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ELECTORAL POLITICS AND INDIAN DEMOCRACY


1. Introduction

The Party politics starts with governance, governance of the state. State has been positioned as one of the highest social institutions often referred as ‘Necessary evil’ an institution without which the state cannot function which will eventually lead to law and order problems and later anarchy, but it superimposed its authority on the people in the form of restrictions.

Origin of state: The word ‘state’ originated by the Greeks as they coined the term ‘Polis’ which later translated into city state. The state is inclusive of many elements such as population , sovereignty , governance ,and territory out of which governance is the most important one.


Government is the indispensable machinery with the help of which one leads the state, makes law and order , executes and implements them. It consists of three bodies: Legislature (makes the law), Executive (executes the law) and Judiciary (implements the law)


The government can be of any type , it can be a Democracy ( The government of the people , for the people and by the people ) , Dictatorship ( the government governed by a dictator who holds absolute authority in any sphere) , Communist ( more than a form of governance it is an ideology of common ownership of means of production and absence of class system)

There are various forms of governance such as Presidential ( where all the powers are vested in the president as he is the sole leader) , Parliamentary ( where the head of the state is the president and the head of the government is the prime minister , both are accountable to the parliament ) , Semi presidential ( it consists of president and the prime minister , differs from the parliamentary form of system as in this the president is conferred with far more powers than the PM unlike the parliamentary form)

Party politics consists of political competition , the result of which is decided on the basis of the will of the people ie their vote( vox populi) Voting is a voice which is so powerful which the people put forward at the time of elections by which they elect their representatives who will redress their grievance , understand the plea of the individuals ,come up with solutions and then implement the best one.

Party politics has many demerits such as the pressure to win elections in the minds of the people compel them to indulge in dirty tricks to be in power because of which the so called noble people who wish to serve the country do not enter this arena as they want to remain distant from the unhealthy competition.


OBJECTIVE & RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The objective is to understand that the electoral politics is similar to market business as the shopkeeper has to compulsorily provide good services to its customers even if his intention is only to create profits because he knows that the customer is capable of entering another shop and buy from there, Just like a voter if the voter is unsatisfied with the previous representative he will not vote for him in the next elections because the voter is the master having all the powers , to escape from the will of the people the politically powerful people use dirty tricks such as hacking of EVM machines , weakening the opposition parties which handicap the voters as they are left with no option but to give vote to them , create a political world which is multipolar only in terms of paperwork but realistically only consists of one party politics.


Methodology of the research is a critical analysis of the Electoral politics in a democratic country like India, the researcher has relied on the secondary sources like books , websites and articles to get a clear idea about the research problem on the basis of which the researcher has tried to reach the core aspect of the study.


The research project focuses on the process and practices as well as malpractices of elections , starting from its elegibility to contest to the electoral campaign and democratic character of India, the ill effects of elections and its advantages , different system in different types of elections . The houses of the Indian Parliamentor ‘Sansad Bhawan’ are elaborately defined , giving importance to the speaker and ex officio leader of lok sabha and rajya sabha who precede it , even the reserved constituencies have been mentioned .

After pointing out certain ‘problems’ in the electoral process , the project has concluded the entire research by pointing out that any reform that increases transparency can be an asset in carrying out free and fair elections. It also suggested certain reformative measures which must be taken for a better eletoral process in a democracy like India.


2. ELECTIONS

The process where people vote for their respective candidates is called elections , the people exercise their right to vote under universal adult suffrage and have the right to choose the following:-

  • They choose who will form the government

  • They choose who will make laws and policies for them

  • They choose whose party will have the majority in the parliament

It is not just important to hold elections, what is important is that one should hold democratically elections where the people elect their leaders directly. Minimum requirements of a democratic election are:-

  • Everyone should have one vote, each vote should have equal value

  • The voters should have atleast two parties to choose from, if there is just one party which contesting the elections then it is simply useless to vote

  • The entire election process should be conducted in a free and fair manner, where people can analyze the political situation in the country and then make a decision

  • The choice of the voters should prevail, the leader they have voted for should become their representative


NOTE: There are cases where the countries apparently have a choice but in reality they don’t. For example in China the people really don’t have a choice, they have to elect the ruling parties and its members, the opposition never managed to win , media largely ignored the other party’s campaign unless it was to criticize them , sometimes the polling booths were shifted from one place to another at the last moment to create difficulties, it was clearly not a free and fair electoral process.


