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Election and Electoral System

Election and Electoral System

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Published by Hakim Afzal

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Published by: Hakim Afzal on May 13, 2012
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ELECTIONS AND ELECTORAL SYSTEM
India like many western countries including USA is a Representative form of Democracy in which people have an indirect participation in the political process.People in India elect representatives to represent them in the Union Parliamentand carry out the process of Legislation. People exercise this power through astandard voting procedure known as the Elections which take place every fiveyears and see immense participation through the concept of Adult Franchise.India is a Parliamentary form of Democracy at the heart of which lies acommitment to hold free and fair elections.The conduct of General Elections in India for electing members of the lower houseor the house of people (Lok Sabha), involves management of the largest event of the world with electorates (voters) exceeding the figure of 605 million. Article 324of the Indian Constitution has vested, in the Election Commission, theSuperintendence, authority and control of the entire process, for election to theParliament, state legislatures, president and the vice-president of India. Electionsare conducted according to constitutional provisions, supplemented by the lawsmade by the parliament. The major legislations include the Representation of People Act 1950, which involves preparation and revision of electoral rolls and theRepresentation of People Act 1951, which involves all the details of the actualconduct of elections and the post-election conflicts. The Election Commission of India has the residuary power according to the Constitution of India and it can actaccordingly without executive or legislative interference.Election Commission of India is a Constitutional and autonomous bodyestablished in accordance with the Constitution on 25
th
January, 1950. TheCommission is a three-member body consisting of the Chief ElectionCommissioner and two Election Commissioners who are the sole authority inrespect to handling the entire Election procedure in India for tenure of five years.
But mere conducting of elections doesn’t prove that we are a r
epublic country,rather ensuring quality and the freedom and fairness of elections is what wouldmake us truly democratic. Unfortunately, what we experience in the present
 
scenario is just the contrary situation. Following are some of the threats andchallenges that electoral system in India is facing:1.
 
Candidates do not disclose the real nature and quantity of the cases of conviction and the pending charges against them. Also they do not disclosetheir actual assets value and property in front of the EC. The people havethe right to know every piece of information regarding their leader andrepresentative.2.
 
The security deposit for a candidate in Lok Sabha elections is rs.10000 whilethat for assemb
ly, council of states and Legislative Council elections it’s
rs.5000. Also a candidate is allowed to contest for 2 constituencies and if hewins both, he has to choose one resulting in bye elections in the otherconstituency leading to unnecessary expenditure. Sometimes candidates dothis for creating chaos within the process.3.
 
Criminalization of politics is the most gruesome flaw in the election system.
It’s more like the law breakers become the law makers as a candidate
becomes successful through money and muscle power rather than hisactual work. They take help of influential bureaucrats and big businessmenand in return turn a biased eye towards their work which adversely affectsthe society. Example- there are 93 MPs and 10 ministers in Manmmohan
Singh’s government who are liable for a void entry into elections.
 4.
 
Maintaining and auditing of the accounts of political parties is not fullytransparent. The Election expenditures incurred by the political parties, thefriends and supporters of the candidate are not considered as theexpenditures made by the candidate which is limited (according to section77 of RPA). This results in a lot of accumulation of black money which hasserious outcomes on the election results.5.
 
It seems very easy for any candidate or group of people to form a politicalparty which is non-serious in its job and only creates a mess out of thealready hectic procedure. There are around 150 such parties who have nospecific motive behind joining the elections but still they are granted theprovisions of forming a political party resulting in unnecessary load inelection management.
 
This was the nature of impediments that the electoral system in India faces. Nowan equally important topic of debate arises which is the social determinants of voting in Indian Elections. The trend of voting in India firmly revolves aroundvarious social issues that enable politicians to strike the required chord of emotions among the people. These include:1.
 
Religion: Religion has always played a pivotal role in determining thecandidate who has fair chances of success over others. A recent example isthe UP state assembly elections where the SP claimed a fist clenchingvictory for its extensive links and inclination towards the minority Muslimsin UP. Religion is mostly treated as a classic vote bank due to the communaltemperament that divides India into minority and majority.2.
 
Caste: Caste system is an integral part of the Hindu society which is a
stratification of the Hindu population into four major layers or “Varna” and
many sub-groups. Each caste is treated as a separate entity withinHinduism and this has led to the rise of marginal leaders within each castewith maximum support from their respective caste people. Example-Mayawati who is a dalit leader has been encountering immense supportfrom the dalit or backward population of UP.3.
 
Region: Regional aspirations have always been a spotlight in Indian politywith leaders working for the development of their regions enjoyingimmense support from the locals. Example- Nitish Kumar has done atremendous job In Bihar and this h
as led him to be the people’s favorite
leader winning consecutive state assembly elections.4.
 
Language: Language requires a special attention in the Indian sub-continentwith the south-Indian people creating a niche of their own. The bestexample is that of the political party All India Anna Dravida MunnetraKazhagam (AIADMK) which was established solely for the purpose of encouraging the Dravidan culture and language in Tamil Nadu.The Indian Electoral system is a strong testimony of success and uniqueness initself due to the pluralist and multicultural background of the Indian Nation.Though it has a significant amount of flaws which need to be catered to, still it has

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