NCERT Class 9 Civics Chapter 3 - Electoral Politics

Chapter 3 - Electoral Politics

Question 1: Why do we need elections?

• 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: “In an election, voters have many choices.” Justify the statement.
In an election, voters have 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?

• First, everyone should be able to choose. This means that everyone should have one vote and every vote should have equal value.
• Second, 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.
• Third, the choice should be offered at regular intervals. Elections must be held regularly after every few years.
• Fourth, the candidate preferred by the people should get elected.
• Fifth, elections should be conducted in a free and fair manner where people can choose as they really wish.

Question 4: What are the merits and demerits of political competition?

• Merits of political competition
→ Regular electoral competition provides incentives to political parties and leaders. They know if they raise issues that people want to be raised, their popularity and chances of victory in the next elections.
→ It creates competition among the parties to serve better.
→ People have lot of option among various leaders. They can select a particular leader who can solve their problems.
Finally it leads to the development of the nation.
• Demerits of political competition
→ 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 does not allow sensible long-term policies to be formulated.
→ Some good people who may wish to serve the country do not enter this arena. They do not like the idea of being dragged into unhealthy competition.

Question 5: What is the system of election in our country?

• In India, Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha (Assembly) elections are held regularly after every five years.
• After five years the term of all the elected representatives comes to an end.
• 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 constitutency to fill the vacancy caused by death or resignation of a member. This is called a by-election.

Question 6: What do you mean by electoral constituency?

• 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.
• 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.
• Similarly, each state is divided into a specific number of Assembly constituencies. In this case, the elected representative is called the Member of Legislative Assembly or an MLA.

Question 7: What is reserved constituency? Why are some constituency reserved?

• Some constituencies are reserved for people who belong to the Scheduled Castes [SC] and Scheduled Tribes [ST].
• In a SC reserved constituency only someone who belongs to the Scheduled Castes can stand for election.
• Similarly only those belonging to the Scheduled Tribes can contest an election from a constituency reserved for ST.
• Currently, in the Lok Sabha, 84 seats are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 47 for the Scheduled Tribes (as on 26 January 2019).
• The Constitution makers 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.
• Those who are influential and resourceful may prevent them from winning elections.
• If that happens, our Parliament and Assemblies would be deprived of the voice of a significant section of our population. That would make our democracy less representative and less democratic.

Question 8: What are the qualifications required to contest in the election?

• In order to be a candidate the minimum age is 25 years.
• There are some 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’.
• 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 9: What do you mean by Model Code of Conduct?
According to Model Code of Conduct, 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 decision or make any promises of providing public facilities.

Question 10: What are the challenges to free and fair elections in India?
The challenges to free and fair elections in India 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 11: Write about independent election commission. What are the powers of election commission in India?
In our country, elections are conducted by an independent and very powerful election commission.
• It enjoys the same kind of independence that the judiciary enjoys.
• The Chief Election Commissioner is appointed by the President of India. But once appointed, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) is not answerable to the President or the government of India.
• Even if the ruling party or the government does not like what the election commission does, it is virtually impossible for it to remove the CEC.
• Very few election commissions in the world have such wide-ranging powers as the election commission of India.

Powers of Election Commission
• Election Commission takes decisions on every aspect of conduct and control of elections from the announcement of elections to the declaration of result.
• It implements the code of conduct and punishes any candidate or party that violates it.
• When on election duty, government officers work under the control of Election Commission and not the government.


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