ELECTION IN INDIA
Election is process whereby the people of a country decide who should represent them and exercise political power. India is the largest democratic country in the world. The efficiency of democracy depends on due representation of the people in the government.
In India, elections are held in five years normally. Representatives are elected on the basis on adult franchise. An Indian citizen who has completed the age of 18 has the right to vote. The entire body of voter is called electorate. The Election Commission of India conducts the election. It is an independent body entrusted with the task of conducting free and fair election. The commission dictates the rules, regulations and norms of the election and observes whether the political parties and candidates are violating them. The commission prepares the general electoral roll for the each constituency. It also announces the date in advance so that the contesting political parties can make preparations.
Once the elections are announced, the candidates have to file their nominations to the election office. After all nominations are filed, they are scrutinized. This is done to check nominations whether the nomination are given in the nomination paper is correct. After scrutiny, the candidates are given a date for withdrawal. Political parties have their own symbols. Independent candidates are given symbol by the Commission. Since a good number of people of India are illiterate, symbols are also printed on the papers.
The next stage is campaigning. The candidates and their parties persuade the voters to vote for them. Campaigning includes posters, announcements, meetings and procession. Formerly, lots of money used to be spent on campaigning. But now, the Election Commission has the fixed amount of money which can be spent by a candidate in a constituency. So, candidates resort to house –to- house campaign now. Each political party promises to do certain things if it comes to power. This is called Election Manifesto. Campaigning stops 48 hours before polling. This gives some time for the voter to think for himself. Voters go to the polling booths and exercise their franchise without fear. After voting is over, ballot boxes are sealed and taking to the counting centers. After counting, the candidate getting the maximum number of votes polled is declared elected.
With the appointment of T.N. Seshan as the Chief Election Commission of India, the election process has been regulated and purified to a great extent. India voters are conscious of the election process now. They can no more be threatened or bought off by political parties. Booth capturing and killing were common phenomena in India. But these have almost been put an end to due to the efforts made by T.N. Seshan.
Eleven general elections to Parliament have been held in India since Independence. The first general election was held in 1952 and the Congress party under leadership of Pandit Nehru assumed power. The Congress was in power till 1977. But in the 6th general election, the Congress was routed and the first non Congress ministry under the leadership of Morarji Desai and his Janatha party assumed power. But Morarji had to resign due to the infighting in his own party. In the 9th general election of 1989, no party could get a majority. It was hung parliament after the 10th general election of 1991 and the eleventh general election of 1996. A coalition system of government is followed in India now.