Elections is a formal decision-making process in which the people
of the country choose an individual to hold public office.
India has an federal government, with elected officials at the
federal, state and local levels. At the national level, the head of
the government, The Prime Minister, is elected by the members
of Lok Sabha, lower house of the parliament of India. All
members of Lok Sabha except two, who can be nominated by
president of India, are directly elected through general elections
which take place every five years, in normal circumstances,
by universal adult franchise.
Members of Rajya Sabha, upper house of Indian parliament, are
elected by elected members of the legislative assemblies of
states and Electoral college for UnionTerritories of India.
In year 2009, the elections involved an electorate of 714 million
people (larger than both EU and US elections combined). In year
2014, the Electoral Strength of India increased to 814.5
Million. Declared expenditure has trebled since 1989 to almost
$300 million, using more than one million electronic voting
3. The size of the huge electorate mandates that elections be conducted
in a number of phases (there were four phases in 2004 General
Elections and five phases in 2009 General Elections).
It involves a number of step-by-step processes from announcement
of election dates by the Election Commission of India, which brings
into force the 'model code of conduct' for the political parties, to the
announcement of results and submission of the list of successful
candidates to the executive head of the state or the centre. The
submission of results marks the end of the election process, thereby
paving way for the formation of the new government.
4. Indian Electoral System
The Parliament of India comprises the head of the state and the
two Houses which are the legislature.
The President of India is elected for a five-year term by
an electoral college consisting of members of federal and state
The House of the People (Lok Sabha) represents citizens of India
(currently the members of Lok Sabha are 545, out of which 543
are elected for 5-year term and 2 members represent the Anglo-
Indian community).The 545 members are elected under
the electoral system.
Council of States (Rajya Sabha) has 245 members, 233 members
elected for a six-year term, with one-third retiring every two
years. The members are indirectly elected, this being achieved by
the votes of legislators in the state and union (federal) territories.
The elected members are chosen under the system
of proportional representation by means of the Single
Transferable Vote. The twelve nominated members are usually an
eclectic mix of eminent artists (including actors), scientists,
jurists, sportspersons, businessmen and journalists and common
5. History of Elections in India
Lok Sabha is composed of representatives of the people chosen
by direct election on the basis of the adult suffrage. The
maximum strength of the House envisaged by the Constitution is
552, which is made up by election of up to 530 members to
represent the States, up to 20 members to represent the Union
Territories and not more than two members of the Anglo-Indian
Community to be nominated by the President, if, in his/ her
opinion, that community is not adequately represented in the
lower house, Lok Sabha.
In 1952 Lok Sabha Elections there were 1,874 candidates, which
rose to 13,952 candidates in 1996. However in 2009 Lok Sabha
Elections only 8,070 candidates contested.
6. 1st Lok Sabha (1951-52)
The Indian general election of 1951–52 elected the first Lok Sabha
since India became independent in August 1947.
Until this point, the Indian Constituent Assembly had served as
an interim legislature.
Polling was held between 25 October 1951 and 21 February 1952.
The very first votes of the election were cast in the Tehsil (district)
of Chini in Himachal Pradesh.
The Indian National Congress (INC) won a landslide victory,
winning 364 of the 489 seats and 45% of the total votes polled.
This was over four times as many votes as the second-largest
Jawaharlal Nehru became the first democratically elected Prime
Minister of the country.
The Voter turnout in the first Lok Sabha (1951-52) Elections was
7. 2nd Lok Sabha (1957)
The Indian general election of 1957 elected the second Lok Sabha
The election was held from 24 February to 14 March, just over
five years after the previous general elections.
There were 494 seats elected using ”first past the post voting”
system. Out of the 403 constituencies, 91 elected two members,
while the remaining 312 elected a single member.
The multi-seat constituencies were abolished before the next
Under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, the Indian National
Congress easily won a second term in power, taking 371 of the
494 seats. They gained an extra seven seats (the size of the Lok
Sabha had been increased by five) and their vote share increased
from 45.0% to 47.8%. The INC won nearly five times more votes
than the Communist Party, the second largest party.
In addition, 19.3% of the vote and 42 seats went to independent
candidates, the highest of any Indian general election.
8. 3rd Lok Sabha (1962)
The Indian general election of 1962 elected the third Lok Sabha of
India and was held from 19 to 25 February.
Unlike the previous two elections but as with all subsequent
elections, each constituency elected a single member.
Jawaharlal Nehru won another
landslide victory in his third and
final election campaign.
