Knowledge Zone Details



India is the most highly populated democracy in the world. Democracy is defined as a structure of government run by the entire population or by their elected representatives. This system of election dates back to the year 1951–52 when the first general election was held in India.

The democratic governance system leads to the Parliamentary system. The Parliament of India is the apex body that is responsible for the development of a new law and modification or cancellation of any old law. The Parliament acts through two chambers known by the name of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. President of India has the power to dissolve a session of either of the house or to dissolve Lok Sabha as well. The President exercises these powers on the counsel of the Prime Minister of India and his Union Council of Ministers.

Lok Sabha is also known as the ‘House of the People’ or the ‘Lower house’ of the Parliament. The constitution of India allows the maximum strength of Lok Sabha to go up to 552 members out of which, power to appoint 2 members are in the hand of the President. These two MPs are selected from the Anglo-Indian Community. The ratio between the number of seats apportioned to a state and the population of the state must remain same for all the states. If the population of a state increases, this will lead to an increase in total elective membership of that state.

Currently, the Lower House comprises of 545 seats and 543 members are elected through direct elections. In direct election, every citizen of India who is above 18 years of age exercises his/her ‘Right to Vote'. A person votes for the candidate he or she finds deserving, from the candidates contesting for Lok Sabha seat of their constituency. For any person to run for Lok Sabha election, the minimum age required is 25 years. Also, the candidate must be a citizen of India, have a sound mind, not declared as bankrupt and must not be criminally convicted.

Out of 543, the party that wins in 272 or more constituencies is said to have won by Majority. The Majority party gets an opportunity to form the Central Government. The winning party gets tenure of maximum 5 years or until dissolved by the President on the counsel of its council of ministers. Party leader of the winning party becomes the Prime Minister of India. The President of India appoints the Prime Minister. Every candidate that wins in their respective constituency becomes a Member of Parliament (MP). If 272 MPs of a single party does not win then this calls for an alliance between parties to form the Government. If all the parties are unsuccessful in forming or maintaining an alliance then it calls for ‘snap election’ i.e. election that is conducted before the time of next scheduled election which normally takes place every five years.

Rajya Sabha is also called the Council of States or Upper House of the Parliament. It is a permanent body that can never be dissolved. Rajya Sabha can have a maximum of 250 members out of which 12 are appointed by the President of India. The total seats in Rajya Sabha are decided as per the population of each State.  Currently, Rajya Sabha has 245 members so the remaining 233 members are elected by indirect election. In this election, Members of Legislative Assembly of a state and members of Electoral College for Union Territory cast their single transferable vote. The Election for Rajya Sabha takes place every two years when almost 1/3 members of the Upper House complete their tenure of six years. For a candidate to run for Rajya Sabha election, minimum age required is 30 years. Also, the candidate must be a citizen of India, have a sound mind, not declared as bankrupt and must not be criminally convicted.


Being the largest democracy in the world, the election in India becomes a costly affair. Almost half a billion US dollars were spent in the last General elections that were held in 2014. So the question here is: Why to have elections? Is this all worth it? Is the election process fair?

Answer to the first question as why to have election lies in one of the basic rights of an Indian citizen i.e. ‘Right to vote. This right entitles every citizen to get himself heard. It is the voice that helps a person to share his/her satisfaction or dissatisfaction by voting for a particular candidate. Although in previous few elections, Election Commission has received complaints regarding voting procedures particularly against the use of Electronic Voting Machine (EVMs) and the results being faulty. Many losing parties has questioned the credibility of EVMs and alleged that it is possible to the hack EVM machines. These allegations first started in the year 2009 when leader of opposition party demanded the reintroduction of Ballot papers after losing elections in Maharashtra and three other states. The irony of this situation is that this opposition party won the next General Election of 2014. After its victory, many losing parties questioned functioning of EVMs. Some claimed that it is possible to hack an EVM in only 90 seconds. Since then, ECI has been refuting these claims and also came up with scientific proof to deny allegations from the opposing parties.

Election Commission of India (ECI) is an autonomous body which has the constitutional authority of administering the entire electoral process. ECI statistics shows that almost 900 million people are eligible to vote in 2019 election, out of which 15 million people are in the age group of 18-19 years and are casting their vote for the first time. This means that there is a dire need to find the preventive measures to ensure that 17th Lok Sabha Elections are conducted smoothly. Election Commission of India is trying various measures to overcome all the difficulties faced in the past elections so that the entire election process is fair and worth every rupee spent.

