Democratic Politics

Chapter : 1. Electoral Politics

Are the elections expensive ?

Some people hold the view that elections are a great burden on the government, political parties and the candidates which a developing country like Indian cannot afford. There is some truth in this statement. According to an estimate about Rs. 3,000 crores were spent in the Lok Sabha Elections in 2004 by the government, political parties and by different candidates.
But such an amount is worth spending on the elections because if there are no elections, there will be no democracy. One government will continue in the absence of elections which can become dictator and corrupt.
If we go deep, we come to know that only Rs. 50 were spent on one voter is Rs. 3000 crore are divided by the total number of voters for all the Lok Sabha seats. This is a small amount as compared to the liberties that the people enjoy in a democracy.
Seen from another angle, Rs 3000 crore is less than the cost of a single nuclear submarine for which we have to pay Rs. 3, 166 crores.
Importance of Secret Ballot :
In modern democracies, a voter casts his vote through secret ballot. Following are the main reasons given for adopting the system of the secret ballot :
1. In a secret ballot, the voters can express their choice freely and without any fear.
2. The voter is free from pulls and pressures under the secret ballot system.
3. It brings the desired changes but without any ill-feeling and wrongful attitude.
Election Manifesto and its Use :
The pamphlet that tells us about the programme, policies and aims of a political party is called the Election Manifesto. It has the following benefits :
1. The people know it for certain as to what the party will do if it comes out successful at the polls.
2. Manifestoes bring forth the differences between various political parties.
3. Even when the elections are over, the people can put pressure on the successful party to act according to its Manifesto.
Symbols and their importance : All the major or national political parties have been allotted well-known and permanent symbols by the Election Commission. As for example, the political symbol allotted to Congress is hand (Palm); a wheel or chakra to the Janta Dal; a lotus to the Bharatiya Janta Party; a farmer digging with a Mamti within a wheel to the Janta Party; the sickle and star to the C.P.I.(M) and the sickle and the leaf of paddy to the C.P.I. Recently (in 1997) the Bahujan Samaj Party has also been recognized as a national party and it has been allotted the symbol of an elephant.
Why symbols are allotted to the political parties :
1. Firstly, even an ordinary and an illiterate man can easily recognize the party by its symbol.
2. The symbols help the political parties to easily arrange their processions and meetings and carry on their propaganda from street .
3. If there are more than one candidates of the same name in the same constituency, the symbols prove all the more useful. Only by recognizing the symbols one can easily cast his vote.

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