In a democracy, there is the rule of the people/citizens. In a large country, all citizens can not directly participate in any decision of governance. So people choose their representatives. Since these representatives run our governance, therefore, the election becomes important. On this basis we divide democracy into two parts- 1. Direct and 2. Indirect democracy.
Direct Democracy - Citizens participate directly in day-to-day decisions and running the government. The city-states of ancient Greece are considered examples of direct democracy. Local governments, especially village councils, are the closest examples of direct democracy.
Indirect Democracy - But this type of direct democracy cannot be put into practice when millions and crores of people have to take decisions. Therefore, the rule of the people generally means the government runs by the representatives of the people. This is called indirect democracy. In such a system, citizens choose their representatives who actively participate in running the governance and administration of the country.
The method of electing the representatives who participate actively in running the governance and administration is called an election. Thus, citizens are involved indirectly, through their elected representatives, in taking important decisions and running the administration. The method of election of representatives becomes very important in a system in which all major decisions are taken through elected representatives. Not all elections are democratic. Elections are also held in many non-democratic countries. In fact, non-democratic rulers are very eager to prove themselves democratic. For this, they conduct elections in such a way that there is no threat to their rule.
The constitution has an important role at the point of election. The constitution of a democratic country contains some basic rules for elections, and the work of making detailed rules and regulations in this regard is done by the legislature. These basic rules generally relate to the voters, contestants, overseeing the elections, the process of elections, the method of counting the votes and the method of electing the representatives.
Generally we see two types of election system - 1. ‘first-past-the-post system ' and 2. 'Proportional representation'
'first-past-the-post system- one representative is elected from each constituency; And in that constituency, the candidate who gets more votes than all other candidates is elected. It is not necessary for the winning candidate to get a majority of the total votes. It is also called pluralistic system.
'Proportional Representation' - Each party is given seats in Parliament in the same proportion as they get a share of the votes. Each party issues a priority list of its candidates before the elections and selects as many candidates from that priority list as the quota of seats is given to it. In this system, a party gets the same percentage of seats as the percentage of votes it gets.
There is such a system in Israel. There are two types of proportional representation. In some countries, such as Israel or the Netherlands, the entire country is considered a single constituency and each party is given seats in proportion to the votes it receives in national elections. The second method is seen in Argentina and Portugal, where the entire country is divided into multi-member constituencies. Each party issues a list of its candidates for each constituency containing the same number of names as the number of candidates to be elected from that constituency. In both forms, voters vote for political parties and not their candidates. On the basis of the number of votes secured by a party in a constituency, seats are allotted to that party in that constituency. Therefore, the representatives of a constituency are actually the representatives of the political parties.
Comparison of ' first-past-the-post' and 'proportional representation electoral system
First-Past-the-Post" (FPTP) System
• Divide the whole country into small geographical units called constituencies
• A large geographical area is considered as a constituency. The whole country can be counted as one constituency.
• Only one representative is elected from each constituency.
• Multiple representatives can be elected from one constituency.
• The voter votes for the candidate.
• The voter votes for the party.
• The party can get more or less seats in the legislature in proportion to the votes received.
• Each party gets seats in the legislature in proportion to the votes it receives.
• The winning candidate does not necessarily get a majority (50%+1) of the votes
• The winning candidate gets a majority of the votes.
• Example- United Kingdom and India
• Example- Israel and the Netherlands
Election system in India
In India, on the one hand, first-past-the-post system is seen in direct elections, on the other hand, proportional representation system is seen in indirect elections.
In a democratic election, the people vote and their will determines the victory of the representatives. Elections in India follow the 'first-past-the-post' system. Under this arrangement the entire country is currently divided into 543 constituencies; One representative is elected from each constituency. The candidate who gets more votes than all the other candidates is elected. It is not necessary for the winning candidate to get a majority of the total votes. In the election race, the candidate who comes out ahead of the other candidates is the winner. It is also called pluralistic system. The Constitution accepts this method for general / direct elections. The votes of all the losing candidates go to waste, because on the basis of these votes those candidates or parties do not get any seats. If a party gets 25 percent of the votes in each constituency but other candidates get less than that. In that case a party can win all the seats by getting only 25 percent or less votes.
Proportional representation system has been adopted in India in a limited way only for indirect elections. Our Constitution proposes a third and more complex form of proportional representation system for elections to the President, Vice President, Rajya Sabha and Legislative Councils.
System of Proportional Representation in Rajya Sabha Elections - A third form of proportional representation we get to see in the Rajya Sabha elections in India. This is called the 'Single Transferable Vote System'. Each state has a fixed quota of seats in the Rajya Sabha. These seats are elected by the members of the Legislative Assemblies of the states. In this, only the legislators of the state are the voters. The voter casts votes to all the candidates standing in the election in an order of preference according to their choise. A candidate has to get a quota of votes to win. Which is calculated on the basis of the following formula:-
Total No. of Vacant Seats+1
For example, if 200 MLAs of Rajasthan have to elect four members to the Rajya Sabha, then the winning candidate will need (200/4+1) +1=200/5 + 1= 40 +1 = 41 votes. When the votes are counted, the 'first preference' votes received by the candidates are counted. After the first preference votes are counted, if the desired number of candidates does not get the quota of votes, then the votes are re-counted. The candidate who gets the least number of first preference votes is eliminated from the counting. His votes are divided among the other candidates; In doing so that vote is transferred to the second preference candidate marked on each ballot paper. This process is continued till the number of candidates equal to the desired number is declared as the winner.
Reasons for adopting first-past-the-post system in general elections in India
'Proportional representation process is quite complex which can be implemented in a small country but not in a large country like India. The success of the system with the most votes is the reason for its popularity.
For those ordinary voters who do not have special knowledge of politics and elections, it is very easy to understand this whole election system. Apart from this, voters have clear choices at the time of elections.
Voters have only to give approval to a candidate or party while casting their vote. Keeping in mind the reality of politics, the voter can give preference to any candidate and also to any party, if he wants, he can also try to balance these two, at the time of voting.
This system gives a clear choice to the voters to choose not only among the parties but also among the candidates. In other electoral systems, especially in the system of proportional representation, voters are given the option to choose a single party, but the candidates are selected on the basis of a list issued by the party. Thus, no one is represented and responsible for a particular sector. But in constituencies based on the system with the most votes, voters know who their representative is and can hold them accountable.
The framers of the constitution understood that elections based on the system of proportional representation would not be suitable for the stability of the government in the parliamentary system. This system demands that the executive should have a majority in the legislature. Proportional representation system will make it difficult to get a clear majority as seats in the legislature will be distributed in proportion to the percentage of votes. In the first-past-the-post system, a system with a majority of votes, usually large parties or alliances get some extra seats as a bonus. These seats are more out of proportion to the votes they get. Therefore, this system gives an opportunity to the parliamentary government to work smoothly and effectively, paving the way for the formation of a stable government.
Lastly, the system with the most votes helps the various social classes in a constituency to unite and win elections. In a country with such diversity as India, the proportional representation system would lead each community to form a nationwide party of its own. Perhaps this too must have been in the minds of the framers of our constitution.
The functioning of the Constitution so far testifies to the expectations of the framers of the Constitution. The experience gained from the working of the constitution proves the expectations of the framers of the constitution. The system with the most votes has proved to be simple and familiar to the common voter. It has helped the big parties to get a clear majority at the Center and in the states. This system has also discouraged those parties which get all their votes from a single caste or community. Generally, a bipartisan system emerges from the system with the most votes. This means that there are two major competitors for power and both of them get power in turn. New parties or any third party find it difficult to participate in this competition and get power. In this context the experience of this system in India is somewhat different.
After independence, though we adopted the system with the most votes, the supremacy of one party emerged, along with several smaller parties. The functioning of multi-party alliances can be seen in India after 1989. Simultaneously, two-party competition is slowly emerging in many states. But the main feature of the Indian party system is that with the advent of coalition governments, new and smaller parties have got an opportunity to enter the electoral contest despite the system with the most votes.
Reservation of constituencies
In the system with the most votes, the candidate who gets the most votes in a constituency is declared elected. This causes harm to small social groups. This is more important in the Indian social environment. We have a history of caste based discrimination. In such a social system, the result of the system with the most votes would be that the dominant social groups and castes would win everywhere and the oppressed social groups like the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes would not get any representation. The framers of our Constitution were aware of this difficulty and understood the need to ensure fair and just representation to the oppressed social groups such as the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
This topic was debated even before independence and the British Government had introduced 'Separate Electoral Colleges'. This meant that only the people of that community could vote in the election of the representative of a community. Many members of the Constituent Assembly had doubts about this. He was of the view that this arrangement would not serve our purposes. Hence the system of reserved constituencies was adopted.Under this arrangement, all the voters in a constituency will cast their vote but the candidate will be from only that community or social class for which that seat is reserved.
There are many such social groups which are spread all over the country. They are not in sufficient numbers in any one constituency to influence the victory of any candidate. But looking at the whole country, they appear as a fairly large group. The system of reservation becomes necessary to give them proper representation. The Constitution provides for reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assemblies. Initially this arrangement was made for 10 years but it has been extended by many constitutional amendments. Through the 126th Constitutional Amendment Bill, the period of reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes has been extended till January 25, 2030. The proportion of reserved seats of these two groups is the same as that of the population of India.Today, out of 543 elected seats in the Lok Sabha, 84 are reserved for Scheduled Castes and 47 for Scheduled Tribes. Of the total 243 seats in the Bihar Legislative Assembly, 38 seats are reserved for scheduled castes and two for scheduled tribes.
Delimitation Commission The Delimitation Commission is an independent body constituted by the President. It works closely with the Election Commission. It is formed with the aim of demarcating the boundaries of constituencies across the country. Each state has a quota of constituencies for reservation which is proportional to the number of Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes in that state.
After the delimitation, the Delimitation Commission looks into the composition of the population in each constituency. The constituencies where Scheduled Tribes have the largest population are reserved for them. In the case of Scheduled Castes, the Delimitation Commission takes note of two things. The commission selects those constituencies in which the proportion of scheduled castes is high. But it also spreads these constituencies to different parts of the state. This is because the distribution of Scheduled Castes is uniform throughout the country. Whenever delimitation is done, some changes are made in these reserved constituencies. The Constitution does not make any provision for such reservation for other marginalized or weaker sections. Here, there has been a strong demand for reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies. Considering that very few women are elected in representative institutions, there is talk of reserving one-third of the seats for them. Seats have been reserved for women in urban and rural local governments. The constitution will have to be amended to make a similar arrangement in the Lok Sabha and the Vidhan Sabha. For this amendment motion was brought in Lok Sabha several times, but it could not be passed.
