The Indian election has kicked off in a grand manner with a record turnover of voters and polling stations is an exercise of democracy like we have never seen before. With nearly one-eighth of the world, roughly 900 million eligible voters line up to cast their vote in the single largest democracy in the world. India has opted to conduct the entire election process in multiple phases and that means that the Political campaigns matter more as they help in reaching the undecided and information-deprived voters with the perception of winnability hold the key to winning this general election. This is also an election that is fiercely contested not only in the hot and dusty rallies but also in the prevalent world of social media as Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, and Twitter.
1/6. India is holding the biggest election in history
India is the 2nd highest populated country in the world is conducting the world’s largest election as a democracy. In the days from 11th April and May 19, India will be moving more than 2.5 lakh people over 25 helicopters, 500 trains and 17500 vehicles, hundreds on horses and mules and some o boats and ship which would come to a cost of Rs 200 crores. This is the sheer intensity and logistics of carrying out, securing and organizing the world’s biggest election in the world’s largest democracy.
The pure logistical challenge that the government is facing is immense as it takes months and months of planning, resource gathering, meticulous coordination, and exceptional management to get all the voters spread across the nation to vote across 10 lakh booth for the 543 seats. The departments of Home Ministry, The Election commission and the Central Reserve Police Force have held several meetings creating a plan, addressing challenges and finding solutions.
2/6. Who are the Eligible Voters
The eligibility of a voter is decided on by several factors of which the basic one is of being above the age of 18. Eighty-four million new voters were added in this election making the total number of voters to 900 million of the total population of 1.3 billion people in India. Female voters are a little less than half, while 300 million are illiterate and almost 39,000 identify as transgender. No voters are meant to travel more than 2Km to reach a polling station. Because of the enormous number of election personnel and security personnel involved, voting is taking place in seven stages between 11 April and 19 May. In the past, Indias’s historic first election in 1951-1952 took 3 months to complete. Between 1982 and 1989, elections were completed in four to ten days. The shortest ever election took place in four days in 1980.
3/6. Number of parties in India
India has a great number of political parties that are present all around the country out of which almost 2300 are registered out of which 7 are recognized at the national level and 59 at the state level. In the previous election, several parties had contested with more than 8,000 candidates for the lower house of the parliament, which constitutes of 543 seats that are up for grabs. In the election 2019, the primary parties contesting nationwide are the Prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP), and the opposition Congress party of his main rival Rahul Gandhi, which is dominating the political landscape. Mr. Narendra Modi is running for his second term as the Prime Minister meanwhile Mr. Rahul Gandhi is running to become the Prime Minister of India. Although the minor parties don’t contest in the national stage, they are important because they are locally influential in many states and the larger parties seek a coalition with the smaller parties which could make all the difference.
4/6. How are the winners decided in the General Elections
The winner is decided by the majority number of votes system where the candidate with the highest number of votes in each is elected. The election nearly stretches for six weeks, with the voting that is held in seven separate phases to ensure all the polling booths are prepared and security is in place. India is holding the elections at a scale that has not been done before, deploying of around 10 million officials who will enforce the election rule, including no voter, has to travel more than 2 km to cast their ballot. Bringing this into effect is a grueling task that takes coordination and immense planning as a 20 member team of election officials and police will trek into the jungle of Arunachal Pradesh for a single voter. The winner will have many responsibilities to address including India’s economy, Job creation, Terror threats, and national safety and more.
5/6. Casting vote made easy and efficient
Casting votes have been a very rewarding experience as you are exercising one of your fundamental rights of democracy. This year the entire election will be done with the electronic voting machine. With many polling booths spread out throughout the country, millions of electronic voting machines will be deployed to even far off and hard to reach places, transported by helicopters and Camels. These EVM’s are briefcase size, battery-powered and can be easily transported. This year as a safety measure the VVPAT box is introduced, slips will be printed every time anyone casts a ballot and the slips are collected in a sealed box. After the voter casts his vote his hand is marked by indelible blue ink, ensuring that people don’t vote twice.
6/6. Declaring the results
The final results of the 6-week election end on May 19, with the results, declared four days later once the counting is completed once the entire counting of the 543 constituencies is completed. This year there could be a slight delay as the Supreme Court has asked for random inspection of the EVM results against the paper slips that are collected by the EVM machine from the polling station. In the case of a clear mandate, the results can be confirmed by noon. In the scenario that no party gets the majority, it may take several days for the government to form. In the last General election, BJP won by 10 seats more than it is required to form the first majority government in three decades.
So the opportunity and the responsibility to vote in this historic election is upon us, as the citizens of India we should express our freedom and the right to vote by taking part in the voting process. Find out the proposed election dates near you and visit your closest election booth to vote for your representative. Because each vote counts.