NCERT Class 9 Civics Chapter 3 - Electoral Politics

Chapter 3 - Electoral Politics

Question 1: Why do we need elections?
Answer:
• A rule of the people is possible without any elections if all the people can sit together everyday and take all the decisions.
• This is not possible in any large community. Nor is it possible for everyone to have the time and knowledge to take decisions on all matters.
• Therefore in most democracies people rule through their representatives.

Question 2: Why elections are considered essential in our times for any representative democracy.
Answer:
In an election the voters make many choices:
• They can choose who will make laws for them.
• They can choose who will form the government and take major decisions.
• They can choose the party whose policies will guide the government and law making.

Question 3: What makes an election democratic?
Answer:
A simple list of the minimum conditions of a democratic election is:
• Everyone should be able to choose. This means that everyone should have one vote and every vote should have equal value.
• There should be something to choose from. Parties and candidates should be free to contest elections and should offer some real choice to the voters.
• The choice should be offered at regular intervals. Elections must be held regularly after every few years.
• The candidate preferred by the people should get elected.
• Elections should be conducted in a free and fair manner where people can choose as they really wish.

Question 4: Is it good to have political competition?
Answer:

→ Demerits:
• An electoral competition has many demerits. It creates a sense of disunity and ‘factionalism’ in every locality.
• Different political parties and leaders often level allegations against one another.
• Parties and candidates often use dirty tricks to win elections.
• Electoral fights do not allow sensible long-term policies to be formulated. Some good people who may wish to serve the country, don't like the idea of being dragged into unhealthy competition.

→ Merits:
• Political leaders all over the world, like all other professionals, are motivated by a desire to advance their political careers. They want to remain in power or get power & positions for themselves.They may wish to serve the people as well.
• One way is to try and improve the knowledge and character of political leaders.
• Regular electoral competition provides incentives to political parties and leaders. They know that if they raise issues that people want to be raised, their popularity and chances of victory will increase in the next elections. But if they fail to satisfy the voters with their work they will not be able to win again.

Question 5: What is meant by general elections and by-election?
Answer:
Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha (Assembly) elections are held regularly after every five years. The Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha stands ‘dissolved’. Elections are held in all constituencies at the same time, either on the same day or within a few days. This is called a general election.

Sometimes election is held only for one constituency to fill the vacancy caused by the death or resignation of a member. This is called a by-election.

Question 6: What are electoral constituencies? Into how many constituencies is the country divided for Lok Sabha elections? What is an elected representative called as?
Answer:

• In our country we follow an area based system of representation. The country is divided into different areas for purposes of elections. These areas are called electoral constituencies. The voters who live in an area elect one representative.
• For Lok Sabha elections, the country is divided into 543 constituencies.
• The representative elected from each constituency is called a Member of Parliament or an MP.

Question 7: Why are certain constituencies reserved for certain categories of people?
Answer:

• The Constitution makers, however, were worried that in an open electoral competition, certain weaker sections may not stand a good chance to get elected to the Lok Sabha and the state Legislative Assemblies. They may not have the required resources, education and contacts to contest and win elections against others.
• If that happens, our Parliament and Assemblies would be deprived of the voice of a significant section of our population.
• Currently, in the Lok Sabha, 84 seats are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 47 for the Scheduled Tribes (as on 26 January 2019).
• In many states, seats in rural (Panchayat) and urban (Municipalities and Corporations) local bodies are now reserved for Other Backward Classes (OBC) as well.
• One-third of the seats are reserved in rural and urban local bodies for women candidates.

Question 8: What is meant by Voter’s list or Electoral Roll? Who prepares and updates the voter’s list and who is eligible to vote?
Answer:

• In a democratic election, the list of those who are eligible to vote is prepared much before the election and given to everyone. This list is officially called the Electoral Roll and is commonly known as the Voters’ List.
• 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 are added to the voters’ list. Names of those who move out of a place or those who are dead are deleted. A complete revision of the list takes place every five years.
• In our country, all the citizens aged 18 years and above can vote in an election. Every citizen has the right to vote, regardless of his or her caste, religion or gender. Some criminals and persons with unsound mind can be denied the right to vote, but only in rare situations.

Question 9: What are the different criteria to be followed to contest in elections?
Answer:

• In order to be a candidate the minimum age is 25 years.
• There are some other restrictions on criminals etc. but these apply in very extreme cases.
• Every person who wishes to contest an election has to fill a ‘nomination form’ and give some money as ‘security deposit’.

Question 10: What is the new system of declaration has been introduced on direction from the Supreme Court.
Answer:

Every candidate has to make a legal declaration, giving full details of:
• Serious criminal cases pending against the candidate
• Details of the assets and liabilities of the candidate and his or her family
• Educational qualifications of the candidate.

