Elections in India (Types)
After the British Government granted freedom to the Indians on the 15th of August 1947, the world saw the birth of a new nation. This democratic nation fought the odds, and soon emerged as one of the formidable powers on the international platform. Since the inception of the freedom struggle, the then political leaders were confident about building a nation that stood on the foundation of democracy. With the final drafting of the Indian Constitution, a permanent seal was put on the nation of the country. It had a direct impact on the government and the government selection process.
In a Democratic nation, the government needs to be “of the people, by the people and for the people.” So, one can safely opine that the common people of the country, irrespective of their caste, sex, religion and socio-economic status, will play a crucial role in the formation of the Indian government. But is it easy to take the opinion of so many people into account and then form the government. For the people, running the country, the solution was a simple plebiscite. Election is the process, where the common people in a democratic nation get the chance to vote in favor of their preferred political candidates, and form their own government. The elected people will only be representatives of the common people, and will run the country to pave the path for maximum progress of all sections of the people.
Importance of an election in a democratic nation like India
An election or plebiscite forms the bedrock of democratically chosen government. The core concept of the format is based on the idea of adult suffrage. According to the Constitution of India, all legal indian citizens, who have attained the age of 18 years will be considered as adults. These people will be allowed to take part in the elections and cast their vote in the favor of the political party. With the timely organization of elections, the people get a chance to highlight their preference. The power to topple one political party from the throne and placing another party in its place is in the hands of the commoners. Election is the best way to voice the opinion of the people. Apart from this, there are some other benefits of election as well:
- Ensuring a new leadership – The party that wins the Lok Sabha Election will get the opportunity to form the new government in the central. The party will select an efficient and experienced candidate as their leader who will become the Prime Minister of the country. The PM of the nation will act as the leader and representative of India. Election process comes in handy for the selection of the ultimate leader of the country.
- Changing former leadership – Not all Prime Ministers are cut out to carry out the responsibilities of the post. In that case, the election is the best way to ensure a change in the national leadership, in a peaceful and fair way.
- Participation in the political machinery – The political parties have their own laws and guidelines. Even if the party is in power, it cannot take arbitrary actions, which are not supported by the Constitution of India. But the general people don’t have any part to play in the Indian political system. The election is the only opportunity they can get to be associated with the selection of the government.
- Scope for self-correction – It is very hard for the common people to predict whether the party they support will be able to do good things for the country or not. If the leader of the winning political party fails to keep the promises, then the common people can rectify their mistake. They can vote for another, more competent political party, and hope that the leader will not make the same mistakes as the previous country or state leader. Thus, one can say that election process offers a chance to the common people to rectify their wrong political choices.
- Transparency in the government formation – Many suggest that the Indian political system is ridden with corruption. The political leaders are only interested in fulfilling their shellfish interests. Election is the best way to ensure a transparency in the political system. If the political people are aware of the flawed background of a certain politician, then they can choose not to support the candidate in the upcoming elections.
Types of elections in India
The common people, living within the borders of India get the opportunity to witness four separate types of elections – General or Lok Sabha Elections, State Assembly Elections, Upper House or Rajya Sabha Elections and Local Body Elections.
- General or Lok Sabha Elections – Each constituency in the country has an elected candidates. These candidates get another chance to hold on to the constituency by being a part of the future Lok Sabha election. The election determines the winning political party in the House of the People. Each and every citizen of India, who falls under the adult category, will be able to take part in this election, by voting for the contesting candidates in their respective constituencies. Every political candidate, who manages to win the support of the commoners in the constituency, will be hence forth called Members of Parliament or MP. These MPs will remain in the house for tenure of five years, after which, another general election will be organized. If the President or the Council takes the decision to dissolve the house earlier, then the MPs will no longer hold their seats. A total of 543 members constitute the Lower House. If any political party manages to get 272 seats, then it will have the power to form a central government on its own. In case this magic figure is not attained by any single party, the India gets an alliance government. The leader of the party that holds the majority of the MP seats will become the PM.
- State Assembly Elections – People, who are associated with the State Legislative Assembly, also hold their seats if they win the election. These elections will take place in the respective constituencies. Every Indian and adult citizen, living in the area will be able to exercise the power to vote. If any contenting member successfully gets the support of the people, then he/she will become a MLA or Member of Legislative Assembly. Only the Governor of the state has the power to dissolve the house. If not, then the MLAs will continue to serve in the office for five consecutive years. The number of MLA seats is not same for every Indian state. The number will depend on the population of that particular state. The head of the political party that forms the state government will take on the duties of the Chief Minister of the state.
- Upper House or Rajya Sabha Election – The Rajya Sabha is also known as the Upper House of the Council. The election of the Rajya Sabha does not involve the common people of the nation directly. The winning candidates of Lok Sabha elections will take a direct part in the election of the members of the Upper house. Unlike the Lok Sabha and State Assembly, the winning candidates of the Upper House will remain in post for six consecutive years. But 1/3 of the total members of the upper house will be replaced with new candidates after the completion of two years. Bills and acts, which are passed in the Lok Sabha will be sent to this Upper House for final review and consideration.
- Local Body Election – As the name suggests, these elections take place in smaller areas. It is mainly a local affair and the election is held to elect a member for filling the vacant seat in the local administrative system. Municipality, Corporation and Panchayat elections fall in this category. The residents of the particular area will be able to exercise their right to vote.
The Election of Commission of India
The Constitution of India has taken necessary steps to ensure that all election processes take place in proper manner. To discharge these duties, the Constitution highlights the importance of the creation of Election Commission of India. It is the responsibility of the Election Commission to see that all rules and regulations, laid down in the Constitution, are properly followed. The Commission authorizes the nomination papers of the candidates, and runs background checks. It is the duty of the Election Commission to nullify the candidature if the nominee is convicted criminal or of unsound mind. Apart from taking necessary precautions, the task of scheduling the election in the different state, setting the dates, and dispatching central force to ensure safety of the voters are also entrusted to the commission. Once the election is over, the selected members of the commission will complete the vote counting process and the result will be announced by the authority. The central Chief Election Commission is headed by Sunil Arora.
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