Problems of the Indian election process :-
Excessive role of money: - Although the limit of expenditure to be made by the candidate in the election has been fixed. This limit is different for different states. It has been made necessary for the candidate participating in the election to submit the account of election expenditure to the concerned authority within 30 days of the declaration of the election result. In practice the role of money is increasing tremendously. Elections are misused. There are also examples of buying votes with money.
Misuse of Government Machinery:- Generally, the Election Commission uses the same administrative machinery that was under the ruling party before the election. As a result, there is also a possibility of the Indian election process being influenced by the ruling party. The opposition parties have been raising their voice against the misuse of administrative machinery for the benefit of the ruling party.
Incompleteness of voter lists:- There is also a defect in our election system that voter lists are often incomplete at the time of elections. There are also mistakes in them. As a result many citizens are deprived of exercising their franchise. Many times such changes are made in the constituencies which are favorable to the ruling party.
Undue pressure on Election Officers:- Political and other types of pressure are exerted unjustifiably on the election officers. As a result, they are not able to complete their work impartially. They have to face many problems.
Multiplicity of Independent Candidates:- A serious problem of the Indian electoral system is that of independent candidates. Due to the large number of independent candidates, more than one EVM has to be used. Due to which unnecessary election expenditure increases.
Serious difference in the ratio of the seats received and the support received by the parties: - In our present election system, the candidate is considered as the winner, who has got the maximum number of votes. In this system, when there are more than two candidates, there is every possibility that the winning candidate will get less votes than all the other defeated candidates. Till date, the government of any party ruling at the Center has not got the support of 50 percent of the votes of the voters.
Some other drawbacks:- Some other shortcomings of Indian elections and electoral system are often told - that the increasing trend of fake and bogus voting, violation of election rules, various types of corruption in elections, Election Commission has its own independent employees. Non-availability of votes, many times there is no proper arrangement of the votes coming by post, capturing the polling stations etc.
Universal adult suffrage and the right to contest elections
Apart from prescribing the method of election, the constitution also lays down two other basic points regarding the elections, the voters and the eligibility to contest the elections. On both these points, our Constitution fully follows the established democratic conventions.
In democratic elections, all adult citizens of the country must have the right to vote in elections. This is known as Universal Adult Suffrage. In many countries, citizens had to fight a long battle with their rulers to get this right. In many countries, women got this right after a long time and after a lot of struggle.
The makers of the Indian Constitution, through an important decision, gave the right to vote to every adult Indian citizen. Until 1989, Indian citizens above the age of 21 were considered adult Indians. In 1989, the voting age was reduced from 21 to 18 years by amending Article 326 under the 61st Amendment Act of the Constitution. Adult suffrage provides an opportunity to all citizens to participate in the selection process of their representatives. This is in line with the principle of equality and non-discrimination. Many people earlier and even today believe that giving the right to vote to all without educational qualifications was not the right decision. But the makers of our constitution had equal faith in the ability and importance of all citizens to take decisions in the interest of society, country and their constituency.
All citizens have the right to stand for election and be the representative of the people. But the minimum age eligibility to contest for different posts varies. For example a candidate must be at least 25 years old to stand for Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha elections. There are some other restrictions. For example, a legal restriction is that if a person has been imprisoned for two or more years for an offence, he is not eligible to contest an election. But there is no restriction on the basis of income, education, class or gender to contest elections. As such, our electoral system is open to all citizens.
Independent Election Commission
Many efforts have been made to make the election process free and fair in India. The most important step is the establishment of an independent Election Commission, which has been created for the conduct and supervision of elections.
Article 324(1) - "The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to Parliament and to the Legislature of every State and of elections to the offices of President and Vice President held under this Constitution shall be vested in a Commission (referred to in this Constitution as the Election Commission)." This is what has been called the Election Commission in the Constitution. Article 324 of the Indian Constitution empowers an independent Election Commission to 'superintend, direct and control the preparation of electoral rolls for elections and the conduct of elections'. These words of the constitution are very important. Because they entrust the role of making the final decision on everything related to the elections to the Election Commission. The Supreme Court has also agreed with this interpretation of the Constitution.
Composition of the Election Commission
The Election Commission of India can be single member or multi member. Till 1989, the Election Commission was a single member. It was made multi-member by appointing two more Election Commissioners just before the 1989 general elections. After the elections, he was again made a single member. In 1993, two Election Commissioners were again appointed and the Election Commission became multi-member; Since then it has remained multi-member. Initially, there were various doubts about the multi-member Election Commission. There was a sharp difference of opinion between the Chief Election Commissioner and other commissioners as to who had the power. The Supreme Court had to resolve this. There is now a general consensus that a multi-member Election Commission is more appropriate as it has shared the powers of the Commission and made the Commission more accountable than ever before.
The Chief Election Commissioner presides over the Election Commission, but does not have more powers than the other two Election Commissioners. The Chief Election Commissioner and the other two Election Commissioners have equal powers in all decisions relating to elections as a collective body. He is appointed by the President on the advice of the Council of Ministers. In such a situation, it is possible that such a beneficiary may be appointed by the government in the Election Commission who supports the government in the elections. Due to this doubt, many people have suggested to change this process. They suggest that a different procedure should be followed for this, which requires consultation with the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Justice of India in the appointment of Chief Election Commissioners.
The Constitution protects the tenure of the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioners. They are appointed for a term of 6 years, or till the age of 65 years (whichever ends earlier). The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed by the President before the expiry of his term; but for this, a report to this effect will have to be sent to the President after passing both the houses of the Parliament with a special majority. This has been done to ensure that no government can remove the Chief Election Commissioner who refuses to favor him in the elections. The President of India can remove the Election Commissioners.
Every state has a Chief Electoral Officer to assist the Election Commission of India. The Election Commission is not responsible for the election of local bodies. As for this, there are State Election Commissioners in the states, who work separately from the Election Commission. And each of these has its own distinct scope of work.
Functions of the Election Commission of India
It looks after the work of updating the electoral rolls. Makes every effort that there are no mistakes in the electoral rolls i.e. the names of the registered voters are not left out nor do they contain the names of those who are not eligible to vote or are not alive.
He decides the timing of elections and the complete schedule of elections. In this program the following things are mentioned, the announcement of the election, the date of starting the nomination process, the date of voting, the date of the counting of the votes and the declaration of the election results.
In this entire process, the Election Commission has the right to take decisions to conduct free and fair elections. He can postpone or cancel the elections in any state or any constituency throughout the country on the ground that there is no conducive environment and it is not possible to conduct free and fair elections.
The Election Commission enforces a model code of conduct for political parties and their candidates.
He can order re-election in any constituency. If he feels that the counting process was not completely fair and just, he can also order recounting of votes.
The Election Commission recognizes political parties and allots election symbols to them.
The Election Commission has very limited staff. It conducts elections with the help of administrative machinery. But once the election process starts, the Commission has control over the entire administrative machinery in relation to election related work. During the election process, the administrative officers of the state and central government are given election related work and in this regard, the Election Commission has full control over them. The Election Commission may transfer or withhold the transfer of these officers; if the officer fails to act impartially, the commission can also take action against him.
Over the years, the Election Commission has emerged as an independent authority which has exercised its powers to ensure the fairness of the election process. It has worked in a fair and just manner to uphold the dignity of the election process.
The history of the Election Commission is a witness to the fact that every reform in the working of institutions does not necessarily require a legal or constitutional change. There is a general perception that the Election Commission is more independent and effective today than it was 35 years ago. It is not because the powers of the Election Commission or its constitutional protection have been increased. In fact, the Election Commission has only begun to exercise more effectively those powers which it already had in the Constitution.
Seventeen Lok Sabha elections have been held in the last 75 years. Many elections and bye-elections to the Legislative Assemblies were conducted by the Election Commission. The Election Commission has faced many difficult situations in conducting elections in violence-hit areas like Assam, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. It had to stop the entire election process midway in 1991 as former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated during the election campaign. The Election Commission faced another serious problem when the Gujarat Legislative Assembly was dissolved and elections had to be held. But the Election Commission found that it was not immediately possible to conduct free and fair elections due to the unprecedented violence in the state. The Election Commission decided to postpone the Legislative Assembly elections in the state for a few months. The Supreme Court upheld this decision of the Election Commission.
No system of election can ever be ideal. It has many drawbacks and limitations. A democratic society has to constantly look for ways to make its elections more free and fair. Attempts have been made to make elections in India free and fair by accepting adult suffrage, freedom to contest elections and the establishment of an independent Election Commission. But after the experience of the last 75 years, many suggestions have been made to improve our electoral system. Electoral reforms have been suggested by the Election Commission, various political parties, independent groups and many scholars. Some of these suggestions are about amending constitutional provisions.
Some suggestions are as follows:-
Some kind of proportional representation system should be implemented in place of the system that wins the most votes of the electoral system. With this, political parties will get seats in the same proportion as they will get votes.
Special provisions should be made for electing women to one-third seats in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies.
To control the influence of money in electoral politics, there should be more stringent provisions. The government should pay election funds from a special fund.
The candidate against whom there is a criminal case should be debarred from contesting the election, even if he has appealed against it in the court.
Any appeal made on the basis of caste and religion in election campaign should be completely banned.
There should be a law to control the working of political parties and to make their procedure more transparent and democratic.
There is no consensus on some of the suggestions. But even if there is a consensus on them, laws and formal provisions can work only to a certain extent. Truly free and fair elections can be held only when all candidates, political parties and all those who participate in the election process respect the spirit of democratic competition. In addition to legal reforms, there are two other ways in which elections can be ensured that the public's expectations and democratic aspirations are expressed. Firstly, the people themselves should be more vigilant and participate more actively in political work. But regularly participating in politics has its limits for the common man. Therefore, it is necessary that a number of political institutions and political organizations be developed which look after ensuring free and fair elections.
