Class 9 Social Science Electoral Politics Exam Notes. Please refer to the examination notes which you can use for preparing and revising for exams. These notes will help you to revise the concepts quickly and get good marks.
Why Democratic Elections?
Importance of Elections or why do we need elections ? Elections are exceptionally important in a democracy because of the following reasons :
1.All the citizens in a modern democracy cannot run the administration. Only their representatives can do it for them. In order to choose such representatives, the elections are a must.
2.Through elections alone the people can get rid of their cruel and unpopular government and in its place they can elect a new popular government.
3.It is through elections alone that an effective control can be maintained on the executive.
4.Without the elections a democratic government cannot be set up. It has been rightly said, “No elections no democracy.”
Why do Modern Democracies have Representative Governments ?
The modern democracies have representative governments due to the following reasons :
1.Present states are very big in size. They are not limited to one city. They are spread over vast areas which makes it quite impossible for all the residents to directly take part in the administration of their state.
2.The population of modern states is not confined to a few thousands. Rather it runs into several lakhs and crores, so the modern democracies are indirect or representative.
What Makes an Election Democratic ?
There are certain conditions which make an election democratic :
1.No person with dubious record should be allowed to contest the elections.
2.There should be more than one party to contest an election otherwise it will be a mere farce.
3.Elections must be held regularly after every few years.
4.Elections should be concluded in a free and fair manner and people should have full freedom to vote for any candidate they like.
Political Competition : Its Merits and Demerits. There is no denying the fact that political competition is essential in elections. It is pointed out that if there is no competition, there is no point in having elections. This competition allows the voters to judge for themselves which party would serve them better. Without this competition, no candidate shall ever feel himself responsible to his voters because he had not come to ask for their votes.
But political competition has many defects which must be removed to make political competition a more viable system.
1.It creates factionalism and creates a sense of disunity.
2.Political parties and candidates often level allegations against each other.
3. They often make false promises and try to deceive the public.
4. Afraid of dirty attacks, many good people do not like to contest elections.
Inspite of all the defects in political competition, the Constitution makers preferred this out of necessity. Regular electoral competition provides an incentive to political parties and leaders. They fully know they stand the chance of winning the elections if they serve and satisfy their voters. But if they fail in this task will not be able to win the next elections. Political competition may cause some ugliness and divisions yet ultimately it puts pressure on the political parties and their leaders to serve the people for their own survival.
→SYSTEM OF ELECTIONS IN INDIA
♦ Demarcation of Electoral : In case of any election, Municipal State or Lok Sabha elections, the concerned area is divided into many constituencies. For Lok Sabha, the whole country is divided into 543 constituencies. The number of Lok Sabha seats/constituencies has been fixed for each state according to its population. As far as Delhi is concerned, it is divided into seven Lok Sabha constituencies.
→Voter’s Lists : After the demarcation of constituencies, the next step is to see that the voters’ list is prepared. For this, the Electoral Roll is prepared. All residents above the age of 18 are included in this list. Only insane persons or those who have criminal record are omitted from this list.
→Announcement of Election Dates : The election process begins as soon as the dates for the elections are announced. The election Commission announces the dates for each and every election.
→ Selection of Candidates : Then different political parties select their candidates keeping in mind their prospect of winning the elections. Sometimes, political parties also help certain independent candidates where they have not fielded their own candidates. Generally candidates fielded by political parties stand good chance of their success as compared to independent candidates.
→Filing the Nomination Papers, their Scrutiny, Withdrawal of Nomination by the Candidates and
Publication of Final List : Then different candidates fill their nomination papers in the electron office before the last date meant for the same. Then after scrutiny, their nomination papers are accepted or rejected. Then the candidates, whose nomination papers are accepted, are given a chance to withdraw their names. Then the final list is prepared and ballot papers are printed.
→Allotment of Symbols : National parties have their permanent symbols but other parties and independent candidates are also allotted symbols so that even the ordinary voter can recognize the different parties and candidates very easily.
→Issuing of Election Manifestos : Then the different parties print their election manifestos so that the voters may easily know their programmes and policies very closely.
