A festival of Democracy : India’s General Election 2014
Many people in Delhi NCR region of India are going to have a block of holidays starting from 10th of April till 14th. Similar holidays will be there across India throughout the month of April. Yes there are some traditional festivals which generally fall around this time of the year like Gudi Parva, Mahavir Jayanti, Baisakhi, etc., but the biggest festival of them all is the festival of Democracy which comes once in 5 year only. The general elections are schedule – election in Delhi NCR will be on 10th of April.
So those of your who are planning to go our for a vacation taking advantage of these holidays, please do so but only after Voting. Make sure that you vote and ensure that all family members eligible for voting also do so. We will only get the government we deserve. By not voting we are not making any statement, we are just denying our self the right which has been given to us by our Constitution.
I am going to vote for sure, I have done that each and every time since I became eligible to vote. And it is evidently clear that I will always vote against Dynasty, Corruption and status qua. My vote will always be for Development – Economic development which will usher in social development. I will vote for good governance and for the leaders who have a track record of performing well.
My humble request to all fellow Indians would be to go out on the voting day and must use our constitution right judiciously. Vote for the person who deserve to represent you and lead the country. If you do not find anyone among the candidates in your area who fit the bill, then use NOTA! (None Of The Above)
This is truly a huge event for India and has a huge implication for the people living in the country, as well as for the rest of the world. There are some very interesting facts shared by the Election Commission of India, a constitutionally autonomous body, for the 2014 elections.
- World Biggest democratic exercise. The total number of people who are eligible to vote this time in India is over 814.5 million, larger than the total population of all European countries put together.
- 10% of the total voters this time would be doing so for the very first time. Half of India’s population is under the age of 25, a voter base significant enough to swing the outcome of the polls. From 2009, there has been an increase of 100 million + eligible voters.
- There are some 11,844 Indian living outside the country who have enrolled for voting in this election.
- Nearly 3% (23 million) eligible voters have been enrolled in the 18 to 19 age group, in the last elections in 2009, this number was only 0.75% .
- Enrollment of trans-gender persons is allowed as per the Indian constitution – with gender written as Others, ~30,000 people of Others gender will also vote this time, some of them are running as candidates as well.
- About 1 million polling stations would be set up using the electronic voting machines and the result would come very fast, within a day. Election result would be declared on May 16, 2014 – and India would have a new government under a new Prime Minister soon afterwards.
- This would also be the costliest general election in India’s history – approximately US$ 600 million would be incurred for carrying out this process. This does not include the security expenses and expenditure by individual candidates/ political parties. Just the candidates/ Political parties are expected to spend another US$5 billion for their promotion – world’s second highest election promotional expenditure after the US$7 billion spent on the 2012 American election.
- Electronic Voting Machines will be used in all the polling stations across the country. As many as 17, 20,080 Control Units and 18, 78,306 Ballot Units are expected to be used in the elections. Sufficient security would be provided to the Electronic voting machine so that there is no tampering with the process – the will be transported under armed escort and stored in strong rooms, with a double lock system and guarded round the clock by armed police, and CCTV coverage. Also, all parties/candidates are allowed to keep a watch on them by nominating their own representative or doing it themselves.
- This will be the first time in India that people will get voters’ slip with their photo to ensure only genuine voters get to exercise their franchise on the polling day. All critical events of the election process would be would be video-graphed – including filing of nominations, scrutiny thereof and allotment of symbols, First Level Checking, preparation and storage of Electronic Voting Machines, important public meetings, processions etc during the campaign, process of dispatching Postal Ballot papers, polling process in identified vulnerable polling stations, storage of polled EVMs, counting of votes etc.
- All the candidates are required to file an affidavit along with their nomination papers wherein they have to give complete financial details of their own and the spouse. It is a mandatory activity and any information proved wrong could result in cancellation of candidate’s nomination papers.
- Every polling station would be equipped with basic minimum facilities like drinking water, shed, toilet, and ramp for the physically challenged voters and a standard voting compartment etc.
- The voting will be in 9 phases spread across 4 weeks from April 7, 2014 to May 12, 2014 – longest voting schedule in India since became a democratic republic in 1951, for 543 of the 545 Lok Sabha (lower house of the Parliament) seats. Two members are nominated by the country’s President. Remember, 272 seats are needed for a majority in the lower house of the parliament. The leader of party with majority in Lok Sabha would be asked to form the government by President of India – he/ she would become the Prime Minister of India – having full executive power for the next 5 years, or till the time he/ she enjoys majority support in the house.