Work done by Election Commission for free and fair elections in recent years
Ban on exit polls - There was a possibility of using exit polls to influence public opinion. As a result, the Election Commission has banned exit polls under the Representation of the People Act, 1951, from the start of polling till half an hour after the end of polling. Publishing the results of exit polls during elections to the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies can be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
Ceiling on Electoral Expenditure - The ceiling on election expenditure for Lok Sabha seat has been increased to Rs.95 lakh, while in Vidhan Sabha this limit is up to Rs.40 lakh.
Voting through Postal Ballot - Government servants and all security forces are allowed to vote through Postal Ballot with the concurrence of the Election Commission. Indian citizens residing abroad have the right to vote who have not acquired citizenship of any other country and their name is entered in the electoral roll of any constituency.
Awareness and Dissemination - The Government of India celebrates 25 January every year as National Voters' Day to encourage young voters to participate in the electoral process. This series started from the year 2011. Reporting of political donations above Rs 20,000 to the Election Commission.
Use of technology - Creation of computerized database of electors, comprehensive photo electoral service, introduction of de-duplication technology to eliminate bogus and duplicate entries. Video recording of the voting process. The Commission has developed a system of online communication i.e. COMET, which has made it possible to monitor each polling station on the day of election. Now real time monitoring of polling stations is also being done using GPS. The Election Commission has launched the 'CVIGIL' app to enable citizens to report violations of the Model Code of Conduct during elections.
Election Commission's action under Article 324 – During the 17th Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission of India under Article 324 took strong and unprecedented action against some political leaders like Yogi Adityanath, Azam Khan and Pragya Singh Thakur, Maneka Gandhi and stopped their election campaign for three days. Later, the Election Commission banned election campaigning in West Bengal after a statue of 19th century Bengali icon Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was vandalized during the 7th phase of polling.
According to the Election Commission of India, about 90 crore people were eligible to vote in 2019, which was 8.43 crore more than the last general election, making it the largest election in the world. 1.5 crore voters in the age group of 18-19 years, 38325 transgender were added to the voters list for the first time as members of third gender, not as male or female. 71,735 foreign voters have enrolled in the voter list for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In 2015, an India-Bangladesh boundary agreement was signed, in which the two countries exchanged their enclaves. As a result, this will be the first time that residents of these former enclaves have voted in an Indian general election.
Electronic Voting Machines - EVMs have replaced paper ballots in local, state and general (parliamentary) elections in India. It has been used in elections since the 1999 elections in part for the implementation of electronic voting. There were earlier claims about EVMs and security which have not been proven. Following decisions of the Delhi High Court, Supreme Court and demands from various political parties, the Election Commission decided to implement EVMs with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system. Like in the recent elections, EVMs - Electronic Voting Machines have been used for the 2019 polls. The Election Commission of India also used a Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system, which enables electronic voting machines to record each vote cast by generating EVM slips. Tried on a sample basis in the previous elections, the VVPAT system has been used in all 543 Lok Sabha constituencies for the 2019 election. Manufacturers of Electronic Voting Machines, Electronics Corporation of India Limited, Hyderabad and Bharat Electronics Limited, Bangalore have stated that EVMs are completely reliable as the programming for EVMs is done in ECIL and BEL and not by chip makers. Control in EVMs and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail and ballot units have an anti-tampering mechanism by which they become non-functional if opened illegally. EVMs are standalone machines, do not feature radio frequency transmission devices, operate on battery packs and cannot be retrofitted. The control unit of the EVM has a real time clock which logs every event at the exact time at which it was switched on. The anti-tamper mechanism in the machine can also detect 100-millisecond variations.
There are three types of Electronic Voting Machines M1, M2 and M3. The most modern M3 EVMs, which have been in use since its introduction in 2013, allow machine code to be written into chips within the PSU premises itself - Bharat Electronics Limited, Bangalore and Electronics Corporation of India Limited, Hyderabad. Election Commission of India introduced EVM Tracking Software (ETS) as a modern inventory management system where the identity and physical presence of all EVMS / Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is tracked on real time basis. In M3 EVM each machine has coded digital verification system which is required to establish connectivity between its two constituent units. There are multiple layers of seal to ensure that it is tamper-proof. Indian EVMs are non-networked machines.
NOTA means none of these. NOTA was first used in India in 2009. Chhattisgarh was the first state in India to give NOTA option to voters in local elections. The NOTA button made its debut in the 2013 assembly elections in four states - Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and the National Capital Territory of Delhi. NOTA came into force in the whole country from 2014. The Election Commission of India directed to provide option of 'None of the above' button in the electronic voting machines in the December 2013 assembly elections. In 2018, NOTA got the equivalent status of candidates for the first time in India. Haryana Election Commission for the municipal elections to be held in five districts in Haryana in December 2018 has decided that in the event of NOTA winning, all the candidates will be disqualified and the election will be conducted again. However, the Election Commission of India has not implemented it yet.
About 1.04 per cent voters in India voted for none of the above (NOTA) in the Indian general election, 2019, with Bihar leading with 2.08 per cent NOTA voters.
Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) or Verified Paper Record (VPR)- It is a method of giving feedback to the voters. It is an independent system linked to EVMs, whereby voters can verify that their vote has been cast by the candidate in whose favor they have cast their vote. When the vote is cast, a printed slip is generated which bears the name and election symbol of the candidate who has been voted. It is a means of detecting potential election fraud or malpractices and auditing stored electronic results.
In India, verified paper records were first used in an election to the Naksen assembly constituency of Nagaland in September 2013. Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system was implemented in 8 (Lucknow, Gandhinagar, Bangalore South, Chennai Central, Jadavpur, Raipur, Patna Sahib and Mizoram) out of 543 parliamentary constituencies as a pilot project in Lok Sabha Elections 2014. Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with VVAPATs were used in all seats in the 2017 Goa Legislative Assembly elections and in all 543 Lok Sabha constituencies in the 2019 General Elections.
Totalizer is a proposed mechanism in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in India to hide the booth-wise voting pattern. A totalizer has allowed simultaneous counting of votes in about 14 polling booths.
During the 2014 Indian general election, Ajit Pawar, the former Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, allegedly threatened voters that they would have to pay for not voting for his party. Voting pattern can be ascertained from Electronic Voting Machine readings. A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court in 2014 seeking a direction to the Election Commission to stop the disclosure of voting patterns related to the election of candidates for a particular constituency.
The Election Commission had initially suggested this measure to the UPA government in 2008. In February 2017, the NDA government in its affidavit in the Supreme Court opposed Totalizer, while the Law Commission of India and the Election Commission of India supported the introduction of Totalizer. The Congress, NCP and BSP supported the proposal to use the 'totalizer' machine, while the BJP, Trinamool Congress and PMK opposed the totalizer.
Gender issues and politics
Women constitute half of the human population, but their role in public life, especially in politics, is negligible. This applies to most societies. Earlier only men were allowed to participate in public affairs, vote or contest elections. Gradually gender issues emerged in politics. In different parts of the world, women formed their own organizations and agitated for equal rights. There were movements in various countries to give women the right to vote. The Act on Equal Wages states that equal wages shall be paid for equal work. However, in every field of work, from the world of sports to the world of cinema and from factories to farms and barns, women are paid less than men, even though both have done the same work. In many parts of India, parents only want a boy. The methods of destroying the girl before she is even born grow from this mentality. Due to this the sex ratio [number of girls per thousand boys] of the country has come down to 943. In Haryana, this ratio has come down to 879. We get to read daily news of harassment, exploitation and violence against women. Urban areas are especially unsafe for women. They are not safe even in their homes because there too they have to face beatings and many types of domestic violence.
Political representation of women
It is no secret that the issues of women's well-being or equal treatment are not given enough attention. Due to this, various feminist groups and women's movements have come to the conclusion that this problem cannot be solved unless women control the power. One way to achieve this goal is to increase the share of women in the representatives elected by the people.
The proportion of women representatives in the Indian legislature is very low. As such, the number of women MPs in the Lok Sabha has never reached even ten percent of the total members. Their representation in the state legislative assemblies is less than 5 per cent. In this regard, India's number is very low among the countries of the world. India is also behind many developing countries of Africa and Latin America in this respect. Sometimes a woman has come up to the chair of the Prime Minister or Chief Minister, but men have dominated the cabinets.
One way to solve this problem is to legally fix a fair share for women in elected institutions. Some similar arrangements have been made under Panchayati Raj in India. One-third of the posts in local governments i.e. Panchayats and Municipalities have been reserved for women. Today the number of elected women in rural and urban local bodies of India is more than 14,54,488, in Bihar also the number of elected women is 71,046.
Women's organizations and activists demand that one-third of the seats in Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies should be reserved for women. A bill to this effect was also introduced in the Parliament but it has been hanging for more than ten years. Not all political parties are unanimous about this bill and it has not been passed.
Religion, Communalism and Politics
Religious diversity has become very widespread in the world today. People of different religions live in many countries including India, but as we saw in the case of Northern Ireland, if people follow one religion but have different rituals and beliefs, serious differences can arise. In contrast to the gender divide, the religious divide is often expressed in the political arena. Gandhiji used to say that religion can never be separated from politics. By religion he did not mean religion like Hinduism or Islam but with moral values which are associated with all religions. He believed that politics should be guided by the values established by religion. Human rights groups in their country say that most of the people who died in communal riots in this country belong to minority communities. Their demand is that the government should take special steps to protect the minorities.
The women-movement maintains that the family laws described in all religions discriminate against women. This movement demands that the government should change these laws to make them equitable. All these matters are related to religion and politics but they do not seem very wrong or even dangerous. Ideas, ideals and values derived from different religions can play a part in politics. People as a religious community should have the right to raise their needs, interests and demands in politics. Those who are in political power should keep an eye on the functioning of religion and if it discriminates against anyone or plays an ally in the suppression of someone then it should be stopped. If the government treats all religions equally, then there is no harm in such acts.
The problem begins when religion is taken as the basis of the nation. The example of Northern Ireland illustrates the dangers associated with such a concept of nationalism. The problem becomes worse when the expression of religion in politics takes the form of assertion and advocacy of the uniqueness of one community and its followers open a front against the followers of other religions. This happens when the views of one religion are considered superior to the other and one religious group starts raising its demands against the other group. In this process, when the state starts using its power in favor of any one religion, then the situation starts getting worse. This is how to mix religion with politics is communalism.