→Campaigning : Then begins the campaigning for different candidates which includes postering, meetings, speeches, processions and house to house canvassing. This thing goes on for many days and only stops 48 hours before the polling time.
→Voting, Counting of Votes and Declaration of Results : Then on the specific day, the voting is held on the basis of the secret ballot. After the voting is over, the ballot boxes are sealed and taken to the counting centres. There the votes are counted and soon after the result is declared.
→Filling of Election Petition : If any candidate is not satisfied with the election results, he can go to the court of law to redress his complaint.
→ UNIVERSAL ADULT FRANCHISE AND RATIONALE BEHIND IT
Right to express one’s choice by vote is called franchise. When the right to vote or franchise is given to every adult in a state, it is called the Universal Adult Franchise.
Rational behind the Universal Adult Franchise or Merits of the Universal Adult Franchise. There are strong grounds or rationale behind the Universal Adult Franchise :
1. It is based on Political Equality : One person-one vote is now the accepted principle in all democratic countries. This principle is based on political equality. Everybody, whether he is rich or poor, young or old, black or white, man or woman, learned or illiterate, should have equal voice in a democratic country.
2. It establishes a True Democratic Government : If by democracy, we mean the government of the people, then every citizen must have the right to vote. Thus this system of the Universal Adult Franchise establishes a true democratic government.
3. It makes the Government responsible to All : Since Government affects all, it must be responsible to all. This is only possible if the right to vote is given to all are given a say in choosing the government of the country.
→ EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS
In some countries, educational qualification is quite necessary for the voters and the candidates. They hold the view that when some kind of qualification is quite necessary for holding any job, it should also be there for the voters especially the candidates who would hold such an important post of responsibility. But many people, especially those of the developing countries, do not agree with the above view because of the following reasons :
1. The imperialistic countries intentionally ignored to impart education to their subject people due to lack of finances and other administrative reasons. As a result of which a large majority of the people remained illiterate. As they equally fought for the independence of their country along with other
educated people, they have equal right to participate in the political set-up of their country.
2. Secondly, it is argued that educational qualifications are not relevant to all kinds of jobs. A cricket player should be judged by his ability to play cricket and not by his qualification.
3. The voters are the best judge to choose the educated candidate or an experienced man who has the ability to understand people’s concerns, problems etc.
4. It is also argued that if a graduate degree (B.A, B.Sc., B.Com.) is made compulsory for candidates, more than 90 percent of the voters would become ineligible for contesting an election. Would that be democratic ?
→ TECHNIQUES AND METHODS ADOPED IN ELECTION
A party usually adopts the following techniques or methods in elections to the Lok sabha or the Vidhan Sabha.
1. Postering : A few days before the actual election day, the election campaign begins with postering. These posters being the photographs of the national leaders of the party concerned appear on the walls of the main bazars and the streets.
2. Meetings : Then the candidates hold various party meeting and corner meeting to get the support of the party workers as well as the local social, religious and cultural bodies.'
3. Speeches : Then various public meetings are held at different places of the constituency to get support of the common masses. In these meeting various speeches are delivered by the local as well as national leaders. Much light is thrown in these meetings on the policies and programmes of the party to which the candidate belongs.
4. Processions : Often long processions are taken out in the constituency from one corner to the other. In these processions large number of trucks, cars, tempoes, tongas, rickshaws, motor-cycles, scooters, cycles, etc. are used to carry the processionists who shout slogans in favour of the their candidate, or sometimes against the other candidates at their loudest voice.
5. House to House Canvassing : Then house to house canvassing is undertaken by the candidate and his partymen to get the support and sympathies of the general public. The pamphlets and respective manifestoes are freely distributed among the people to get their vote.
→ ARE THE ELECTIONS EXPENSIVE ?
Some people hold the view that elections are a great burden on the government, political parties and the candidates which a developing country like Indian cannot afford. There is some truth in this statement. According to an estimate about Rs. 3,000 crores were spent in the Lok Sabha Elections in 2004 by the government, political parties and by different candidates.
But such an amount is worth spending on the elections because if there are no elections, there will be no democracy. One government will continue in the absence of elections which can become dictator and corrupt.
