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Lok Sabha Election, General Elections in India


Indian General Election - What is It?


The general elections are also known as Lok Sabha elections. The election's outcome decides the next Prime Minister of India. These elections are conducted every five years by the Election Commission of India. According to the Constitution of India, the Lok Sabha comprises a total of 552 members. From states, a maximum of 530 members can be selected while from Union territories, as many as 20 members can be represented. The President also elects two members for the Lok Sabha (also known as Lower House) from the Anglo-Indian community.



Background and History


The first elections were contested for 489 constituencies and only 26 states were represented. At the time, there were also two and three seat constituencies, however, this system was discontinued in the 1960s.

The first ever Lok Sabha was formed in April 1952. There were a total of 1874 candidates contesting for Lok Sabha elections at that time. The elections were won by the Indian National Congress with 245 seats. His party had a clear win over the other competing parties, winning a total of 47,665,951 votes (gathering 45% of total votes cast). Jawaharlal Nehru, leading the INC at that time, rose to become the first Prime Minister of India. The party completed its full term in the House and lasted until April 4, 1957. G.V. Mavalankar was the first speaker of the Lok Sabha. It witnessed a total of 3,784 hours sitting. It lasted its complete tenure from 17 April 1952 to 4 April 1957.

Election Process


To enter the electoral process of general elections, candidates need to file nominations with the Electoral Commission. The parties are barred from using government funds for campaigning in the elections. The government is also prohibited from starting a new project if the elections are going on. After all the nominations are filed, the list is published containing the names of all the candidates. The election process continues for the whole day between 7 AM to 6 PM. Polling's in-charge is the collector of that region. Now, the EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) are used for the polling process rather than the ballot boxes.

Previous Elections - Description and Figures


2014

The Indian general election 2014 formed the sixteenth Lok Sabha. Members of Parliament were elected from all 543 constituencies. The poll was conducted in 9 phases, running from April 7 to May 12, becoming the longest election in the history of India. According to the reports of the Election Commission of India, there were 814.5 million people eligible for voting. This also marked an increase of over 100 million voters since the last elections in 2009. Owing to this fact, the 2014 Lok Sabha elections were the largest in the world. The total percentage of voters within the age group of 18-19 years were 23.1 million, a total of 2.7% of all the voters. As many as 8251 candidates contested the elections. The average turnout was recorded to be 66.38%, the largest in Indian history.

On May 16, 2014, the results were declared, just 15 days before the completion of the 15th Lok Sabha. The vote counting was done at 989 centres. The elections were swept with a majority by NDA (National Democratic Alliance), grabbing a total of 336 seats. BJP with its allies formed the government with the largest majority since the general elections in 1984. It was also significant because of the fact that it was the first time ever that a party became eligible to govern without taking other parties' support.

INC (Indian National Congress) led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) won a total of 59 seats. The 44 seats (8.1% of the total) were gained by the Congress after gathering 19.3% of the total votes. A party must gain 54 seats (10% of the total seats) to become the official opposition but the INC could not manage that many seats in the polls. It also marked the worst defeat for the Congress party. Thus, for the 16th Lok Sabha, the country had no opposition party.

2009

The 15th Lok Sabha elections were held from April 16, 2009, to May 13, 2009. The elections were held in a total of 5 phases. The total electorate of the country was 714 million, becoming the second largest democratic polls in the world.

A total of 8070 candidates contested the polls for the 543 seats. The average turnout was recorded to be 59.7%. The poll results were announced on May 16, 2009.

The INC-led UPA formed the government with Manmohan Singh becoming the Prime Minister. The UPA enjoyed a majority, winning support from as many as 322 members of the House. The number of supporters of the party declined as in the last parliament election the party managed support from 335 members. In the 2014 elections, the party had support from Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Janata Dal (Secular) (JD(S)) and other few small parties.

Previous Election Expenditure


Each election requires huge efforts and resources for planning, technology, and labour and thus incurs a huge expenditure. The cost incurred for Lok Sabha elections have gone way up from the first general elections held in 1952.

In 1952 Lok Sabha election, the total expenditure was Rs 10.45 crores. For the 2009 election, the expenditure was Rs 846.67 crore. The year 2004, was also heavy on government exchequer, incurring a total of Rs 1114 crore. For the first 6 Lok Sabha elections, the cost per voter was estimated to be less than a rupee. But the expenditure saw a rapid growth owing to increase in the number of political parties, advanced technologies used for polling process and increase in the number of democratic activities.

The 2014 elections were the longest and were also the most expensive in Indian history. The Election Commission estimated the cost of the General polls to be ₹3500 crore. This expense does not include the cost incurred due to security. The amount incurred was three times the amount spent in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. The expenditure is also the second largest in the world after the US presidential election 2012.

Last Updated on February 12, 2018


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