Communal politics is based on the idea that religion is what constitutes a social community. To think in line with this belief is communalism. According to this thinking, people who believe in a particular religion belong to the same community. Their fundamental interests are the same and the differences between the people of the community do not matter in community life, this includes the idea that people of a different religion cannot be part of another social community; If there is any similarity in the thinking of people of different religions then it is superficial and redundant. People of different religions will have different interests and conflicts. When the communal thinking progresses further, it starts adding to the idea that the followers of other religions cannot live in the same nation as equal citizens. According to this mentality, either the people of one community will have to live under the domination of another community or they will have to form a separate nation for them. This belief is fundamentally wrong. It is not possible for people of one religion to have the same interests and aspirations in every respect. Each person plays a variety of roles. His status and identity vary. There are different types of people in every community. All of them have the right to have their say, so to see all the people belonging to one religion together in a non-religious context is to suppress the different voices of that community.
Communalism can take many forms in politics
The most common manifestation of communalism is seen in day to day life. These include religious prejudices, beliefs about religious communities, and beliefs that one religion is superior to another. These things are so common that often we do not even pay attention to them while it is sitting inside us.
Communal thinking often seeks to establish political dominance of its religious community. This effort of people who belong to the majority community takes the form of majoritarianism. In the minority community, this belief takes the form of a desire to form a separate political entity. Political mobilization on communal lines is another form of communalism. It is very common to use sacred symbols of religion, religious leaders, emotional appeals and methods to instill fear in one's own people. In electoral politics, methods such as raising the sentiments or interests of voters of one religion are often adopted.
At times communalism takes its worst form and leads to violence, riots and genocide on the basis of sect. There were horrific communal riots in India and Pakistan at the time of partition. Large scale communal violence has taken place even after independence.
Communalism has been a major challenge to the democracy of our country. Our Constitution makers were conscious of this challenge. That is why he chose the model of secular governance and on this basis many provisions have been made in the constitution. The Indian state has not adopted any religion as the state religion. Unlike Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Islam in Pakistan and Christianity in England, the Constitution of India does not give any special status to any religion. The constitution gives freedom to all citizens and communities to practice and propagate any religion. The constitution declares any discrimination on the basis of religion illegal. Along with this, the constitution empowers the government to intervene in religious matters to ensure equality in the religious community. As such, it does not allow untouchability.
Secularism is not just an ideology of a few parties or individuals. This idea is the foundation of our Constitution. Communalism is not just a threat to a few people in India. It is a challenge, a threat to the basic concept of India. A secular constitution like ours is essential but communalism cannot be fought on its own. We have to counter communal prejudices and propaganda in our day to day life and mobilization based on religion needs to be countered in the realm of politics.
Caste and Politics
There are divisions based on gender and religion all over the world, but division based on caste is seen only in Indian society. Some social inequalities and some form of division of labor exist in all societies. In most societies, the profession is passed from one generation to the next in the family. But the caste system is an extreme and permanent form of it. It differs in a certain sense from the inequalities that exist in other societies. In this the hereditary division of profession is recognized by customs. People of a caste group not only belong to the same or similar professions, but they are also seen as a separate social community. In them there is a relationship of beti-roti i.e. marriage and food among themselves. Their children cannot get married to other caste groups, nor can people of different castes sit in their essential family and community events.
The varna system is based on the notion of discrimination against other caste-groups and treating them as separate from oneself. In this 'Antyaj' castes were treated with untouchability. This is the reason why politicians and other social reformers like Jyotiba Phule, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Ambedkar and Periyar Ramaswami Nayakar talked and worked for creating a social order free from caste discrimination. Due to the efforts and socio-economic changes of these great men, there has been a drastic change in the caste structure and caste system in modern India. Due to economic development, urbanization, development of literacy and education, freedom to choose profession and weakening of zamindari system in villages, the old form of caste system and mentality based on varna system is changing. Any kind of caste discrimination is prohibited in the constitution. The Constitution has laid down the basis of policies to end the injustice born out of the caste system.
The caste system has not departed from contemporary India. Some old aspects of the caste system are still intact. Most of the people still marry within their own caste. Despite the clear constitutional provision, the practice of untouchability has not yet been completely eradicated. Under the caste system, for centuries, some groups have been kept in a position of advantage, while others have been suppressed. Its effect is visible even after centuries. The castes in which the practice of education was already present and who had a hold on education, they also dominate in the modern education system. The members of the castes which were earlier denied education are still inherently backward. This is the reason why the proportion of upper caste people in the urban middle class is unusually high.
Caste in politics
Like communalism, casteism is also based on the belief that caste is the only basis for the formation of a social community. According to this method of thinking, the people of one caste form a natural social community and have common interests and do not match their interests with those of other castes.
As we have seen in the case of communalism, this belief is not confirmed by our experience. Our experiences show that caste is an aspect of our lives but it is not the only or most important aspect. Caste can take many forms in politics:-
When the parties decide the names of the candidates for the election, they take into account the castes of the voters of the constituency so that they get the necessary votes to win the election.
When the government is formed, political parties take care that people belonging to different castes and tribes are given proper place in it.
Political parties and candidates incite caste sentiments to gain support. Some parties are seen as helpers and representatives of certain castes.
Universal adult suffrage and the system of one person-one vote forced political parties to be active in seeking political support and mobilizing people. This created a new consciousness among the people of those castes, which were till now considered small and low.
The emphasis on caste in politics can at times lead to the impression that elections are a game of castes, nothing more. But this is not entirely true because -
There is no majority of the people of any one caste in any one parliamentary constituency of the country, so every party and candidate has to win the trust of more people than one caste and one community to win the election.
No party can get the votes of all the people of any one caste or community. When people refer to a particular caste as the 'vote bank' of a party, it means that most of the people of that caste vote for that party.
If a constituency is dominated by people of one caste, then the candidate of that caste is fielded by many parties in the election. In such a situation, some voters have more than one candidate of their caste in front of them, while some caste voters do not have a single candidate of their caste in front of them.
In our country, the ruling party, sitting MPs and MLAs often face defeat. This would not have been possible if the political preferences of castes and communities were the same.
It is clear that the role of caste in elections is important, but other factors are equally effective. Voters often have a deeper affiliation with political parties than they do with their castes. Even within a caste or community, the interests of the rich and the poor differ. Rich and poor people of the same community often vote for different parties. Public opinion about the functioning of the government and the popularity of leaders often have a decisive influence on elections.
Politics within caste
The relationship between caste and politics is not just one sided. Politics also influences the caste system and caste identity by bringing castes into the political arena. In this way, not only politics is caste-ridden, caste also becomes political. This thing takes many forms:
Every caste wants to make itself big. So, earlier the caste groups, which they wanted to keep out of their group by calling them small or low, now they try to bring those castes together.
Since one caste cannot seize power on its own, it tries to take along other castes or communities to gain more political power, thus creating dialogue and bargaining between them.
There have also been new types of caste mobilization in politics, such as 'forward' and 'backward'.
Thus caste plays a variety of roles in politics and in a way the same things play out in politics around the world. Political parties around the world try to mobilize social groups and communities to get votes. In certain situations, caste differences and inequalities in politics also create scope for the marginalized and vulnerable communities to speak out and demand their share in power.
In this sense, caste politics has also created conditions for the people belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the Backward Castes to reach power and influence the decision-making process in a better way. Many parties and non-political organizations have been agitating to demand an end to discrimination against certain castes, to treat them with more respect, to provide them with real estate and opportunities. In this sense, caste politics has also created conditions for the people belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the Backward Castes to reach power and influence the decision-making process in a better way. Many parties and non-political organizations have been agitating to demand an end to discrimination against certain castes, to treat them with more respect, to provide them with real estate and opportunities. But at the same time it is also true that emphasizing only caste can be harmful. As is evident from the issue of religion, politics based solely on caste identity does not bode well for democracy. This often diverts people's attention from bigger issues like poverty, development, corruption. Sometimes casteism also promotes tension, conflict and violence.
Caste in Bihar politics
Today, Bihar has become the corridor of Central Politics (Delhi) because it is believed that the political activities of Bihar will not only create new equations for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, but will also affect the electoral strategies. Although caste equation plays an important role in the election of any province in India, but in the case of Bihar, it can be said that only caste equation plays a role.
The politics of Bihar is based on casteism, about which every party takes a decision keeping in mind all the castes. Here it is the only factor that makes and destroys the government.
The politics of Bihar is caste based. Because of this, almost all the parties take a decision keeping in mind all the castes. The biggest example of how strong casteism is here is that in Bihar itself, before independence, the Janeu movement took place and in this state, Jayaprakash Narayan had raised the slogan of 'Jati choro, Janeu todo' in the entire revolution. Issues like employment, poverty alleviation, education hardly affect public opinion in Bihar with the identity of caste politics.
Ram Manohar Lohia, who made Karpoori Thakur, the leader of the Bihar government, which led the backwards, had demanded reservation for the backwards for the first time. In 1967, Bihar assembly and Lok Sabha elections were held simultaneously. Caste was the main reason for the transfer in this election. From here the period of political instability had also started in Bihar. Similarly, after the implementation of the Mandal Commission report in 1990, the caste equation in Bihar changed rapidly and due to the increasing political awareness among the backward classes, the commitment of the voters to the caste based regional parties started increasing.
According to the estimates of NSSO (National Sample Survey Organisation), half of Bihar's population comes from backward classes. Similarly, Dalits and Muslims are also major communities in the state. Muslims in Bihar are also divided into many parts on the basis of social classification, in which the number of backward Muslims is more. This is the reason that if we look at the political history of Bihar, it is known that the results of the assembly elections held after 1990 clearly show why coalition politics dominates here. If all the political parties fight the elections alone, there will be a fractured mandate in Bihar and no one will be able to form the government.
Bihar has been a politically unstable state. Many coalition governments have come here. President's rule has been imposed almost eight times. A hallmark of political change along with social change in Bihar is that till now there have been 12 upper castes, 6 backward classes, 3 Dalits and one Muslim chief minister. Records are also recorded in this state for being Chief Minister for more than 5 days to more than 16 years.