The Indian national Congress
took 44.7% of the vote and won
361 of the 494 seats.
This was only slightly lower
than in the previous two
elections and they still held
over 70% of the seats in the
9. 4th Lok Sabha (1967)
The Indian general election of 1967 elected the fourth Lok Sabha
of India and was held from 17 to 21 February.
The 27 Indian states and union territories were represented by
520 single-member constituencies (an increase of 26).
Under the leadership of Indira Gandhi, the Indian national
Congress won a fourth consecutive term in power and over 54%
of the seats, while no other party won more than 10% of the
votes or seats. However, the INC's victory was significantly lower
than the results they had achieved in the previous three elections
under Jawaharlal Nehru.
By 1967, economic growth in India had slowed, the 1961-66 Five
Year Plan gave a target of 5.6% annual growth, but the actual
growth rate was 2.4%. Under Lal Bahadur Shastri, the
government's popularity was boosted after India prevailed in
the 1965 War with Pakistan, but this war had helped put a strain
on the economy. Internal divisions were emerging in the Indian
National Congress and its two popular leaders Nehru and Shastri
had both died. Indira Gandhi had succeeded Shastri as leader.
10. 5th Lok Sabha (1971)
India held general elections to the fifth Lok Sabha in March 1971.
This was the fifth election since independence in 1947.
The 27 Indian states and union territories were represented by
518 constituencies, each with a single seat.
Under the leadership of Indira Gandhi, the Indian National
Congress (R) led a campaign which focused on reducing poverty
and won a landslide victory, overcoming a split in the party and
regaining many of the seats lost in the previous election.
During her previous term, there had been internal divisions in the
Indian National Congress between Indira Gandhi and the party
establishment, especially Moraji Desai. In 1969, she was expelled
from the party, causing a split. Most of the Congress MPs and
grassroots support joined Gandhi's Indian National Congress (R)
faction, which was recognized by the Election Commission as
being the successor to the previous party. 31 MPs who
opposed Gandhi became the Indian National Congress
(Organization) party. Despite the split, the Ruling faction gained
votes and seats to win a strong majority, whereas the
Organization faction lost half of their seats.
11. 6th Lok Sabha (1977)
In a major turn of events, the ruling Congress lost control of India
for the first time in independent India in the Indian general
The hastily formed, Janata alliance of parties opposed to the
ruling Congress party, won 298 seats. Moraji Desai was chosen as
the leader of the alliance in the newly formed parliament and
thus became India's first non-Congress Prime Minister on 24
The Congress lost nearly 200 seats. Prime Minister Indira
Gandhi and her powerful son, Sanjay Gandhi both lost their seats.
The election came after the end of The Emergency that Prime
Minister Gandhi had imposed in 1975; it effectively suspended
democracy, suppressed the opposition, and took control of the
media with authoritarian measures.
The opposition called for a restoration of democracy and Indians
saw the election results as a repudiation of the Emergency.
12. 7th Lok Sabha (1980)
India held general elections to the seventh Lok Sabha in January,1980.
The Janata Party alliance came into power after the elections to the 6th
Lok Sabha held in 1977, riding the public anger against the Congress and
the Emergency but its position was weak
Finally, the Janata Party, an combination of socialists and nationalists,
split in 1979 when several coalition members such as the Bharatiya Jana
Sangh (BJS) withdrew support to the government.
Subsequently, Desai lost a trust vote in parliament and resigned. Charan
Singh, who had retained some partners of the Janata alliance, was sworn
in as Prime Minister in June 1979. He called for elections in January 1980
and is the only Prime Minister of India never to have faced parliament.
The fight between Janata Party leaders and the political instability in the
country worked in favor of Indira Gandhi's Congress (I), that reminded
voters of the strong government of Indira Gandhi during campaigning.
In these elections, the Congress (I) won 353 Lok Sabha seats. The Janata
Party alliance continued to split over the subsequent years but recorded
important landmarks in the political history of India: it was the first
coalition to govern India, and proved that the Congress could be defeated.
13. 8th Lok Sabha (1984-85)
General elections were held in India in 1984 soon after the
assassination of previous Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, though
the vote in Assam and Punjab was delayed until 1985 due
to ongoing fighting.
The election was won convincingly by the Indian National
Congress of Rajiv Gandhi (son of Indira), who claimed 414 seats
in a 533 seat parliament, the majority being 267.
TheTelugu Desam Party of N.T. Rama
Rao, a regional political party from the
southern state of Andhra Pradesh, was
the second largest party, winning 30
seats, thus achieving the distinction
of becoming the first regional party
to become a national opposition party.
