Q80. Here are some reports of malpractices in Indian elections. Identify what the problem in each case is. What should be done to correct the situation?
a Following the announcement of elections, the minister promised to provide financial aid to reopen the closed sugar mill.
b Opposition parties alleged that their statements and campaign was not given due attention in Doordarshan and All India Radio.
c An inquiry by the Election Commission showed that electoral rolls of a state contain name of 20 lakh fake voters.
d The hoodlums of a political party were moving with guns, physically preventing supporters of other political parties to meet the voters and attacking meetings of other parties.
Ans. (a) Once elections are announced, Ministers shall not lay foundation stones of any projects, take any big policy decisions or make any promises of providing public facilities. Therefore, election commission should take action immediately.
(b) The election commission must ensure that all political parties are given equal opportunity to appear on Doordarshan and All India Radio.
(c) It is the responsibility of the government to get the names of all the eligible voters put on the voters’ list. As new persons attain voting age names should be added to the voters’ list. Names of those who move out of a place or those who are dead should be deleted. A complete revision of the list takes should take place regularly to keep the list up to date.
(d) By using hoodlums, the political party is terrorizing its rivals. The election commission should order the arrest of the hoodlums and debarred the party from the elections.
Q81. Surekha is an officer in-charge of ensuring free and fair elections in an assembly constituency in a state. Describe what should she focus on for each of the following stages of election:
a Election campaign
b Polling day
c Counting day
Ans. (a) Election campaign – She should focus on the following duties:
1. Candidates should not bribe or threaten voters.
2. They should not cross expenditure limit.
3. They should not appeal to voters in the name of religion or caste.
4. They should not use worship place for a campaign or use any government resources.
(b) Polling day – She should focus on the following duties:
1. Check the voter’s list.
2. Check the ID proof of the voters.
3. Check on booth capturing.
(c) Counting day – She should focus on the following duties:
1. Keep a fair counting practice.
2. Tab on the rigging of votes.
Q82. How is people's participation in election measured? How can it be said that elections are becoming popular in India and drawing people's attention?
1. People’s participation in election is usually measured by voter turnout figures. Turnout indicates the per cent of eligible voters who actually cast their vote. Over the last fifty years, the turnout in Europe and North America has declined. In India the turnout has either remained stable or actually gone up.
2. In India the poor, illiterate and underprivileged people vote in larger proportion as compared to the rich and privileged sections. This is in contrast to western democracies.
3. Common people in India attach a lot of importance to elections. They feel that through elections they can bring pressure on political parties to adopt policies and programmes favourable to them. They also feel that their vote matters in the way things are run in the country.
4. The interest of voters in election related activities has been increasing over the years. During the 2004 elections, more than one third voters took part in a campaign-related activities.
Q83. Can we draw the following conclusions from the information given in this chapter? Give two facts to support your position for each of these.
a Election Commission of India does not have enough powers to conduct free and fair elections in the country.
b There is a high level of popular participation in the elections in our country.
c It is very easy for the party in power to win an election.
d Many reforms are needed to make our elections completely free and fair.
Ans. (a) We cannot come to this conclusion because:
1. EC takes decisions on every aspect of conduct and control of elections from the announcement of elections to the declaration of results.
2. It implements the Code of Conduct and punishes any candidate or party that violates it.
3. During the election period, the EC can order the government to follow some guidelines, to prevent use and misuse of governmental power to enhance its chances to win elections, or to transfer some government officials.
4. When on election duty, government officers work under the control of the EC and not the government.
(b) It is true. The interest of voters in election related activities has been increasing over the years. Common people in India attach a lot of importance to elections. They feel that through elections they can bring pressure on political parties to adopt policies and programmes favourable to them. They also feel that their vote matters in the way things are run in the country.
(c) It is not very easy for the party in power to win an election:
1. The ruling parties routinely lose elections in India both at the national and state level.
2. Candidates who are known to have spent a lot of money on ‘buying votes’ and those with known criminal connections often lose elections.
(d) Certain Reforms are necessary to make our elections completely free and fair:
1. To ensure that independents and small parties not suffer in elections.
2. To ensure candidates with criminal records do not participate.