A political party can be understood as an organized group of people who work for the purpose of contesting elections and gaining political power in the government. Keeping in view the collective interest of the society, this group decides some policies and programs. Collective interest is a controversial idea. Everyone has a different opinion about this. On this basis, parties try to convince people that their policies are better than others. They try to implement those policies after winning the elections by getting the support of the people. Thus parties also represent the basic political division of a society. The party belongs to one section of the society so its attitude is inclined towards that particular section/community of the society. The identity of a party is determined by its policies and its social base. There are three main parts of a political party:
Active Members; And
Functions of political party
Basically political parties fill political positions and exercise political power. They do this work in many ways;-
Political parties contest elections. In most democratic countries, elections are fought between candidates fielded by political parties. Political parties elect candidates in many ways. In some countries like America, the candidate is chosen by the party members and supporters. Now the number of countries choosing candidates in this way is increasing. In other countries, such as India, the candidates are chosen by the leaders of the parties.
Parties put different policies and programs in front of the voters and voters choose the policies and programs of their choice. Everyone may have a different opinion about which policies are right for the country. But no government can run with so many different ideas at the same time. In a democracy, similar or similar ideas have to be brought together to give a direction to the policies of the government. That's what parties do. Parties bring a variety of views down to some basic opinion that they support. The government usually decides its policies according to the opinion of the ruling party.
Parties play a decisive role in the law making of the country. Laws are formally debated and passed in the legislature, but most of the members of the legislature are members of one or the other party. For this reason they take decisions on the instructions of the leader of their party.
Parties form and run the government. In the matter of policies and big decisions, decisions are taken by the politicians and these leaders belong to different parties. The parties elect leaders, train them and then make them ministers to take decisions according to the party's principles and program so that they can run the government as per the wishes of the party.
The party losing the election plays the role of the opposition party of the ruling party. Apart from criticizing the wrong policies and failures of the government, he also holds his own opinion. Opposition parties also mobilize the general public against the government.
Parties play an important role in public opinion formation. They raise and debate issues. Lakhs of workers of different parties are scattered across the country. Their friend organizations or pressure groups also work in different sections of the society. The parties also sometimes agitate for the problems of the people. Often the opinion of the people of the society is formed around the opinion held by different parties.
It is the parties that give access to the government machinery and welfare programs run by the government. It is easier for an ordinary citizen to get acquainted with a political activist than to a government official. For this reason, people consider them close to them even though they do not have full faith in the parties. Parties also have to pay attention to the demands and needs of the people in any case or else people can thrash them in the next election.
Need for a political party
The rise of political parties is associated with the emergence of a democratic system based on representation. Large societies require representation based democracy. When societies become large and complex, they need some medium or agency to collate differing views on various issues and bring them to the attention of the government. Representatives from different places need to come together so that a responsible government can be formed.
They need tools to support or restrain the government, to formulate policies and to support or oppose the policies. Every representative- whatever such needs of the government are, political parties fulfill them. In this way we can say that political parties are an essential condition of democracy.
If there are no parties, then all the candidates will be independent. Then, none of them would be in a position to make election promises to the people about major policy changes. Government will be formed but its usefulness will be doubtful. Elected representatives will be accountable only for the work done in their constituencies. But, no one will be responsible for how the country is run.
From the example of non-party panchayat elections, we find that on the occasion of elections, the entire village is divided into several camps and each camp puts out its own 'panel' of candidates for all the posts. Political parties do the same thing. This is the reason why we see political parties in almost all the countries of the world.
Political parties by numbers
In a democracy, any group of citizens can form a political party. In this formal sense there are many political parties in all countries. In India itself, the number of parties that have registered their names with the Election Commission till the year 2019 is 2293. But, not every party is in a position to put up a serious challenge in the election. Usually only a few parties are active in the race to win elections and form the government. In many countries, only one party is allowed to form and run the government. For this reason they are called one party system. Only the Communist Party is allowed to rule in China. Although legally there is also the freedom for the people to form political parties, the electoral system there does not allow free competition for power, so people do not see any benefit in forming a new political party and hence no new party can be formed. One party system cannot be considered a good option as it is not a democratic option. In any democratic system, at least two parties must be allowed to compete in elections for political power. At the same time, they should also have ample opportunity to come to power. In some countries, power usually varies between the two main parties. There may be many other parties, they can also win some seats by contesting elections but only two parties are strong contenders to get majority and form the government. There is a similar two party system in America and Britain.
When many parties are in competition for power and more than two parties have a fair chance to come to power on their own or in alliance with others, then it is called multi-party system. There is a similar multi-party system in India as well. In this system, many parties can form the government by forming a coalition. In a multi-party system, when several parties join hands to contest elections and come to power, it is called a coalition or front. As such, in the 2019 general election, four main national pre-election coalitions were formed. These include the BJP-led NDA (NDA), the Congress-led UPA (UPA), and the Grand Alliance of regional parties and the Left Front of communist-leaning parties. Often the multi-party system seems too complicated and leads the country to political instability, but at the same time, different interests and ideas get political representation in this system.
It is not in the hands of any country to choose the party system. It develops itself after a long period of work and the nature of society, its political divisions, the history of politics and its electoral system – all play their part. It cannot be changed very quickly. Every country develops a party system according to its special circumstances. For example, if there is a multi-party system in India, it is because two-three parties are unable to accommodate all the social and geographical diversities of such a large country. It is not possible to have the same ideal system in every country and in every situation.
Political parties in india
There are two types of political parties in the world's federal system of democracies: parties that exist in only one of the federal units and those that exist in many or all of the union units. This is the situation in India as well. Many parties are spread all over the country and are called national parties. These parties have units in different states. But on the whole, all these units follow the policies, programs and strategies to be decided at the national level.
Every party in the country has to register itself with the Election Commission. The commission considers all parties equal but it gives some special facilities to large and established parties. They are given a separate election symbol which can be used only by the authorized candidate of the party. The parties receiving this privilege and certain other benefits are called 'recognized' parties. The Election Commission has made clear rules as to what percentage of votes and seats a party can win to become a 'recognized' party.
If a registered party fulfills any one of the following conditions, then it is recognized by the Election Commission of India at the national level;
1. A registered party must have secured at least 2% of the total seats in the Lok Sabha in three different states.
2. A party must have secured at least 6% of the votes in the Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha elections in 4 different states and at least 4 seats in the Lok Sabha.
3. Any party should be recognized as a state party in at least four or more states.
According to the notification of the Election Commission dated September 23, 2021, eight parties have been recognized at the national level in the country.
Bharatiya Janata Party: This party was formed in 1980 by reviving the old Bharatiya Jana Sangh. Aiming to build a strong and modern India by taking inspiration from India's ancient culture and values; Cultural nationalism (or Hindutva) is a major element in Indian nationalism and its conception of politics. The party is in favor of creating a uniform civil code for people of all religions residing in the country and prohibiting conversions. Its support base widened in the 1990s. Earlier, this party, which was confined to the northern and western and urban areas of the country, expanded its base in the South, East, Northeast and rural areas of the country in this decade. The party came to power in 1998 as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance.
The coalition included several provincial and regional parties. This party got the maximum number of seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and led the NDA government. The Indian general elections to constitute the Seventeenth Lok Sabha were held across the country in 7 phases from April 11 to May 19, 2019. The election results were announced on 23 May, with the Bharatiya Janata Party winning 303 seats, maintaining its absolute majority and the BJP-led coalition winning 353 seats and forming a government headed by Narendra Modi.
Indian National Congress: It is commonly called as Congress Party and it is one of the oldest parties in the world. This party, formed in 1885, has been divided several times. After independence, it has played a major role at the national and provincial level for several decades. Under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, this party attempted to make India a modern secular democratic republic. It ruled the country continuously till 1971 and again from 1980 to 1989. Since 1989, the support of this party has decreased but now it is maintaining its base in the whole country and all sections of the society. In its ideological orientation, this party, which is centrist (neither left or right), has made secularism and the interests of weaker sections and minority communities as its main agenda. This party is a supporter of new economic policies but is also conscious that these policies should not have a bad effect on the poor and weaker sections. The Indian National Congress emerged as the single largest party in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, winning 145 seats. In 2009 also the government was formed under the leadership of Congress. In the general elections held in 2019, the United Progressive Alliance was led by the Congress, in which the alliance got 91 seats and the Congress 52 seats. Congress is currently playing the role of opposition.
Bahujan Samaj Party: Late. Formed in 1984 under the leadership of Kanshi Ram. Claims to represent and seek political power for the Bahujan Samaj which includes Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Adivasis, Backward Castes and religious minorities. The party draws inspiration from the thoughts and teachings of Sahu Maharaj, Mahatma Phule, Periyar Ramaswami Nayakar and Babasaheb Ambedkar. The main base of this party, most active on the issues of welfare and protection of the interests of the Dalits and weaker sections, is in Uttar Pradesh, but this party is strong enough in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Punjab also. With support from different parties on different occasions, it formed the government in Uttar Pradesh thrice. This party got around 5 per cent votes and 19 seats in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. In the general elections held in 2019, Bahujan Samaj Party got 10 seats.
Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI-M): Founded in 1964; Belief in Marxism-Leninism. Supporter of socialism, secularism and democracy and opposed to imperialism and communalism. This party considers democratic elections helpful and useful in achieving the goal of socio-economic justice in India. Very strong base in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura. Good hold among the poor, factory workers, agricultural laborers and intellectuals. This party is critical of the new economic policies allowing free movement of capital and goods in the country. Was in rule in West Bengal for 30 consecutive years. In the 2004 elections, it won nearly 6% of the vote and 43 seats in the Lok Sabha. Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI-M) got 3 seats in the general elections held in 2019.
Communist Party of India (CPI): Formed in 192 Marxism-Leninism, Secularism and Faith in Democracy. Anti-separatist and communal forces. The party sees parliamentary democracy as a tool to advance the interests of the working class, peasantry and the poor. Its support base shrank after the 1964 split (in which the CPI(M) broke away), but it still did well in Kerala, West Bengal, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. However, its support has gradually waned. In the 2004 elections, it got 1.4 percent of the vote and 10 seats in the Lok Sabha. In favor of bringing together all the Left parties to form a strong Left Front. The Communist Party of India (CPI) got 2 seats in the 2019 general elections.
