "Rajya Sabha Election 2017: Here Is How Members Are Elected To Upper House". NDTV.com. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  11. ^ "EC Decides to use VVPAT System at Bye-Election in Nagaland" (Press release). Press Information Bureau. 17 August 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
  12. ^ References:
  13. ^ "VVPAT, a revolutionary step in voting transparency". DNA. 27 April 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
  14. ^ "Not many were aware of VVPAT, but were happy with verification". The Hindu. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  15. ^ "Safe distance". The Indian Express. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  16. ^ "As smooth as it gets, says city poll chief". The Times of India. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  17. ^ Ripon Buildings turns nerve centre of electoral activities in Chennai
  18. ^ "Voter's verifiable paper audit trail system to be introduced in Chennai Central constituency". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 1 April 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  19. ^ "EC announces Lok Sabha election dates: VVPATs, to be used in all polling stations, help bring more accuracy in voting".
  20. ^ "What are EVMs, VVPAT and how safe they are". The Times of India. 6 December 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  21. ^ "Count VVPAT slips of 5 booths in each assembly seat: SC".
  22. ^ "SC Directs ECI To Increase VVPAT Verification From One EVM To Five EVMs Per Constituency".
  23. ^ "When the SC Says No for Software Audit Review of EVMs & VVPAT at Present".
  24. ^ "EVM-VVPAT pass test in Lok Sabha polls". Economic Times. 23 May 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  25. ^ "ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA:Press release" (PDF). Eci.nic.in. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  26. ^ "Who can vote by postal ballot?". The Economic Times. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  27. ^ "Election Commission to ensure postal votes don't get invalid". dna. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  28. ^ "Pranab to become first president to cast vote via postal ballot". Oneindia.com. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  29. ^ "gazette notifications". Thehindu.com. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  30. ^ "Petition for Absentee Voting in Indian Elections". Voterswithoutborders.org. Archived from the original on 16 April 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  31. ^ "People for Lok Satta- NRI voting campaign". Nrivotingrights.info. 9 January 2011. Archived from the original on 5 April 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  32. ^ Postal ballots: Who can vote through ETPB, how to get registered and how the voting is done; an explainer, First Post, 2 April 2019.
  33. ^ Maharashtra, Haryana Elections 2019: Can You Vote By Postal Ballot If You Aren't Living At Home?, Huffington Post, 26 September 2019.
  34. ^ [https://www.jagranjosh.com/current-affairs/people-over-80-years-of-age-disabled-can-now-vote-through-postal-ballot-1572319857-1 People over 80 years of age, disabled can now vote through postal ballot The postal ballot facility has provided to the elderly above 80 years and disabled voters.], Jagran, 29 October 2019.

External links[edit]