Question 1: Which of the following statements about the reasons for conducting elections are false?
(a) Elections enable people to judge the performance of the government.
(b) People select the representative of their choice in an election.
(c) Elections enable people to evaluate the performance of the judiciary.
(d) People can indicate which policies they prefer.
Answer: Statement ‘c’ is false.
Question 2: Which of these is not a good reason to say that Indian elections are democratic?
(a) India has the largest number of voters in the world.
(b) India’s Election Commission is very powerful.
(c) In India, everyone above the age of 18 has a right to vote.
(d) In India, the losing parties accept the electoral verdict.
Answer: Statement ‘a’ is not a good reason to say that Indian elections are democratic.
Question 3: Match the following:
|(a) It is necessary to keep the voters list up to date because||(i) there is a fair representation of all sections of our society|
|(b) Some constituencies are reserved for SCs and STs so that||(ii) everyone has equal opportunity to elect their representatives|
|(c) Everyone has one and only one vote so that||(iii) all candidates must have a fair chance of competing in elections|
|(d) Party in power is not allowed to use government vehicles because||(iv) some people may have moved away from the area where they voted last|
|(a) It is necessary to keep the voters list up to date because||(iv) some people may have moved away from the area where they voted last|
|(b) Some constituencies are reserved for SCs and STs so that||(i) there is a fair representation of all sections of our society|
|(c) Everyone has one and only one vote so that||(ii) everyone has equal opportunity to elect their representatives|
|(d) Party in power is not allowed to use government vehicles because||(iii) all candidates must have a fair chance of competing in elections|
Question 4: List all the different election related activities mentioned in the chapter and arrange them in a time sequence, beginning with the first activity and ending with the last. Some of these activities are given below: releasing election manifestos; counting of votes; making of voters’ list; election campaign; declaration of election results; casting of votes; ordering of re-poll; announcing election schedule; filing nomination.
Answer: The following is a list of the different election-related activities arranged in a time sequence − Making of voters’ list, announcing election schedule, filing nomination, releasing election manifestoes, election campaign, casting of votes, ordering of re-poll, counting of votes, declaration of election results.
Question 5: Surekha is an officer in-charge of ensuring free and fair elections in an assembly constituency in a state. Describe what should she focus on for each of the following stages of election:
(a) Election campaign
(b) Polling day
(c) Counting day
(a) Election campaign − For this, Surekha will have to focus on seeing that the candidates do not bribe or threaten the voters; appeal to them in the name of caste or religion; use government resources for election campaign, and spend more than 10 lakh rupees to fund their campaigns. In addition to this, she will have to see that places of worship are not used for election propaganda; that ministers do not use government vehicles for their campaign, and that they do not take major policy decisions after the elections are announced.
(b) Polling day − For this, Surekha will have to ensure that incidents of rigging and booth capturing do not take place.
(c) Counting day − For this, Surekha will have to see that the agents of all the candidates are present to ensure that counting is done properly.
Question 6: The table below gives the proportion of different communities among the candidates who won elections to the US Congress. Compare these to the proportion of these communities in the population of the US. Based on this, would you suggest a system of reservations in the US Congress? If yes, why and for which communities? If no, why not.
Portion of the community (in per cent) in the
|House of Representatives||Population of US|
Answer: Based on the table, a reservation for the Hispanic community is a good idea. This is to make their representation in proportion to the percentage of their population.
Can we draw the following conclusions from the information given in this chapter? Give two facts to support your position for each of these.
(a) Election Commission of India does not have enough powers to conduct free and fair elections in the country.
(b) There is a high level of popular participation in the elections in our country.
(c) It is very easy for the party in power to win an election.
(d) Many reforms are needed to make our elections completely free and fair.
Answer: (a) We cannot come to this conclusion. The Election Commission of India is powerful enough to conduct free and fair elections. It implements the code of conduct and punishes any candidate or party that violates it. While on election duty, government officials work under the EC and not the government.