If we go deep, we come to know that only Rs. 50 were spent on one voter is Rs. 3000 crore are divided by the total number of voters for all the Lok Sabha seats. This is a small amount as compared to the liberties that the people enjoy in a democracy.
Seen from another angle, Rs 3000 crore is less than the cost of a single nuclear submarine for which we have to pay Rs. 3, 166 crores.
♦ Importance of Secret Ballot :
In modern democracies, a voter casts his vote through secret ballot. Following are the main reasons given for adopting the system of the secret ballot :
1. In a secret ballot, the voters can express their choice freely and without any fear.
2. The voter is free from pulls and pressures under the secret ballot system.
3. It brings the desired changes but without any ill-feeling and wrongful attitude.
♦ Election Manifesto and its Use :
The pamphlet that tells us about the programme, policies and aims of a political party is called the
Election Manifesto. It has the following benefits :
1. The people know it for certain as to what the party will do if it comes out successful at the polls.
2. Manifestoes bring forth the differences between various political parties.
3. Even when the elections are over, the people can put pressure on the successful party to act according to its Manifesto.
Symbols and their importance : All the major or national political parties have been allotted wellknown and permanent symbols by the Election Commission. As for example, the political symbol allotted to Congress is hand (Palm); a wheel or chakra to the Janta Dal; a lotus to the Bharatiya Janta Party; a farmer digging with a Mamti within a wheel to the Janta Party; the sickle and star to the C.P.I.(M) and the sickle and the leaf of paddy to the C.P.I. Recently (in 1997) the Bahujan Samaj Party has also been recognized as a national party and it has been allotted the symbol of an elephant.
♦ Why symbols are allotted to the political parties :
1. Firstly, even an ordinary and an illiterate man can easily recognize the party by its symbol.
2. The symbols help the political parties to easily arrange their processions and meetings and carry on their propaganda from street .
3. If there are more than one candidates of the same name in the same constituency, the symbols prove all the more useful. Only by recognizing the symbols one can easily cast his vote.
→ WHAT MAKES INDIAN ELECTIONS DEMOCRATIC ?
There is no denying the fact that some people indulge in unfair practices during election in India. The ruling party misuses the government facilities. Rich candidates use money and openly distribute clothes and even wine among the people, especially the poor people to buy their votes. Some unsocial elements try to capture booths and cast votes on behalf of the illiterate rural people . Some unsocial elements try to capture booths and cast votes on behalf of the illiterate rural people. Some influential political parties manage to include false names in the voters list. Many steps have been taken to ensure free and fair elections in India.
→INDEPENDENT ELECTION COMMISSION
Election in a democratic set-up plays a very important role hence there is a great necessity of an independent body to hold free and fair elections. This body is called the Election Commission.
♦ Functions of the Election Commission of India : The Election Commission of India has to perform so many functions in order to hold free and fair elections. Election system in India has the following characteristics or Election Commission in India does the following important duties or jobs :
1. Preparation of Electoral Rolls : First of all, Electoral Rolls are prepared wherein the name, father’s name, age and sex of the voters are clearly mentioned.
2. Delimitation of Constituencies : Then the whole area, where elections are to be held, is divided into so many clear-cut constituencies so that elections are held in an organized way.
3. Fixing the Election Dates : Then the election date is announced so that voters could easily cast their votes on that particular date.
4. Scrutiny of Nomination Papers : Then the candidates, willing for contesting the elections, have to file their nominations upto a particular date. Then the Election Commission scrutinizes their papers and accepts or rejects the nomination papers as the case may be.
5. Allotment of Election Symbols : Then the political parties of national standing are allotted permanent election symbols. These symbols help even the ordinary man to understand the different parties instantly.
6. Printing of Ballot Papers : It is also the duty of the Election Commission to print the ballot-papers well in time.
7. Holding of free and fair Elections and Declaration of Results : Then on the fixed date, the elections are conducted. It is the duty of the Election Commission to set up Election Booths, to appoint the Presiding and the Polling Officers, to count the votes and to declare the results.
8. Checking Undue Interference of the Party-in-Power : Another important duty of the Election Commission is to see that the party in power does in no way take an advantage over other parties or individuals.