14. 9th Lok Sabha (1989)
General elections were held in India in 1989 to elect the members
of the ninth Lok Sabha.
The result was a loss for the Indian National Congress and Rajiv
Gandhi, because all the opposition parties formed together a
minority government under V. P. Singh and the National Front.
The National Front was able to secure the first minority
government, since 1947 Independence, with the help of the Left
Parties and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The Communists and the BJP declined to serve in the
government, preferring to support it from outside.
15. 10th Lok Sabha (1991)
General elections were held in India in 1991 to elect the members
of the tenth Lok Sabha.
The result of the election was that no party could get a majority,
so a minority government (Indian National Congress with the
help of left parties) was formed, resulting in a stable government
for the next 5 years, under the new Prime Minister P. V.
16. 11th Lok Sabha (1996)
General elections were held in India in 1996 to elect the members
of the eleventh Lok Sabha.
The result of the election was a hung parliament, which would
see three Prime Ministers in two years and force the country back
to the polls in 1998.
The United Front, was created and got support from 332
members out of the 545 seats in the Lok Sabha, resulting in H. D.
Deve Gowda from the Janata Dal being the 12th Prime Minister of
17. 12th Lok Sabha (1998)
General elections were held in India in 1998, after the
government elected in 1996 collapsed and the twelfth Lok
Sabha was convened.
New elections were called when Indian National Congress (INC)
left the United Front government led by I. K. Gujral, after they
refused to drop the regional Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)
party from the government after the DMK was linked by an
investigative panel to Sri Lankan separatists blamed for the
killing of Rajiv Gandhi.
The outcome of the new elections was also indecisive, with no
party or alliance able to create a strong majority.
Although the Bharatiya Janata Party's Atal Bihari
Vajpayee retained his position of Prime Minister getting support
from 286 members out of 545, the government collapsed again in
late 1998 when the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam,
with its 18 seats, withdrew their support, leading to new
elections in 1999. It also marked the first time since
independence that India's traditional governing party, the INC,
failed to win two consecutive elections.
18. 13th Lok Sabha (1999)
General Elections were held in India from 5 September to 3
October 1999, a few months after the KargilWar.
The thirteenth Lok Sabha election is of historical importance as it
was the first time a united front of parties managed to attain a
majority and form a government that lasted a full term of five
years, thus ending a period of political instability at the national
level that had been characterized by three general elections held
in as many years.
19. 14th Lok Sabha (2004)
Legislative Elections were held in India in four phases between April 20 and
May 10, 2004. Over 670 million people were eligible to vote, electing 543
members of the fourteenth Lok Sabha.
On May 13, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its
alliance National Democratic Alliance conceded defeat.
The Indian National Congress, which had governed India for all but five
years from independence until 1996, returned to power after a record
eight years out of office. It was able to put together a comfortable
majority of more than 335 members out of 543 with the help of its allies.
The 335 members included both the Congress-led United Progressive
Alliance, the governing coalition formed after the election, as well as
external support from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi
Party (SP), Kerala Congress (KC) and the Left Front.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi surprised observers by declining to
become the new Prime Minister, instead asking former Finance Minister
Manmohan Singh, a respected economist, to head the new government.
20. 15th Lok Sabha (2009)
India held General Elections to the fifteenth Lok Sabha in five phases
between 16 April 2009 and 13 May 2009.
With an electorate of 714 million, it has been the largest democratic
election in the world till the Indian General Elections 2014held from 7 April
Elections are organized by the Election Commission of India (ECI) and are
normally held in multiple phases to better handle the large electoral base
and its security concerns. The 2009 elections were held in five phases. In
February 2009, $ 200.5 million was budgeted for election expenses by the
A total of 8070 candidates contested for 543 Lok Sabha seats. The average
election turnout over all 5 phases was around 59.7%. The results of the
election were announced within three days of phase five, on 16 May
2009, following the first past the post system.
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) led by the Indian National
Congress formed the government after obtaining the majority of seats
based on strong results in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra,
Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh andWest Bengal.
21. 16th Lok Sabha (2014)
The Indian general election of 2014 was held to constitute the sixteenth
Lok Sabha, electing members of parliament for all 543 parliamentary
constituencies of India. Running in nine phases from 7 April to 12 May
2014, this was the longest election in the country's history. According to
the Election Commission of India, 814.5 million people were eligible to
vote, with an increase of 100 million voters since the last General Election
2009, making this the largest-ever election in the world. Around 23.1
million or 2.7% of the total eligible voters were aged 18–19 years. A total
of 8,251 candidates contested for the 543 Lok Sabha seats. The average
election turnout over all nine phases was around 66.38%, the highest ever
in the history of Indian general elections.
