Blog 6

The Guardians of Election

The Constitution of India has appointed an autonomous entity, the Election Commission, for the conduct of the electoral processes. It sets the guidelines for political parties, candidates, and even the expenditure that a candidate can do for their campaign. In short, they are the custodians of the elections as per Article 324 of the Indian Constitution.

Article 324 (1) states: “The superintendence, direction, and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to Parliament and to the Legislature of every State and of elections to the offices of President and Vice-President held under this Constitution shall be vested in a Commission (referred to in this Constitution as the Election Commission).”

The Modes of Elections

Elections in our country are held at different intervals for different reasons.

  • Lok Sabha/General Elections: India is divided into 543 constituencies and the elected candidates become the Members of Parliament (MP). Citizens above the age of 18 vote from their constituency and these elections happen every five years. A party can, however, stake claim to form the Central Government only when 272 seats, or more, are won.
  • State Assembly Elections: Every State and Union Territory in India is divided into assembly constituencies and the elected members become the Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA). The strength of the assembly depends on the size and population of the State and the citizens of the constituency elect their MLAs.
  • Rajya Sabha Elections: The Members of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha are elected by the MLAs under a single transferrable vote system. The Rajya Sabha consists of 250 members out of which 12 members are nominated at the President’s discretion. The tenure lasts for 6 years with around one-third of the members changing every two years.
  • Local Body Elections: The people of the country are also responsible for electing the members of the local bodies like Corporation, Municipalities, Panchayats, and Gram Panchayats. These elections are independent of the Election Commission and have been instituted to address the issues at the grass-root levels.

The Modus Operandi

The elections are conducted from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm under the supervision of the poll officers who are generally government employees. Any citizen above the age of 18 years can cast their votes through an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) for a candidate of their choice. After this, an ink mark is applied on their left index finger to denote that the person has already voted.

Since Independence, India has held innumerable elections in the country that is truly representative of its democracy. All the citizens of the nation irrespective of their class, caste, creed, or sex get to make a choice of the people who shall represent them. And, being part of a democratic nation also gives us a choice to not opt for any of the candidates. Thus, the option to vote for NOTA- None of the Above.