Nationalist Congress Party: This party was formed in 1999 after the split in the Congress Party. Faith in democracy, Gandhian secularism, equity, social justice and federalism. This party wants to reserve key government posts only for citizens born in India. Apart from being the dominant force in Maharashtra, it is also powerful in Meghalaya, Manipur and Assam. In the general elections held in 2019, the Nationalist Congress Party got 5 seats.
Trinamool Congress: is an Indian national political party operating mainly in West Bengal. This party was born out of the dissolution of the Indian National Congress. The leader of this party is Mamata Banerjee. All India Trinamool Congress (TMC or Trinamool Congress) is a political party headquartered in West Bengal. Founded on 1 January 1988, this party is headed by Mamta Banerjee, who is the founder of this party and the current Chief Minister of West Bengal. Before the 2009 general election it was the sixth largest party in the Lok Sabha with 19 seats; After the 2019 general election, it is currently the fourth largest party in the Lok Sabha with 22 seats.
National People's Party: is a national political party of India whose influence is mainly in the state of Meghalaya. The party was formed by P. A. Sangma after he was expelled from the Nationalist Congress Party in July 2012.
Provincial Party/State Party/Parties
Those parties which have sufficient votes or seats in a state can be authorized as a state party by the Election Commission. Recognition as a state party in the respective state may give the party an option to reserve a particular election symbol.
A party may be recognized in one or more states. A party recognized in four states is automatically recognized as a national party. For state level recognition, a party registered with the Election Commission must satisfy one of the following conditions:
The party has to win at least 3% of the total seats or 3 seats in the Vidhan Sabha elections.
The party shall be allotted one or at least one or a part of each of the 25 seats in the Lok Sabha as may be determined in the State.
The party must have secured at least 6% of the valid votes polled in the Lok Sabha/Vidhan Sabha elections, and must have won at least one seat in the Lok Sabha and 2 seats in the Legislative Assembly.
If the party has not won any seat in the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha but if it has secured 8% of the valid votes polled in the Lok Sabha/Vidhan Sabha elections.
Apart from the eight national parties, all other major parties have been recognized by the Election Commission as 'Provincial Parties'. Usually they are called regional parties but it is not necessary that these parties are regional in their ideology or outlook. Some of these are All India Parties but they have got success only in some provinces. The Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal United and Rashtriya Janata Dal have political organizations at the national level and have units in several states. Parties like Biju Janata Dal, Sikkim Democratic Front and Mizo National Front are conscious of their regional identity.
The number and strength of provincial parties has increased in the last five decades. This has made the Indian Parliament even more endowed with diversity. Whern no single national party has a majority in the Lok Sabha. As a result the national parties have been forced to form alliances with the provincial parties. Since 1996, almost every provincial party had the opportunity to be part of one or another national-level coalition government. This has strengthened federalism and democracy in our country.
The English word for alliance is 'Coalition' which is derived from Latin language, which means to move or move together. 'Coalition' is also used in a political context, which means the grouping of different political parties to gain political power.
The mandate of the people was ruled by the 'Congress' for almost thirty years in the whole country. Due to the Emergency imposed by the Indira government, she and her party were rejected by the public. In such a situation, for the first time in 1977, the second party or the first coalition government came to power in India. But the alliance started with the states in 1967. Even in the present times, the coalition government in India is a political reality. In India, an alliance is usually formed between two or more parties that are completely separate or rival each other, which is made to run the government or administration and run power by dividing political positions among themselves.
Advantages of Coalition Government:
The politics of coalition in India has started due to disillusionment with Congress, establishment of democratic values and neglect of regional demands. Gradually, awareness among the general public and people has also given a new dimension to Indian politics. Records are also recorded in this state for being Chief Minister for more than 5 days to more than 16 years.
Today, not only is the election process conducted in a more efficient manner, but every voter is better aware of his vote value, his future and the results associated with it. Somewhere it is the result of coalition politics. Broadly speaking, the politics of coalition has brought important positive reforms in Indian politics such as –
Strengthening Democracy: People are raising issues of justice and democracy in terms of gender, caste, class and region.
Politics of Consent: Coalition politics gave birth to the politics of consent. This agreement has been beneficial for the current development of the country on many important issues. Among these issues, coordination and coordination towards economic policies has been the most important. Many parties jointly believe that new economic policies have been the main reason for bringing development in the country today than before.
Important role in bridging the social gap: While many regional parties came into existence through the politics of coalition, many national parties dug the roots of social problems that have been buried since time immemorial. BSP raised the issue of upliftment of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, other parties raised the issue of political and social claim of the backward castes. The issue of "reservation", which is playing an important role in solving this backwardness problem, is the result of this equation. Many parties made important issues like women's domestic violence, child rights, right to education a part of Indian politics.
Attention of the public on important issues as a result of coalition politics: Before the coalition era, only one party's issues dominated the national issue. But due to the alliance, now many important issues are not only brought before the nation but debate is also initiated on them. There have been such disputes over corruption, issues related to minorities or on many nuclear projects.
The increasing role and acceptance of provincial parties in the governance of the country: In the present context, now the distinction between provincial and national parties has reduced and many important issues have started emerging as national issues due to this.
Coalition politics made India more federal: Not only the rise and progress of regional parties have led to such works that strengthen the Indian Union, but now such disputes are rarely seen where the central government is unfair to the state governments. There is more pressure on the political parties involved in the coalition government to carry out the development works of their area. Because the people choose the next representative on the basis of the achievement of the government.
Weaknesses of Coalition Government
Weak Governments and Threat to Stability: The existence of a coalition government in India was taken as a negative position by successive change of governments. Atal Bihari Vajpayee's government lasted for 13 days in 1996, immediately after 1996 from June to April 1997, Deve Gowda's government lasted for a short period, then Gujral's government came and went for a short period and again NDA's 13-month government formed an alliance The biggest weakness of politics has been shown. Such equations reflect the "permanent existential crisis".
Abuse of Privilege of the Prime Minister: Selection of colleagues for the cabinet is considered to be the prerogative of the Prime Minister. But in the coalition government, this privilege of the Prime Minister is badly affected because the leaders of the regional parties decide who will lead their party in the cabinet and also what departments will be given to them. Many leaders already have the intention of which position they have to take, no matter how. Due to the compulsion of the coalition government, the Prime Minister has to obey them.
Differences in ideological ideals among different parties: The threat to the existence of a coalition government is often seen in the sense that a government consisting of several parties has to coordinate among many principles and avoid imbalances. For example, due to the ideology of parties related to Marx, many times industrial decisions had to be changed or completely abolished. Such decisions are applied not only on the change of domestic issues but in many situations on policies related to foreign countries and unions like America, European Union (representative of capitalism). Therefore, differences on ideals are an important challenge of coalition politics.
The constant compulsion to change policies: The challenge before the coalition government in India is how to build a consensus on any subject? Many foreign treaties were frequently affected by such an obligation. For example, at the time of NDA, all the discussions regarding the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement "Hyde Act" kept swinging at many levels in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.Such dire circumstances not only clearly showed the compulsions of the coalition government, but also raised questions about the current state of Indian politics in various controversies, debates and their rationale.
Challenges for Political Parties
Political parties are the most visible form of democracy, so it is natural that people blame political parties for the disturbances in the functioning of democracy. People all over the world are angry that political parties do not do their work properly. The same thing applies with our democracy. The outrage and criticism from the general public has focused on four aspects of the functioning of political parties. Political parties must face and overcome these challenges to remain effective instruments of democracy.
The first challenge is the absence of internal democracy within the party. It has become a trend all over the world that all the power is confined in the hands of one or a few leaders. The parties do not have an open list of members, nor do they have regular organizational meetings. They do not even have internal elections. They do not even share information with the workers. The general worker remains ignorant of the activities of the party. He neither has the power to influence the decisions by joining the leaders nor any other medium. As a result, the right to take all the decisions in the name of the party is taken away by the leaders of that party. Since only a few leaders have the real power, those who disagree with them find it difficult to survive in the party. Instead of loyalty to the principles and policies of the party, loyalty to the leader becomes more important.
The second challenge is related to the first challenge - this is the challenge of dynasty. Since most of the parties do not do their work in a transparent manner, there is very less scope for the common worker to become the leader and rise to the top. People who are leaders take unfair advantage of people close to them and even their own family members. In many parties, people of the same family always come to the top post. This is injustice to other members of the party. This is also not good for democracy as it leads to inexperienced and uninformed people in positions of power. This trend is visible more or less all over the world including some ancient democracies.
The third challenge is the increasing infiltration of money and criminal elements into parties (especially during elections). Since all the concerns of the parties are about winning the elections, they do not shy away from adopting any legitimate and illegitimate method for this. They only field candidates who have enough money or who can raise money. Companies and rich people who give more money to a party also influence the policies and decisions of that party. Sometimes parties support or take help of criminals who can win elections. Supporters of democracy around the world are concerned about the increasing role of rich people and big companies in democratic politics.
The fourth challenge is the state of choice between the parties. A meaningful choice means that there is a significant difference in the policies and programs of different parties. Ideological differences between parties have narrowed in recent years and this trend is visible across the world. As such, Britain now has a very small gap between the Labor Party and the Conservative Party. Both the parties agree on the basic issues. And the difference between them is simply the details of how policies are formulated and implemented. Even in our own country, there is very little difference between all the major parties on economic issues. There is no option available for those who want different policies. Many times people do not even have the option to choose a brand new leader because the same few leaders keep coming and going in every party.
Solutions to the challenges
To meet the above challenges, it is necessary that the political parties should be reformed. Following are the efforts and suggestions for reform of political parties and its leaders in the country:-
The constitution was amended to prevent legislators and MPs from defecting. This was done in view of the rapid increase in the defection of elected representatives for the sake of ministeriality or money. According to the new law, the MP or MLA who changes his party will also have to lose his seat. This new law has reduced defection, but it has made it even more difficult to raise any voice of protest in the party, whatever decision the party leadership takes, MPs and MLAs have to abide by it.
The Supreme Court has issued an order to reduce the influence of money and criminals. By this order it has been made mandatory for every contesting candidate to give details of his assets and criminal cases pending against him through an affidavit. With this new system, people have started getting a lot of concrete information about their candidates, but there is no system to check whether the information given by the candidate is correct or not. So far we cannot say with confidence whether the influence of the rich and criminals on politics has decreased since the establishment of this system.