The National Democratic Alliance, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, won
a sweeping victory, taking 336 seats. The BJP itself won 31.0% of all votes
and 282 (51.9%) of all seats. It is the first time since the 1984 Indian
general elections that a party has won enough seats to govern without the
support of other parties.
The United Progressive Alliance, led by the Indian National Congress, won
58 seats, 44 (8.1%) of which were won by the Congress.
22. History of Political Parties
The dominance of the Indian National Congress was broken for the first
time in 1977, with the defeat of the party led by Indira Gandhi, by an
unlikely coalition of all the major other parties, which protested against the
imposition of a controversial Emergency from 1975–1977. A similar
coalition, led by V. P. Singh was swept to power in 1989 in the wake of
major allegations of corruption against the incumbent Prime Minister, Rajiv
Gandhi. It, too, lost its steam in 1990.
In 1992, the here-to-fore one-party-dominant politics in India gave way to
a coalition system wherein no single party can expect to achieve a majority
in the Parliament to form a government, but rather has to depend on a
process of coalition building with other parties to form a block and claim a
majority to be invited to form the government. This has been a
consequence of strong regional parties which ride on the back of regional
23. While parties like the TDP and the DMK had traditionally been strong
regional contenders, the 1990s saw the emergence of other regional
players such as the Lok Dal, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and
the Janata Dal. These parties are traditionally based on regional
aspirations, e.g. Telangana Rashtra Samithi or are strongly influenced by
caste considerations, e.g. Bahujan Samaj Party which claims to represent
In recent polls of 2014 Bharatiya Janata Party has achieved the simple
majority on its own with securing 282 seats and their alliance NDA has
secured 335 seats. Narendra Modi widely recognized as a strong leader
with economic developmental focus is now the prime minister .
24. Types of Elections in India
The various types of elections in India are:
1) General Elections: The candidates are elected for the Lok Sabha and they
are called MPs(Member of Parliament). These elections are held every five
2) Assembly Elections: The State Assembly elections in India are the
elections in which the Indian electorate choose the members of the Vidhan
Sabha (or Legislative/State Assembly). They are held every five years and
the members of the Legislative Assembly are called MLAs.
3) Rajya Sabha Elections: It is elected by state and territorial legislatures.
Terms of office are for six years, with one third of the members retiring
every two years.
4) President Election: The President is elected, from a group of nominees,
by the elected members of the Parliament of India (Lok Sabha and Rajya
Sabha) and of the state legislatures (Vidhan Sabhas), and serves for a term
of five years.
25. 5) Elections of MLC: The Legislative Council is the permanent body which
cannot be dissolved. One third of its members are elected by local bodies, one
third by members of Legislative Assembly, one twelfth by experienced
graduates of the state, one twelfth by teachers and one sixth by the Governor.
Term of office is six years.
6) Elections of Municipal Corporation: The committee of Municipal Corporation
consists of a Mayor and his Councilors. The members are elected for a term of
five years from various wards in the city.
7) Gram Panchayat Elections: The members of the Gram Panchayat are elected
directly from the wards of the village. They are called panches. One-eighth of
the seats are reserved for women.
8) Zila Panchayat Elections: The members called councilors are elected by
universal adult suffrage for a period of five years. The Chairmen of various
Panchayat Samithi are also the members of Zila Parishad.
9) Block Panchayat Elections: The members of the Panchayat Samithi consists
of the elected members of the area. These members elect the Chairman and
the Deputy Chairman. It is elected for a term of five years.
26. Electoral Process in India
Electoral Process in India takes at least a month for state assembly
elections with the duration increasing further for the General Elections.
Publishing of electoral rolls is a key process that happens before the
elections and is vital for the conduct of elections in India.
The Indian Constitution sets the eligibility of an
individual for voting.
Any person who is a citizen of India and above 18
years of age is eligible to enroll as a voter in the
It is the responsibility of the eligible voters to
enroll their names.
Normally, voter registrations are allowed latest
one week prior to the last date for nomination of candidates.
27. Government Expenditure on
The cost per voter in the 2009 general elections was Rs 12, a twentyfold
increase over the first election, held in 1952.
The total expenditure for the 2009 general election was Rs 846.67 Crore;
the 1952 election cost Rs 10.45 Crore total.