­Election Commission of India has come up with five major measures to ensure hassle-free elections procedures. The voting for 543 seats is conducted through 10 lakh polling booths across India. Being the largest election affairs across the world with population coming from diverse culture, language, and education background, one measure is taken precisely to reduce the confusion that a voter might have with regards to the name of a candidate, party it belongs to and their party symbol. In 2019 General election, all the EVMs in every state and Union Territory will have photographs of all the candidates along with their party name, party symbol, and candidate name. This step is taken particularly to eliminate confusion between two or more candidates who have similar names or a voter is not sure which party the candidate belongs to.

Lok Sabha Election 2019 will witness the use of Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) for the very first time. VVPAT is used as a tool that enables a voter to cross verify that his/her vote has gone to the desired candidate. It is attached to Electronic Voter Machine and when a voter presses the button to cast his/her vote, VVPAT produces a slip called ‘ballot slip'. Ballot slip displays name, image and the serial number of the candidate selected. After seven seconds of the slip being generated, it falls in a sealed fixed box followed by a ‘beep’ sound declaring the completion of the voting process. These slips act as a medium to check whether the vote has gone to the desired candidate. If the need arises, these Ballot Slips are available for manual counting. But re-counting using Ballot slips will take place in the rarest of situations. This is one of the major steps taken to counter the allegation of EVMs being tampered. Another feature that is inculcated in 2019 General elections is that movement of EVMs can be tracked during its transportation using GPS to avoid tampering of the machines even on the way.

Many other preventive measures are being taken in the election of 2019. On such measure is a Vigilant Citizen app- cVIGIL which is an app to report infringement of Model Code of Conduct (MCC). During the time of the election, any party or party member cannot indulge in any activity that can be categorized as intimidation or inducement or are expenditure violations. If any such act is being done, every citizen is given an easy mode to report using his or her smart phones using cVIGIL app which is available in Play Store for one to download and use. The app has been put to use since the date of notification of General Election. One main feature of the app is that it allows a person to take pictures and a two-minute video. The applicant can also add description along with. The app does not allow pre-recorded images and videos. As soon as the photo or video is uploaded, an automated location mapping using GPS also goes along with the upload. This information saves the time of the field unit in deciding whether the case is genuine or a ghost complaint. Also, these GIS cues and navigating technology help the field unit in reaching the correct location easily.

Social media is a tool that is being exhaustively used for campaigning. It has proven out to be very useful but along with that, it is also being misused to defame various parties and their candidates. In order to curb these malpractices, Facebook, Twitter, Google, and various such social media tools are under the strict surveillance of ECI. Many posts have been proven out to be disruptive towards peace and harmony among people. It has been made mandatory to have pre-certification of various social media campaigns used by political parties. This pre-certification is done by the Media Certification and Monitoring Committees (MCMCs). Also, to overcome the threats of false news, ECI has asked the candidates contesting for General election 2019 to declare their official accounts on various social media platforms while filing their nominations as part of their affidavit.

Before a citizen casts his or her vote, verification of identity is a mandatory step. Making this step easy, ECI has approved12 documents that can be produced as an identity proof. These proofs are Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC), PAN card, passbooks issued by bank or post office, passport, service identity cards with photographs issued to employees by central/state government or PSUs and public limited companies, driving licence, Aadhaar card and smart card issued by the Registrar General of India under National Populations Register. Few more documents include health insurance smart card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour, Other approved documents are Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) job card and pension document with a photograph and official identity cards issued to MPs, MLAs, and MLCs.

Voter Helpline has been made stronger in order to help a citizen to gather any information related to his/ her voter registration by using registered phone number and mobile app. Election Commission of India has taken many the essential measures in order to have peaceful and fair campaigning and voting across the country. Focusing the first time voters and total population at large, promotions have been drafted in such a manner to spread the word and have maximum population turn up for casting their vote. India being a nation of various cultures and festivals, the General Election of 2019 is being promoted as a ‘DESH KA MAHA UTSAV' that symbolizes the process of casting a vote as a ritual that will lead to the betterment of India.