♦ Model Code of Conduct : The different political parties have agreed to follows certain principles during an Election Campaign. Such principles, as a whole, are known as Model Code of Conduct. Some of the principles of the Model Code of Conduct are the following :
1. No place of worship shall be used for election propaganda.
2. Criticism of the opponents should be limited to their policies and programmes and in no way stoop down to personal attacks and counter-attacks.
3. Government should not be used by any Minister and the Ruling Party.
4. No announcement of reforms or favours shall be announced after the elections have been announced.
♦ Ensuring Popular Participation :
Another way to ensure the quality of election process is to ensure that more and more people take part in the elections. The following measures have been taken to ensure the larger participation of the people in the elections.
1. Every step is being taken so that the voters are able to cast their votes according to their preferences.
2. Every effort is being made for the security and safety of the voters at the Election Booths. Sufficient policemen are posted near the Election Booths so that no illegal person could disrupt the election process.
3. Every attempt is made to see that no inducement is given to voters to cast their votes in a particular way.
4. It is also seen that no coercion is used in any way to force voters to vote for a particular candidate.
5. During the election campaigning, it is to be seen that the Ruling Party does not use the government machinery in its favour whatsoever.
6. Rigging or using unfair means in elections should not be allowed in any way. Rigging is to elections what cheating is to examination.
7. All efforts are made to see that nobody tries to use his muscle or money power.
8. Over and above these measures, an institution of Election Commission has been created in India which is quite independent of the government control. It tries to conduct the elections in a free and fair manner.
♦ Acceptance of Election Results :
Mostly, it has been seen that the people and the candidates contesting the elections are satisfied with the election results. If the elections in India would not have been free and fair, ruling parties had never lost the elections. But alternatively, the ruling parties have been winning and losing elections both at the centre and in the states. As such, in India, the people and the political parties are satisfied with the results.
♦ Election Petitions :
Ever, after all the checks and brakes, some candidate is not satisfied with the election result, he can file an election petition. There is a provision to this effect if a certain candidate is not satisfied about the way the elections have been held in his constituency or a part of his constituency. The cause can be the use of corrupt practices or the use of force by a candidate or there can be any other cause. Such a dissatisfied candidate or candidates can file a petition in the court and question the election of another candidate. Such a petition is called an election petition. If such a petition is accepted then the by-election is field.
1. By-election : Means an election held to fill a vacancy caused by either death, resignation or any other reason.
2. Campaigning : Refers to a process by which a candidate tries to persuade the vote to vote for him rather than for others.
3. Constituency : It refers to an area delimited for the purpose of election.
4. Elcectorate : It refers to the entire body of people who are qualified to vote in the elections for the legislature.
5. Election Commission : A parliamentary body constituted to conduct free and fair election in the country.
6. Election Manifesto : A document published by each political party before election containing the policies and programme of that party.
7. Franchise : Refers to the right of people to vote and elect their representatives to make laws.
8. Opposition parties : The parties which are defeated in the election do not form the government but form the opposition and keep the government in check.
9. Public opinion : Opinion of the electorate on all major-social political, economic and other important issues.
10. General Election : When an election is held in all constituencies and people from all parts of the country participate to choose their representatives for Parliament or state legislative Assembly, it is called a general election.
11. Secret Ballot : System of casting one’s vote is secrecy so that the choice of the voter remains a secret and is not known to others.
12. Print Media : Means of public information which consists of News papers, Periodicals and Magazines.
13. Electronic Media : Means of public information system which runs on electronics like Radio, T.V., Computer etc.
14. Universal Adult Franchise : Every Indian citizen of 18 years and above has the right to vote irrespective of caste, creed or sex.
15. One Person one vote : Every body has the right to cast one vote and everyone’s vote is of equal importance.
16. Seats : The term refers to number of position in any legislature.
17. Election : A contest of power between different candidate and parties.
18. Electoral Participation : It entails participating in the election procedure through voting, contesting election, compainging .
19. Electoral Roll : It is the voter’s list prepared by a door to door survey to include only bonafide voter and minimise role of bogus voters.