DEMERITS OF ELECTION PROCESS IN INDIA

The election process begins with the election notification issued by the President under section 14 of the People’s representation act , 1951. There have been many discrepancies seen in the electoral process so far such as :-

  • The candidate getting less than the minority of votes also becomes victorious – In India we follow First past the post system (FPTP) where in the leader who gets the most number of votes wins the elections , the disadvantage of this system is that the defeated candidates in total poll more votes than the winning candidate and still the latter wins the election.


  • The use of money and muscle power has surely deteriorated the free and fair procedure of elections , the candidates have often violated the limit fixed by the election commission to carry their campaign , the supporters and voters are bribed , black money finds its way in the campaign which distort the free and fair elections.


  • Inactivity on the part of voters – The voters generally have a tendency of not being thoroughly involved in the process , lack of surveillance on their part is not a good sign for democratic elections.


  • Misuse of official machinery in the political process – The politicians make it a point to appoint their so called favorable officers in the campaigning, who are powerful and can be trusted in these times , their usage often leads to corruption and political instability.


FIRST PAST THE POST AND PR SYSTEM OF ELECTIONS

The first past the post system is also known as simple majority system in which the candidate with the highest number of votes wins the election. This system is practiced in the Lok sabha and state legislature elections.

The reason why India adopted FPTP system is because of its simplicity – The system is easy to understand as most of the population of India is less educated and politically inactive so even they can understand the process.

The FPTP system offers choice between specific candidates and not mainly parties because of which the people can hold their elected candidate accountable as he becomes answerable to them.

Also the system would encourage people from different social and cultural classes come together to win an election whereas in the PR system every other leader would form a party in his own community which will not be able to sustain political stability in the longer run leading to bias behavior amongst the people belonging to the specific caste or religion their leader is from

In proportional representation system the party gets the number of seats in proportion to the number of votes contested, India adopted this system on a limited scale for conducting the elections of President , Vice President , Rajya sabha members (MPs) and Vidhan parishads . The system has three variants,

  • The entire country is treated as a constituency and seats are allocated to each party as per its share of votes

  • The country is divided into several multi party constituencies, each party prepares a list of candidates for each constituency

  • As a third variant , India follows STV (Single transferable vote ) where in every state has a specific quota of seats in the rajya sabha For instance Uttar Pradesh has the largest number of seats. Every person is required to elect a candidate on the basis of his or her preference , In order to be declared a winner the candidate has to secure a minimum quota of votes which is to determined by the following formula:

Total votes polled / total number of candidates to be elected +1

For example if 5 Rajya sabha members are to elected by 180 MLAs then ,

180/ 5+1 = 30 votes are required by the winner.


In FPTP the candidate might get less votes than the majority, sometimes not even 50%, but in PR the candidate gets majority votes only. In PR voters vote for the party but in FPTP, voters vote for the candidate. In FPTP , it not necessary to get seats in proportion to the votes of legislature unlike pr. FPTP elects one representative from one constituency whereas PR elects more than one representative from the constituency


RESERVED CONSTITUENCIES

As per the FPTP system the candidate with the highest votes wins, this is often treated as a disadvantage for the lower classes as India has been a class discriminating country since centuries . The constitution makers were aware of this problem so they created reservation in electoral politics where people belonging to the reserved category can only contest elections in that constituency.

Some of the article for the same have been listed below:

  • Art 330 : Seats shall be reserved in lok sabha for the SC ans ST in proportion to their population

  • Art 332: Reservation of seats for the schedule caste and schedule tribe in the state legislative assemblies

  • Art 331:The President may appoint two members from the anglo indian community to the house of people if their community is not adequately represented.