The Election Commission has made it mandatory for all parties to conduct organizational elections and file income tax returns through an order. Parties have started doing the same, but usually this information is not filled out properly. It cannot be said right now that this has strengthened internal democracy among political parties.
Apart from these, many steps are often suggested for the reform of political parties:
Legislation should be made to streamline the internal working of political parties. All the parties should keep a list of their members, abide by their constitution, appoint an independent authority in case of dispute in the party and hold open elections for the highest positions – this system should be made mandatory.
Political parties must give tickets to women in a certain minimum proportion (about one third). Similarly, there should be reservation for women in the main posts of the party.
The government should bear the election expenses. The government should give money to the parties to contest elections. This help can also be in the form of petrol, paper, phone etc. or it can be given in cash in proportion to the votes polled in the last election.
Political parties have not yet accepted these suggestions. If these are accepted then it is possible that there may be some improvement from them. But we should be careful while talking about only legal solution for every political problem. Binding parties to rules excessively can be harmful. This will allow all parties to find a way to circumvent the law. Moreover, the political parties themselves will not agree to pass a law which they do not like.
There are two other ways in which political parties can be reformed. The first way is to put pressure on the political parties by the people. This can be done through writing letters, publicity and agitations. This work can be done through common citizens, pressure groups, agitations and media. If the parties feel that their support base will fall or their image will be tarnished by not making reforms, then they will start getting serious about it.
There is another way to improve. Those who wish to reform themselves join political parties. The quality of democracy is determined by the participation of the people in the democracy. If the common citizens themselves do not participate in politics and keep talking from outside, then reform is difficult. The solution to bad politics is more politics and better politics.
After a few years of independence, ignoring the mandate in India, governments started forming and falling due to manipulation of public representatives (MLAs and MPs). In 1967, Gaya Lal, an MLA from Haryana, changed his party thrice within 15 days and popularized the phrase 'Aaya Ram Gaya Ram' in politics. With the increasing incidents of defections, political instability also intensified. People's faith in the House started showing a decline. The need was felt to debar public representatives (MLAs and MPs) from participating in the elections and disqualify those who violated the mandate given to the political parties. Finally, in the year 1985, through the constitutional amendment, the Anti-Defection Act was brought.
In the year 1985, through the 52nd Constitutional Amendment, 'Anti-Defection Law' was passed in the country. The 52nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1985 provides for disqualification by MPs and MLAs on grounds of conversion from one political party to another. For this, changes have been made in four articles (Article 101, 102 and Article 190, 191) of the Constitution and a new schedule "Tenth Schedule" has been added to the Constitution. This act is commonly called 'anti-defection law'. Particularly Articles 102(2) and 191(2) are related to the Tenth Schedule, in which there is a provision to disqualify MPs and MLAs on the ground of defection in the greed of political gain and office. The 10th Schedule of the Constitution of India defines the provisions of 'what is defection' and disqualification of MPs and MLAs who have defected.
Main provisions of anti-defection law:
The Parliament of India unanimously passed the 52nd Constitutional Amendment Act (1985) to prohibit defection. The following provisions have been made in this Act:
Membership of a Member of Parliament/Assembly will be terminated in the following circumstances (Disqualification):
An elected member voluntarily renounces the membership of the political party from which he has been elected.
If he votes in that House contrary to the instructions of his political party or absents himself from voting and has not received clemency from the political party within 15 days.
If a nominated member joins any political party after the expiry of 6 months from the date of taking oath.
If an independent elected member joins any political party.
Some such special circumstances have been mentioned in the law, in which disqualification cannot be done even on defection:
The dissolution of any political party will not result in termination of membership. A split in the party is considered when one-third (1/3) of the members together form a new party in the House.
Even in the event of merger, defection will not be considered if at least two-thirds (2/3) of the members of any party approve it. If any of its members wants to get out of the merger, then the anti-defection law will not apply to them.
The Speaker of the House shall have the final decision on any question raised on defection and no court shall have the right to interfere therein.
If a member is elected as Speaker or Speaker, he can resign from his party and rejoin the party when he leaves office. He will not be disqualified in such case.
If a party terminates the party membership of a member/is expelled, then his membership of the House will not be terminated.
The following changes have been made in the Anti-Defection Act 1985 under the 91st Constitutional Amendment, 2003;
The size of the Council of Ministers shall not exceed 15 percent of the strength of the House at the Center and in the larger States Parliament. (Article-75)
The size of the Council of Ministers in large states shall not exceed 15 percent of the strength of the House. But in smaller states the minimum number of council of ministers should not be less than 12. (Article-164)
Where the size of the Council of Ministers at the time of the enactment of the 91st Constitutional Amendment Act, 2003 is more than 15 per cent, the size of the Council of Ministers shall be reduced to 15 per cent within 6 months of the coming into force of this Act.
The one-third provision of the 52nd Constitutional Amendment of 1985 has been removed by the 91st Constitutional Amendment, 2003 Act. Now the division of one-third members (1/3) will not be recognized. This figure was reduced to two thirds (2/3).
The defecting member cannot get any kind of government and office of profit.
To gain membership of the House, it is necessary to win re-election.
Power to disqualify public representative / Right of Speaker
All questions relating to disqualification arising out of defection are decided by the Speaker of the House of which this matter is concerned. Initially, according to this law, the decision of the Speaker was final and could not be questioned in any court of law. But in Kihoto Holohan v. Jachilhu case (1993) the Supreme Court declared this provision unconstitutional and the judiciary held that judicial review can be done to examine the errors in the decision taken by the Speaker of the Assembly under the Anti-Defection Act. .
The Speaker of the House is associated with a party, so it was very likely that the Speaker of the House disqualifies a member of another political party or does not disqualify any member of his own party in the interest of the party. Coming under the purview of judicial review, a lot of improvement can be seen in this.
If a complaint arising out of defection is received in respect of any member belonging to the party of the Speaker of the House, any other member elected by the House has the right to take a decision in this regard.
Judicial review can be done in case the Speaker's decision is found to be malicious, malafide, against the constitutional mandate and natural justice. The Supreme Court said that disqualification of a member by the Speaker is not part of the procedure of the House. Rather it is a quasi-judicial matter. So the judiciary will review it. Thereafter, there is a judicial review of the disqualification of the members.
Advantages / sides of the anti-defection law
Anti-defection law has played an important role in providing stability to the government. Before 1985, it was seen many times that people's representatives used to leave the ruling party and join any other party for their benefit and form another new government, due to which there was a possibility of the government falling soon. In such a situation, the most impact was on the welfare schemes being made for the common people. The anti-defection law has prompted the ruling political party to focus on other development-related issues rather than the stability of its power. More concentration on governance is possible.
The provisions of the anti-defection law have also helped in curbing opportunistic politics caused by greed for money or position and in controlling additional expenditure due to untimely elections.
Defection law has increased the influence of political parties. Along with this, it promotes the discipline of the political party.
Due to the anti-defection law, it helps in reducing corruption at the political level.
Anti-defection law allows political parties to regroup in a democratic manner in the event of merger or split in a party.
Criticism / opposition to the anti-defection law
According to the Constitution, MPs or MLAs can freely express their views in the House. The anti-defection law was brought for stability in the government but because of the anti-defection law, views across the party line are not heard. Due to this, inter-party democracy is affected and the freedom of expression of the members of the party is endangered.
This law promotes the system of rule of parties i.e. 'Party Raj', not of the people. The anti-defection law obliges the members to implement the ideas and actions of the political party even if the views of the members differ on it.
In many mature democracies of the world, there is no such system as anti-defection law. For example, in countries like England, Australia, America etc., even if the people's representatives vote against their parties or vote outside the party line, even then their membership is not in danger.
This law prevents MLAs or MPs from taking decisions in the House during the voting according to their discretion or the interests of their voters. Many times people's representatives are not able to express their opinion according to the people and circumstances of their area because of this law because their party's opinion may be different from that.
It prohibited small-scale defection but legalized large-scale defection.
It does not provide for his expulsion by a public representative for his activities done outside the legislature.
Discrimination between independents and nominated members is irrational. If the nominated member takes the membership of any political party after 6 months of taking oath of his house, then his membership terminates. If an independent member holds membership of a political party after winning the election, then his membership terminates.
Voting behavior is the attitude in which a person or group of persons vote at the time of voting. Voting behavior is the study area concerned with how people vote in public elections and also the factors that influence them.
Plano & Riggs defines voting behavior as behavior that clearly reflects the voter's choices, preferences, ideologies, concerns, agreements and programs that are associated with a variety of issues and They are related to questions related to society and nation.
Features of Voting Behavior
Voting behavior is helpful in understanding the process of political expression of the voter. Either a charismatic image factor, either on the basis of religion, or in the name of caste, or for any other reason, has led to the manifestation of the political expression of the elect.
It helps in examining the perception of democracy among the upper sections of the society as well as the general public. Many people go to cast their vote with a sense of right or responsibility, but while some do not vote or suppress NOTA, there can be many reasons for this, such as dislike of the candidate, displeasure with the government, thinking that my vote or What will happen if you don't put it? And so on.
It also throws light on the extent to which electoral politics is connected or disconnected from the past. We notice every time that there is a central issue around which electoral politics revolves. Sometimes elections are fought on poverty, sometimes on employment and sometimes in the name of development. Sometimes on the past record of political parties, sometimes on the performance of the present.
It helps to measure modernity or antiquity in the context of political development and refers to the process of decision making.
Factors Influencing and Determining Voting Behavior
The cultural structure of Indian society is full of diversities. As a result there are many factors influencing voting behavior in India. Its main factors are as follows-
Caste: Caste is an important factor influencing the behavior of voters. Despite the modernity in the society, caste still acts as an important factor in voting. Even today, political parties always keep the caste factor in mind while making their election strategy. Sometimes caste affects politics and sometimes politics affects caste.
Religion: Religion is another important factor in India which influences the voting behavior. While caste can show its influence in a small part, religion shows its influence in a large part. Because sometimes due to inter-caste alliances, the caste side gets a little weak but the religious side starts showing its color. Political parties indulge in communal propaganda and exploit the religious sentiments of the voters. Religion has also been politicized due to the existence of many communal parties. India being a secular nation, no party ignores the influence of religion in electoral politics.
