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Indian election process

From Academic Kids

The world's largest democracy, India’s parliament is composed of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The Lok Sabha consists of directly elected incumbents while the Rajya Sabha consists of indirectly elected representatives. The term of the Lok Sabha is 5 years whereas the Rajya Sabha is 6 years.

Contents

Lok Sabha

Each district is divided into constituencies based on the population size. Political parties field candidates in each constituency. India's universal adult suffrage is 18 years. The minimum age for holding office is 25 years. There are 545 seats in the Lok Sabha of which 2 are nominated by the President.

Pre elections

Usually before the elections, like-minded political parties form alliances and seat-sharing arrangements in each state. The seat-sharing arrangement helps the alliance field a candidate from one party to prevent splitting of the votes. The Election Commission, a constitutional arm of the India, oversees the elections.

Due to the immense logistics involved, national elections are held in phases over a month. A few months before the elections, a code of conduct comes into play during which the central and state governments cannot announce any major sops to the electorate to prevent any unfair swings in the voting pattern.

Candidates are required to declare their assets, age, educational qualifications and criminal history. Convicted criminals are debarred from standing in the elections as well as disfranchised. Persons still on trial may contest, but can be debarred if found guilty.

Even though India is a democracy and any citizen can run for election, it is an expensive process, much like the US presidential elections in terms of the need for an enormous amount of resources.

Voting Day

Campaigning ends the day before the voting day. Government schools and colleges are chosen to be the polling stations. The day of the elections is declared a holiday and all liquor shops and bars are shut down. The Collector of each district is in charge of polling. Government servants are employed to many of the polling stations. Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are being increasingly used instead of ballot boxes.

Post elections

After the election day, the EVM’s are stored in a strong room under heavy security. After the different phases of the elections are complete, a day is set to count the votes. The votes are tallied and typically, the verdict is known within a few hours. The candidate who has mustered the most number of votes is declared the winner of the constituency.

The party or coalition that has won the most number of seats is invited by the President to form the new government. The coalition or party must prove its majority in the floor of the house (Lok Sabha) in a vote of confidence by obtaining a simple majority (minimum 50%) of the votes in the House.

Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha consists of a members elected by the electoral college of India. The electoral college consists of state elected members as well as Lok Sabha members. The term of the Rajya Sabha is 6 years, but is staggered with biennial elections to replace one-thirds of its candidates.

See also

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