28. Voter Verifiable Paper Audit
Trial System (VVPAT)
On 14 August 2013 the Government of India amended the
elections rules to permit the use the Voter Verified Paper Audit
Trail (VVPAT) system.
The first election to implement the new system was a by-election
held in the 51 Noksen AssemblyConstituency of Nagaland.
Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system is introduced in 8
of 543 parliamentary constituencies as a pilot project in Indian
General Elections 2014.
VVPAT is implemented in Lucknow, Gandhinagar, Bangalore
South, Chennai Central, Javadpur, Raipur, Patna Sahib and
Generated slip tells voter to which party or candidate vote has
been given and also includes name of voter, constituency and
29. Pre - Elections
At first before the elections the dates of nomination, polling and
counting takes place.
The model code of conduct comes in force from the day the dates
No party is allowed to use the government resources for
The code of conduct stipulates that campaigning be stopped 48
hours prior to end of polling.
30. Voting Day
Government schools and colleges are chosen as polling stations.
The Collector of each district is in charge of polling.
Government employees are employed to many of the polling
Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are being increasingly used
instead of ballot boxes to prevent election fraud via booth
capturing, which is heavily prevalent in certain parts of India.
An indelible ink is applied usually on the left index finger of the
voter as an indicator that the voter has cast his vote. This practice
has been followed since the 1962 general elections to prevent a
31. “None of the Above” Voting
Option (Negative Vote)
"None of the above" is a proposed voting option in India that would allow
voters who support none of the candidates available to them to register an
official vote of "none of the above", which is not currently allowed under
India election regulation.
The Election Commission of India told the Supreme Court in 2009 that it
wished to offer the voter a None of the Above button on voting machines;
the government, however, has generally opposed this option.
On September 27, 2013, Supreme Court of India pronounced a judgment
that citizen's of India have Right to Negative Vote by exercising None of
the Above (NOTA) option in EVMs and ballot papers.
Election Commission has implemented this option of "None of the above"
voting option in EVM machines.
32. Post Elections
After the election day, the EVMs are stored in a strong room under
heavy security. After the different phases of the elections are
complete, a day is set to count the votes. The votes are tallied typically,
the verdict is known within hours. The candidate who has mustered
the most votes is declared the winner of the constituency.
The party or coalition that has won the most seats is invited by the
President to form the new government. The coalition or party must
prove its majority in the floor of the house (Lok Sabha) in a vote of
confidence by obtaining a simple majority (minimum 50%) of the votes
in the house.
33. Voter Registration
For a few cities in India, the voter registration forms can be
generated online and submitted to the nearest electoral office.
But in most of the states people have to do the registration in
person at the nearest office of the state election commissioner.
34. Absentee Voting
Currently, India does not have an absentee ballot system for all citizens
except in few exceptions.
Section 19 ofThe Representation of the PeopleAct (RPA)-1950 allows a
person to register to vote if he or she is above 18 years of age and is an
‘ordinary resident’ of the residing constituency i.e. living at the current
address for 6 months or longer.
Section 20 of the above Act disqualifies a non-resident Indian (NRI) from
getting his/her name registered in the electoral rolls. Consequently, it also
prevents a NRI from casting his/her vote in elections to the Parliament and
to the State Legislatures.
In August 2010, Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill-2010
which allows voting rights to NRI's was passed in both Lok Sabha with
subsequent gazette notifications on November 24, 2010.
With this NRI's will now be able to vote in Indian elections but have to
be physically present at the time of voting. Several civic society
organizations have urged the government to amend the RPA act to allow
NRI's and people on the move to cast their vote through absentee ballot
system. People for Lok Satta has been actively pushing combination of
internet and postal ballot as a viable means for NRI voting.
35. Cash for Votes in India
In December 2010 during the United States diplomatic cables le Wiki
leaks leaked a cable stating that political parties regularly bribe voters,
in the form of cash, goods, or services, before elections in India. It may
range from financing the construction of a community well to putting
into an envelope and delivering it inside the morning newspaper.
Politicians and their operatives have admitted to
violating election rules to influence voters.
The money used to pay for the bribes come from
the money raised through fundraising.
The practice is thought to have swung many
elections where the race was close.The Hindu news paper reported
that "Karti Chidambaram of the Congress, M. Patturajan, confidant of
Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers M.K. Alagiri and former
Mayor of Madurai, and Member of ParliamentAssaduddinOwaisi of
the Majlis-e-Ittenhadul Muslimeen spoke about how they, their
principals, or their parties made payments to voters during the