20. Rigging : Any unfair practice indulged in during election is called rigging.
21. Turnout : The percentage of eligible voters who cast their votes in an election.
22. Incumbent : The current holder of a political office.
23. Code of conduct : A set of norms and guide lines to be followed by political parties and contesting candidates during election time.
A. VERY SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
Q.1 Explain the principle of one ‘person one vote’ and universal Adult franchise.
Q.2 Define secret ballot and constituency.
Q.3 What are the compaigning techniques which are used by the contestants ?
Q.4 What is an election manifesto ? What is its use?
Q.5 State two main features of the election system in India.
Q.6 Why is it important for political parties to campaign before election?
Q.7 What is the role and importance of mass media in a democracy ?
Q.8 What is a political party ? What is its role in a democracy ?
Q.9 “Elections are the barometers of Democracy’”. Explain.
Q.10 What is the importance of public opinion in a representative democracy ?
Q.11 What are the advantages of contesting the election as a party candidate ?
Q.12 Mention any two measures that ensure that elections are free and fair in India.
Q.13 How can the chief election commissioner be removed from his office ?
Q.14 Mention any two stages in the election process before the election campaign begins.
Q.15 What is the composition of the election commission ?
Q.16 State two weaknesses of the electoral system in India.
Q.17 Why is the muscle power used in the elections ? What is it used for ?
Q.18 Differentiate between by-elections, midterm elections and general elections.
Q.19 What are reserved constituencies ?
Q.20 When can a person be denied the right to vote?
Q.21 What details does a candidate have to declare before he stands for election ?
Q.22 What is meant by election day and ballot paper?
Q.23 How do voters cast their vote ?
Q.24 What are the advantages of EVM’S ?
Q.25 What is called a 'Party Ticket' ?
B. SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
Q.1 What are the functions of the election commission ?
Q.2 What are the different measures taken to ensure free and fair elections ?'
Q.3 What choices do voters make during election ?
Q.4 What are the various forms of political competition ?
Q.5 What are the negative effects of electoral competition ?
Q.6 What are the conditions which make an election democratic ?
Q.7 What is the relationship between seat, constituency and representatives ?
Q.8 Differentiate between ‘parliamentary constituency’ and ‘assembly constituency ?
Q.9 Why have some constituencies been reserved ?
Q.10 (A) What is a ‘voters list’ ?
(B) What is the importance of a Photo Identity Card ?
Q.11 Why are there no educational qualifications level down for contesting elections ?
Q.12 Mention four successful strongs given by different political parties in various elections.
Q.13 What are the restrictions placed on political parties during elections.
Q.14 State the features of the Model code of conduct which all political parties have agreed to adhere to during elections.
Q.15 Are elections too expensive for our country ? Give reason for your answer.
Q.16 State the major trends regarding voting pattern in India ?
Q.17 What are the challenges which prevent free and fair elections from being held ?
C. LONG ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
Q.1 What measures have been taken to ensure that the election commission can conduct elections in a free and fair manner ?
Q.2 Briefly explain the election procedure of India.
Q.3 Discuss the importance of election in a democracy.
Q.4 Mention any five minimum conditions of a democratic election.
Q.5 What makes elections in India democratic ?
D. MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS
Q.1 What was voter turn out in India in 1991 ?
Q.2 Which class in India has the highest turnout ?
Q.3 India is divided into ............... constituencies.
Q.4 EVM refer for -
(A) Electronic Photo Machine
(B) Electronic Voting Machine
(C) Electronic Voting Module
(D) All of them
Q.5 EPIC refer for –
(A) Electronic public issue
(B) Electronic Photo Identity Card
(C) Electronic Proposal
(D) None of these
Q.6 Any unfair practice in elections to increase one’s vote is called –
(A) Booth capturing
(D) None of these
Q.7 If any candidate vacates his seat by death, resignation etc. them the election held for filling his seat is called –
(B) Mid-term election
(C) General election
(D) All of these
Q.8 The current holder of a political office is called–
(A) Turn out
(D) None of these
Q.9 An area delimited for the purpose of election is called –
(D) All of these
Q.10 ........... is the term which refers to number of positions in any legislature.
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