Language: Linguistic considerations can greatly influence the voting behavior of people. The anti-Hindi movements of South India have been the main subjects of politics. After independence, the first state of India was also formed on the basis of language. During elections, political parties influence the decisions of the people by raising their linguistic sentiments.
Money: Money cannot be overlooked while explaining voting behaviour. Crores of rupees are spent in spite of imposing limits on election expenses. The voter wants money or liquor or any other thing in exchange for his vote. But it does not work every time. The day comes by casting vote for someone else.
Region: Regionalism and sub-regionalism also have an important role in voting behavior. The feelings of regionalism have led to the rise of regional parties in many states. Such regional parties appeal to voters to vote on the basis of regional identities and sentiments. Although they do not win many seats, but they establish their dominance in a particular area and sometimes give air to separatism.
Personality: The charismatic personality of a leader of a party also influences the voting behaviour. For example, the high image of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi influenced the voters to vote in favor of their parties or the parties supported by them. Similarly at the state level also the charismatic personality of the regional party leader has been an important factor in popular support in elections. Sometimes it also generates an electoral wave. An electoral wave is a stage in which a tendency begins to form among voters in one direction, which is in favor of a national party or its leader. It is based on a single issue or on several issues. Like Modi wave, Kejriwal wave in Delhi elections etc.
Anti-incumbency factor: Anti-incumbency simply means dissatisfaction with the performance of the ruling party. This dissatisfaction arises due to many reasons, such as being in power for many terms, not being able to fulfill the promised promises, some kind of immoral stain on the ruling party etc. For example Congress party's defeat in 1977, BJP's defeat in 2018 Chhattisgarh assembly election, BJP's victory in 2014 etc.
Ideology: The ideology nurtured by a political party also influences the voter's decision. Some people are committed to certain ideologies in the society, such as communism, capitalism, democracy, secularism, patriotism and decentralization etc. Such people vote for candidates of only those parties which match their ideology.
Other factors: Apart from some of the major factors presented above, there are also some other minor factors which determine the voting behavior of the Indian voter. For example, some political events that happened before the election, war, killing of a leader, notoriety of corruption etc. A change in the behavior of voters was seen from the Balakot air strikes before the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
The economic conditions at the time of election, such as inflation, food shortage, unemployment etc. also suddenly change the mood of the voter.
Emotional connection also has a role in determining voting behaviour. Those who identify themselves with a party, they will vote for that party in spite of lakhs of shortcomings and merits.
In addition, the role of the media, the role of the family, personal interests, etc. are also factors that influence voting behaviour.
Role of media in election and voting behavior
Dissemination of information:- Election announcement, nomination, investigation, election campaign, security arrangements, information about when, where and how elections, counting of votes and declaration of results, information related to candidates' educational and economic status and their criminal background etc. Publicity is needed at the level and the media does this work very easily. Even the last minute changes, polling events, violation of model code of conduct, violation of electoral spending limit, any accident or disturbance of any kind, etc. are not only reported to the general public, but the Election Commission also gets information from the media. .
Monitoring the implementation of the Model Code of Conduct and other laws:- They keep an eye on the political parties and their candidates and report promptly on any kind of unethical activities and violation of applicable rules and regulations. The Election Commission takes cognizance of these media violation reports in the same manner as any formal complaints.
However, the media itself has to follow some important rules and regulations and does its work accordingly. For example, under Section 126A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the media cannot broadcast the exit polls and results before the commencement of the first phase of elections and half an hour after the conclusion of the last election.
Role of Government Media:- Election Commission provides free broadcasting time to recognized national and state level parties through Prasar Bharati so that elections can be fought on equal basis in the matter of campaigning. Apart from this, Prasar Bharati also plays an important role in spreading voter awareness.
Ensuring Voter Education and Participation: - Many voters have many election related problems like adding name in voter list, identity card, polling station, use of EVM etc. Although the Election Commission itself conducts awareness campaigns related to all these through different mediums on a large scale, but since the reach of the media is very wide, it is able to make a very large section aware at once.
Model code of conduct
Election Commission of India prepares election related guidelines for all political parties and candidates to conduct fair and peaceful elections. These rules are also called model code of conduct. In the model code of conduct, there are clear guidelines for political parties, candidates, media and officials that what they have to do and what they have not to do after the election code of conduct comes into force. The Model Code of Conduct comes into force with the announcement of the date of elections by the Election Commission.
Some of the common ethics for all political parties and candidates are as follows;
No political party or candidate can seek votes on the basis of caste and religion. That is why temples, mosques, churches and other places of worship will not be used for election campaign.
No political party or candidate shall indulge in any such activity which creates an atmosphere of hatred and tension among the people of different castes, religions.
Political parties and candidates will have the right to criticize the policies and programs of their opposition parties, but there will be no freedom to comment on the personal life or family of any candidate.
Threatening, bribing voters, campaigning within a radius of 100 meters from the polling stations, holding public meetings within 48 hours of the end of polling and arranging vehicles for transporting and transporting voters to cast their votes. etc. is prohibited.
No one's house, land, wall etc. shall be used by any political party or candidate; for erecting banners, installing loudspeakers without the approval of the owner of the property.
No political party or candidate will be allowed to do things like obstructing the procession of the opposition party, distributing their papers in their meeting and closing the meeting.
Before organizing the meeting at any place, the political party or candidate will have to take permission from the police or the concerned officer of that area so that traffic and other necessary arrangements can be made.
If any party or candidate is going to organize the procession, then what will be its route, at what time the procession will start and at which place, for how long, it will have to be given to the administration, and there will be no change in it.
The political party or candidate shall ensure that the slip given to the voters on the day of polling shall be on plain paper and shall not contain the name and party symbol of any party or candidate.
Liquor etc. should not be distributed to voters on the day of polling and 24 hours before it.
The ministers of the ruling party will not use government machinery like government employees, vehicles, government buildings for elections during election tours.
Public places, helipads and airplanes will not be monopolized by the ruling party, candidates of other parties will also be able to use them with the same conditions as the ruling party is doing.
No advertisement will be issued on government expenditure through newspapers and mass media and during elections the official mass media will not be used to count the achievements of the government.
Ministers and other officials cannot make any payment or grant from the discretionary fund after the date of the election has been announced.
When the election date is announced by the Election Commission, the ministers and officers cannot do the following:
a. Cannot announce any kind of financial grant or any new scheme.
b. Cannot announce any kind of financial grant or promise.
c. Can't make any new announcements like electricity, water, roads, schools and hospitals.
d. Can not make any ad hoc appointment in the government or any department.
The test of any electoral system is that it can ensure a free and fair election process. If we want to make democracy a ground reality, it is imperative that the electoral system is fair and transparent. The electoral system should be such that the aspirations of the voters can be expressed fairly in the election results.
Pressure groups are associations or organizations of people with common interests. They aim to ensure more facilities for their members through their concerted efforts. They influence the legislature, executive and other policy makers and decision makers to make laws and get decisions in their favor.
Political parties in India are not powerful in terms of theory and organization. Therefore, pressure groups play an important role in the political system of India. The parliamentary system of government assumes that the executive is controlled by the legislature, so pressure groups generally try to influence the executive by putting pressure on it. Here by executive we mean the political and permanent executive.
Pressure groups are an important dimension of the study of politics in democratic countries, as the fundamental objective of each pressure group is to influence the government on a specific public policy issue or problem. Pressure groups do not participate in elections i.e. their members do not contest elections. Pressure groups try to influence the government informally on a public issue in which their interests are vested. In all democratic systems there is generally freedom to form associations. It is necessary so that through collective action the common interests of the people can be identified and those interests can be promoted. This is the root cause of the establishment of pressure groups. Therefore, pressure groups play a very important role in interest determination and expression of interest.
Pressure groups also act as mediators between the public and the government. They strike a balance between the interests of the individual and the interests of the nation. Generally the interests of individuals are not organized. Pressure groups contribute in ensuring the interests of the people. Therefore, the work of organization and expression of those interests is done by pressure groups. They take the difficulties and grievances of the people to the government.
Interests are also determined by the reactions of the people. Some of the topics on which people can react sharply include GATT, nuclear test, reservation policy, environmental issues, price increase, regional imbalance, rural development program etc.
Types of pressure groups
There is basically no difference in the factors of establishment of different pressure groups in different countries and the methods adopted by them. There are some general factors and methods that generally apply to all pressure groups. The origin of pressure groups occurs under different circumstances. Their interests may be related to any particular dimension, economic, social and political. The purpose of pressure groups is to express, protect or promote certain special interests.
Pressure groups can be broadly classified into the following categories:
caste organization and
Pressure groups and Political parties
Political parties and pressure groups have an important place in the structure of every political system. Political parties and pressure groups are both such institutions which are not provided in the constitution. They play an important role in the political process. Sometimes pressure groups may even turn into political parties later on. Shiv Sena was a pressure group in Maharashtra, which has now become a political party. Similarly the Karnataka State Union was also a pressure group earlier. After some time it took the form of a political party.
Certain pressure groups can be helpful in the establishment of political parties. A cultural and religious organization named 'Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh' made a significant contribution in the establishment of Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1951. The Jana Sangh later proved to be the pioneer of the establishment of the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1980. There are also student organizations of many Indian political parties, such as 'Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (A.B.V.P.) Students Federation of India (SFI), All India Students Federation (AISF) and National Students Union of India (NSUI) etc. All these are pressure groups affiliated to one or the other political party. There are pressure groups within some political parties as well. Before independence, the Seva Dal was a pressure group of the Congress Party. Even after independence, the Seva Dal remained a pressure group, but now it is not as effective as it was earlier.
Political parties are often large political organizations, whereas pressure groups are small in size. The main objective of political parties is to run the government by being in power, whereas the purpose of pressure groups is to put pressure on the government to promote their interests. But political parties express the collective interests of different classes. That is why pressure groups are called non-political groups. Political parties field their candidates in elections. Runs election campaigns, tries to get maximum seats in the legislature and if possible forms the government. Pressure groups themselves do none of these functions directly.
Each political party has its own distinct ideology that defines its identity. Pressure groups do not require any ideology. Sometimes they are compelled to come under the influence of some ideology.