General Election in India
There was a time when monarchy and dictatorship were firmly rooted in the world. However, in course of time, the days of monarchy and dictatorship have gone. Ultimately democracy has triumphed in the present-day world almost all the countries have democratic form of Government. In a democracy, the ultimate power of State lies with the people of that State. People choose their representatives by casting votes in their favour. Such an act of choosing is known as Election. Election in which representatives are chosen in all the constituencies of a State is known as General Election.
India is a democratic country where voters are the electors. On the day of General Election, these voters have to do to their respective polling stations to cast their votes. This occurs, generally at the end of every five years.
All the electors of a constituency are, in a collective sense or in a group sense are called the electorate of that constituency.
Electoral College :
Firstly, the electors or voters elect their representatives which form a house which is named as “Electoral College”. The members of the Electoral college elect the necessary number or representatives who form the Parliament. But this system is not followed in India.
Electoral Roll :
Electoral Roll is a list of people or a register of people, who have right to vote in the election. Before the occurrence of the General Election, the Electoral Roll is revised and is made up-to-date with the enlistment of the new voters, who have attained the age of 18 years by the time of the General Election.
A constituency is an area holding a definite number of people or voters, who are to elect only one representative by the vote of a majority. For the purpose of General Election, the country is divided into a number of constituencies on the basis of population. Before the General Election, the constituencies are delimited on the basis of population in each of them. The number of people is increasing, and with that the number of voters too. Hence redelimitation of the constituencies is necessitated.
Propaganda is allowed to all the political parties and to all the independent candidates contesting the election. Propaganda is allowed subject to public decency and morality in a peaceful manner without preaching any sectarian feeling, religious feeling, and personal things. But no propaganda is allowed before forty-eight hours of the Election.
Different political parties and independent candidates go to the voters to pursuade them by visiting, canvassing and by making speeches to vote for the particular candidates. This work of pursuading the voters is known as Electioneering.
Polling station :
A polling station is a building or such other place where the people go to vote at an election. It is generally a school building taken over for time-being for the purpose of General Election. A presiding officer with his two assistants come to the polling station for a day or so to conduct the election work. Polling agents of the candidates are allowed in the polling station.
A polling-box is placed on the table before the eyes of the presiding officer. His two assistants sit on two sides of a table one is with ballots and the electoral roll and the other with indelible ink. The polling box is firmly closed on all sides except a narrow chasm on the top for the ballots to pass through into the polling box.
In India, a ballot is a sheet of paper on which there are the names of the candidates and the different pictures assigned to them. The voter is to put a stamp-mark on the picture assigned to his chosen candidate.
Indelible ink :
Indelible ink is a kind of ink the mark of which cannot be rubbed out or blotted or effaced or erased for about a week or so. Its mark is put on a finger of the voter just-after he casts his vote so that he/she cannot be able to cheat by voting again in the same election.
Voter ID :
Since the General Election of 1995, the Voter ID photo-system has been newly introduced. Every voter should have Voter ID by Government Election Department and the voter is to produce this Voter ID to the presiding officer for exercising his/her right to vote.
Polling booth :
In India, we have the system of secret voting. Nobody should know except the individual voter himself in favour of which candidate he cast his vote. In order to facilitate this privilege of the voters, a polling booth is provided in each of the polling stations. A polling booth is equipped with stamp-stick, stamp-pad and light on a table inside.
Election Commissioner :
In India, the Election Commissioner is the supreme officer and the supreme authority of the Election Department. Under his direction and authority, the whole General Election in India is conducted. All the Government officers and employees, through belong to other departments, are subjected to the Election Commissioner while discharging their election duties. The Government and the voters are to obey the code of conduct prescribed by the Election Commissioner.
How a voter gives his vote :
On the appointed day and during the appointed time, a voter goes to his polling station with his Voter ID. There his name is searched out in the Electoral Roll (Electoral Register) and his ID is verified by the Presiding Officer. Then he takes a ballot, goes into the Polling Booths, stamps on his chosen picture, folds the ballot in the right way, comes near the Ballot Box and drops the ballot in the Ballot Box. Then an assistant puts the mark of the indelible ink near the nail of the ring-finger of his left hand. Then the voter goes out through the exit. Then another voter comes and follows the same process. In this way, all the voters, present there, cast their respective votes.
At the end of the day, the ballot-box is properly sealed and is carried to the appointed office (Generally District Treasury ) to be carefully preserved until it is opened for counting. Later the poll is declared, i.e., the result of the General Election is officially make known to the public.
It is a matter of great regret that ragging, kidnapping, killing and forcibly taking away the ballot-box have been associated with election atmosphere by some jealous ruffians. The general election should be done in a peaceful atmosphere so that people will be able to exercise their franchise.
It is also a matter of regret that the Indian students don’t keep much information about the general election of our country. They don’t like to know anything else except what is there in their text-books or course-books. This is not a good sign for the future of India.