(b) This is a correct conclusion. It is supported by the facts that voter turnout has increased over the past years. At the same time, election-related activities in the last few years have seen a larger participation by the people.
(c) This is an incorrect conclusion. The ruling parties routinely lose elections. Candidates who are known to spend a lot of money often lose elections.
(d) This is a correct conclusion. Reforms are needed because candidates and parties with a lot of money enjoy an unfair advantage. Also some candidates have criminal connections which they use to terrorise the voters and other candidates.
Question 8: Chinappa was convicted for torturing his wife for dowry. Satbir was held guilty of practicing untouchability. The court did not allow either of them to contest elections. Does this decision go against the principles of democratic elections?
Answer: This decision does not go against the principles of democratic elections as both Chinappa and Satbir are criminals, and hence, should be prevented from holding positions in the central or state assemblies.
Question 9: Here are some reports of electoral malpractices from different parts of the world. Is there anything that these countries can learn from India to improve their elections? What would you suggest in each case?
(a) During an election in Nigeria, the officer in charge of counting votes deliberately increased the votes of one candidate and declared him elected. The court later found out that more than five lakh votes cast for one candidate were counted in favour of another.
(b) Just before elections in Fiji, a pamphlet was distributed warning voters that a vote for former Prime Minisiter, Mahendra Chaudhry will lead to bloodshed. This was a threat to voters of India origin.
(c) In the US, each state has its own method of voting, its own procedure of counting and its own authority for conducting elections. Authorities in the state of Florida took many controversial decisions that favoured Mr. Bush in the presidential elections in 2000. But no one could change those decisions.
(a) In this case, representatives of each candidate should be present to make sure that the votes are counted in a fair way.
(b) The election commission should set up an enquiry into the case and debar the candidate or party involved in distributing such pamphlets.
(c) There should be a single election commission which should be free from political influence and should be responsible for conducting elections throughout the country.
Question 10: Here are some reports of malpractices in Indian elections. Identify what the problem in each case is. What should be done to correct the situation?
(a) Following the announcement of elections, the minister promised to provide financial aid to reopen the closed sugar mill.
(b) Opposition parties alleged that their statements and campaign was not given due attention in Doordarshan and All India Radio.
(c) An inquiry by the Election Commission showed that electoral rolls of a state contain name of 20 lakh fake voters.
(d) The hoodlums of a political party were moving with guns, physically preventing supporters of other political parties to meet the voters and attacking meetings of other parties.
(a) By promising financial aid to the sugar mill, the minister announced a policy decision. This is not right since policy decisions cannot be made after the elections are announced. The minister should not be allowed to contest the elections.
(b) By not giving the opposition party’s statements and campaign due attention in Doordarshan and All India Radio, the government gained an unfair advantage over the opposition. To counter this, the opposition should be given sufficient time on the national media.
(c) The presence of the fake voters means that the elections were rigged by the authorities who prepared the electoral rolls. The election commission should supervise preparation of fresh electoral rolls.
(d) By using hoodlums, the political party is terrorising its rivals. The election commission should order the arrest of the hoodlums and bar the party from the elections.
Ramesh was not in Class when this chapter was being taught. He came the next day and repeated what he had heard from his father. Can you tell Ramesh what is wrong with these statements?
(a) Women always vote the way men tell them to. So what is the point of giving them the right to vote?
(b) Party politics creates tension in society. Elections should be decided by consensus not by competition.
(c) Only graduates should be allowed to stand as candidates for elections.
(a) The statement is wrong because the policy of secret ballot ensures that an individual can vote for whoever he/she wants. Women are fully capable of taking decisions on their own and selecting the candidate they like.
(b) It is true that party politics creates tension in the society, but it is wrong to say that elections should be decided by consensus. Competition in politics works out for the good of the people as politicians compete with each other in fulfilling their promises. They might not be honest, but they know that they need to work to be elected. Thus, even their selfish actions benefit the people.
(c) Educational qualification is not required to understand the people’s needs, and to represent their interests. Thus, it is not necessary for politicians to be graduates.