Question 11: Why is there no educational qualification for holding such an important position like MP/MLA when some kind of educational qualification is needed for any other job in the country?
Answer:

• Educational qualifications are not relevant to all kinds of jobs.The relevant qualification for being an MLA or an MP is the ability to understand people’s concerns, problems and to represent their interests.
• In our country putting an educational qualification would go against the spirit of democracy. It would mean depriving a majority of the country’s citizens the right to contest elections.
• For example, a graduate degree like B.A., B.Com or B.Sc was made compulsory for candidates, more than 90% of the citizens will become ineligible to contest elections.
• Even if education was relevant, it should be left to the people to decide how much importance they give to educational qualifications.

Question 12: Write briefly about the election campaign.
Answer:

• In our country election campaigns take place for a two-week period between the announcement of the final list of candidates and the date of polling. During this period the candidates contact their voters, political leaders address election meetings and political parties mobilise their supporters.
• This is also the period when newspapers and television news are full of election related stories and debates.
• In election campaigns, political parties try to focus public attention on some big issues. They want to attract the public to that issue and get them to vote for their party.

Question 13: Why is it necessary to regulate election campaigns?
Answer:

It is sometimes necessary to regulate campaigns to ensure that every political party and candidate gets a fair and equal chance to compete.
According to our election law, no party or candidate can:
• Bribe or threaten voters
• Appeal to them in the name of caste or religion
• Use government resources for election campaign; and spend more than 25 lakhs in a constituency for a Lok Sabha election or 10 lakhs in a constituency in an Assembly election.

Question 14: What is meant by code of conduct?
Answer:

According to this, no party or candidate can:
• Use any place of worship for election propaganda
• Use government vehicles, aircrafts and officials for elections
• 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.

Question 15: Write briefly about polling and counting of votes.
Answer:

• The final stage of an election is the day when the voters cast or ‘poll’ their vote. That day is usually called the election day.
• Every person whose name is on the voters’ list can go to a nearby ‘polling booth’, situated usually in a local school or a government office. Once the voter goes inside the booth, the election officials identify her, put a mark on her finger and allow her to cast her vote.
• An agent of each candidate is allowed to sit inside the polling booth and ensure that the voting takes place in a fair way.
• Once the polling is over, all the EVMs are sealed and taken to a secure place. A few days later, on a fixed date, all the EVMs from a constituency are opened and the votes secured by each candidate are counted.
• The candidate who secures the highest number of votes from a constituency is declared elected.

Question 16: What are the unfair practices in elections?
Answer:
The unfair practices in elections are as follows:
• Inclusion of false names and exclusion of genuine names in the voters’ list.
• Misuse of government facilities and officials by the ruling party.
• Excessive use of money by rich candidates and big parties.
• Intimidation of voters and rigging on the polling day.

Question 17: What are the challenges to free and fair elections?
Answer: The challenges to free and fair elections are:
• Candidates and parties with a lot of money may not be sure of their victory but they do enjoy a big and unfair advantage over smaller parties and independents.
• In some parts of the country, candidates with criminal connection have been able to push others out of the electoral race and to secure a ‘ticket’ from major parties.
• Some families tend to dominate political parties; tickets are distributed to relatives from these families.
• Very often elections offer little choice to ordinary citizens, for both the major parties are quite similar to each other both in policies and practice.
• Smaller parties and independent candidates suffer a huge disadvantage compared to bigger parties.

Question 18: What makes elections in India democratic?
Answer:
→ Independent Election Commission:
In our country elections are conducted by an independent and very powerful Election Commission (EC). It enjoys the same kind of independence that the judiciary enjoys. The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) is appointed by the President of India.
The powers of Election Commission of India are-
• EC takes decisions on every aspect of conduct and control of elections from the announcement of elections to the declaration of results.
• It implements the Code of Conduct and punishes any candidate or party that violates it.
• 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.
• When on election duty, government officers work under the control of the EC and not the government.

→ Popular participation
If the election process is not free or fair, people will not continue to participate in the exercise.
• 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.
• In India the poor, illiterate and underprivileged people vote in larger proportion as compared to the rich and privileged sections.
• 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.
• The interest of voters in election- related activities has been increasing over the years.

→ Acceptance of election outcome
• One final test of the free and fairness of election is in the outcome itself.If elections are not free or fair, the outcome always favours the powerful.Usually, the losing party does not accept the outcome of a rigged election.
• The outcome of India’s elections speaks for itself.
For example: Candidates who are known to have spent a lot of money on ‘buying votes’ and those with known criminal connections often lose elections.

→ Challenges to free and fair elections
The challenges to free and fair elections are:
• Candidates and parties with a lot of money may not be sure of their victory but they do enjoy a big and unfair advantage over smaller parties and independents.
• In some parts of the country, candidates with criminal connection have been able to push others out of the electoral race and to secure a ‘ticket’ from major parties.
• Some families tend to dominate political parties; tickets are distributed to relatives from these families.
• Very often elections offer little choice to ordinary citizens, for both the major parties are quite similar to each other both in policies and practice.
• Smaller parties and independent candidates suffer a huge disadvantage compared to bigger parties.

2 comments:

  1. Your way of writing question and answer is easy to understand and easy to learn

    Fantastic

    ReplyDelete

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