There was a time when monarchy and dictatorship were firmly rooted in the world. However, in course of time, the days of monarchy and dictatorship have gone. Ultimately democracy has triumphed.
In the present-day world almost all the countries have democratic form of Government. In democracy, ultimate power of a State lies with the people of that State. People rule their country through their representatives who form the Government and run the administration on behalf of the people. People choose their representatives by casting votes in their favour. Such act of choosing is known as election. Election in which representatives are chosen in all the constituencies of a state is known as General Election.
India is a democratic country where voters are the electors. On the day of general election, these voters have to go to their respective polling stations to cast their votes. This occurs, generally at the end of every five years.
All the electors of a constituency are, in a collective sense or in a group sense are called the electorate of that constituency.
Firstly, the electors or voters elect their representatives which form a house which is named as ‘Electoral College’. The members of the Electoral college elect the necessary number of representatives who form the Parliament. But this sytem is not followed in India.
Electoral Roll is a list of people or a register of people who have right to vote in the election. Before the occurrence of the General Election, the Electoral Roll is revised and is made up-to-date with the enlistment of the new voters who have attained the age of eighteen years by the time of the General Election.
A constituency is an area holding a definite number of people or voters who are to elect only one representative by vote of majority. For the purpose of General Election, the country is divided into a number of constituencies on the basis of population. Before the General Election the constituencies are delimited on the basis of population in each of them. The number of people is increasing, and with that the number of voters too. Hence red limitation of the constituencies is necessitated.
Propaganda is allowed to all the political parties and to all the independent candidates contesting the election. Propaganda is allowed subject to public decency and morality in a peaceful manner without preaching any sectarian feeling, religious feeling and personal things. But no propaganda is allowed before forty-eight hours of the election.
Different political parties and independent candidates go to the voters to persuade them by visiting, canvassing and by making speeches to vote for the particular candidates. This work of persuading the voters is known as electioneering.
A polling station is a building or such other place where the people go tot vote at an election. It is generally a school building taken over for time-being for the purpose of General Election. A presiding officer with his two assistants come to the polling station for a day or so to conduct the election work. Polling agents of the candidates are allowed in the polling station.
A polling-box is placed on the table before the eyes of the presiding officer. His two assistants sit on two sides of a table one is with ballots and the electoral roll and the other with indelible ink. The polling box is firmly closed on all sides except a narrow chasm on the top for the ballots to pass through into the polling box.
In India, a ballot is a sheet of paper on which there are the names of the candidates and the different pictures assigned to them. The voter is to put a stamp-mark on the picture assigned to his chosen candidate.
Photo of the voter:
Since the General Election of 1965 the photo-system has been newly introduced. Every voter is photographed by Government Election Department and the voter is to produce this photo to the presiding officer for exercising his right to vote.
In India, we have the system of secret voting. No body should know except the individual voter himself in favour of which candidate he cast his vote. In order to facilitate this privilege of the voters a polling booth is provided in each of the polling stations. A polling booth is equipped with stamp-stick, stamp-pad and light on a table inside.
How a voter gives his vote:
On the appointed day an during the appointed time, a voter goes to his polling station with his photo previously supplied to him by the Election Department. There his name is searched out in the Electoral Roll (Electoral Register) and his photo is verified by the Presiding Officer. Then he takes a ballot, goes into the polling booths, stamps on his chosen picture, folds the ballot in the right way, comes near the Ballot Box and drops the ballot in the Ballot Box. Then an assistant puts the mark of the indelible ink near the nail of the ring-finger of his left hand. Then the voter goes out through the exit. Then another voter comes and follows the same process. In this way, all the voters, present there, cast their respective votes.
At the end of the day, the ballot-box is properly sealed and is carried to the appointed office (Generally District Treasury) to be carefully preserved till it is opened for counting. Later the poll is declared, i.e., the result of the General Election is officially make known to the public.
It is a matter of great that ragging, kidnapping, killing and forcibly taking away the ballot-box have been associated with election atmosphere by some jealous ruffians. The general election should be done in a peaceful atmosphere so that people will be able to exercise their franchise.
It is also a matter of great regret that the Indian students do not keep much information about the general election of our country. They do not like to know anything else except what is there in their text-books or course-books. This is not a good sign for the future of India. However in this respect, they should follow the example of Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru. When Nehru was only fifteen years old and was a student of the narrow school of England he was interested in many things outside his school course. Pundit Nehru writes in his autobiography.
“In many subjects probably, and especially in general knowledge, I was in advance of those of my age. My interests were certainly wider, and I read both books and newspapers more than most of my fellow-students……
I was greatly interested in the General Election, which took place, as far as I remember, at the end of 1905 and which ended in a great Liberal victory. Early in 1906 our form master asked us about the new Government and, to his surprise, I was the only boy in his form who could give him much information on the subject, including almost a complete list of members of Campbell-Bannerman’s Cabinet.
Pandit Nehru was hardly sixteen then. Peacefully, for this, co-operation of the general public is necessary. Now, quite drastic laws have been enacted so that nobody will dare to forcibly take away the polling-box or to disfigure any wall by writing election propaganda on by affixing such posters.
Note: This article/essay is written in easy words for School Students Only.