Question 1: Which of the following statements about the reasons for conducting elections are false?
- Elections enable people to judge the performance of the government.
- People select the representative of their choice in an election.
- Elections enable people to evaluate the performance of the judiciary.
- People can indicate which policies they prefer.
Answer: (c) Elections enable people to evaluate the performance of the judiciary
Question 2: Which of these is not a good reason to say that Indian elections are democratic?
- India has the largest number of voters in the world.
- India’s Election Commission is very powerful.
- In India, everyone above the age of 18 has a right to vote.
- In India, the losing parties accept the electoral verdict.
Answer: (a) India has the largest number of voters in the world
Question 3: Match the following:
|Column I||Column II|
|(a) It is necessary to keep the voters list up to date because||(1) There is fair representation of all sections of our society|
|(b) Some constituencies are reserves for SCs and STs so that||(2) Everyone has equal opportunity to elect their representative|
|(c) Everyone has one and only one vote so that||(3) All candidates must have a fair chance of competing in elections|
|(d) Party in power is not allowed to use government vehicle because||(4) Some people may have moved from the area where they voted last|
Answer:a ⇨ 4, b ⇨ 1, c ⇨ 2, d ⇨ 3
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: Making of voters’ list ⇨ Announcing election schedule ⇨ Releasing election manifesto ⇨ Election campaign ⇨ Filing nomination ⇨ 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:
- Election campaign
Answer: She should see to it that expenditure limit is not crossed by a candidate. She should see to it that no misuse of government machinery takes place. She should also see to it that no candidate invokes religion or caste during canvassing.
- Polling day
Answer: She should crosscheck the voters’ list and check ID proof of the voters. She should take the help of security personnel in ensuring peaceful polling.
- Counting day
Answer: Counting should be done in systematic manner and polling agents of political parties should be kept at bay during the counting.
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.
|Proportion of the community (in per cent)|
|House of Representatives||US population|
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?
Answer: Blacks and Hispanics should be given reservation in the US Congress as per their percentage in the US population because their representation is not commensurate with their share in population.
Question 7: Can we draw the following conclusions from the information given in this chapter? Give two facts to support your position for each of these.
- Election Commission of India does not have enough powers to conduct free and fair elections in the country.
- There is a high level of popular participation in the elections in our country.
- It is very easy for the party in power to win an election.
- Many reforms are needed to make our elections completely free and fair.
Answer: (b) Contrary to perceptions, the popular participation in elections in India has shown an increasing trend. The recent assembly elections held in four states in 2013, saw voter turnout up to 80% in some constituencies.
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. Any person who is convicted for a crime has not right to remain a part of the society and hence has no right to contest the election.
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?
- 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 exercises votes cast for one candidate were counted in favour of another.
Answer: EVMs should be used and it should have a provision for making a paper trail of the votes. Vote data can also be stored on a cloud-based server for more transparency.
- Just before elections in Fiji, a pamphlet was distributed warning voters that a vote for former Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry will lead to bloodshed. This was a threat to voters of Indian origin.
Answer: The Election Commission should take stringent actions against responsible people and political group because this is a case of intimidating the voters.
- 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.
Answer: All the American states should try to arrive at consensus and should shift to electronic voting instead of the ballot papers. This would help in removing ambiguity.
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?
- Following the announcement of elections, the minister promised to provide financial aid to reopen the closed sugar mill.
Answer: Model Code of Conduct was not followed. The minister should be immediately taken to task by the Election Commission.
- Opposition parties alleged that their statements and campaign was not given due attention in Doordarshan and All India Radio.
Answer: In the modern times of multiple private TV channels and FM radios, this complaint holds little value. However, the Election Commission should analyse the matter and take corrective actions.
- An inquiry by the Election Commission showed that electoral rolls of a state contain name of 20 lakh fake voters.
Answer: Fresh electoral roll should be prepared in that state to remove the anomaly.
- 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.
Answer: More security personnel should be deployed in that constituency. All licensed arms and ammunition should be confiscated before the election.
Question 11: 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?
- Women always vote the way men tell them to. So what is the point of giving them the right to vote?
Answer: Since we follow the practice of secret ballot, so it is not possible to tell who votes for whom. But women education and awareness is the only way to come out of this problem.
- Party politics creates tension in society. Elections should be decided by consensus not by competition.
Answer: Competition works as both deterrent and motivator for the political candidates. A fear of losing the election and a motivation for winning the elections works in favour of people.
- Only graduates should be allowed to stand as candidates for elections.
Answer: There are certain jobs for which no educational qualification can be enough. Understanding the mood of people and governance are such tasks. Moreover, given the very low percentage of graduates in India, allowing only the graduates to contest elections would be a great injustice to a large section of the population.