Democratic Politics

Chapter : 1. Electoral Politics

Why Democratic Elections ?

Importance of Elections or why do we need elections ? Elections are exceptionally important in a democracy because of the following reasons :
1. All the citizens in a modern democracy cannot run the administration. Only their representatives can do it for them. In order to choose such representatives, the elections are a must.
2. Through elections alone the people can get rid of their cruel and unpopular government and in its place they can elect a new popular government.
3. It is through elections alone that an effective control can be maintained on the executive.
4. Without the elections a democratic government cannot be set up. It has been rightly said, “No elections no democracy.”
Why do Modern Democracies have Representative Governments ?
The modern democracies have representative governments due to the following reasons :
1. Present states are very big in size. They are not limited to one city. They are spread over vast areas which makes it quite impossible for all the residents to directly take part in the administration of their state.
2. The population of modern states is not confined to a few thousands. Rather it runs into several lakhs and crores, so the modern democracies are indirect or representative.
What Makes an Election Democratic ?
There are certain conditions which make an election democratic :
1. No person with dubious record should be allowed to contest the elections.
2. There should be more than one party to contest an election otherwise it will be a mere farce.
3. Elections must be held regularly after every few years.
4. Elections should be concluded in a free and fair manner and people should have full freedom to vote for any candidate they like.
Political Competition : Its Merits and Demerits. There is no denying the fact that political competition is essential in elections. It is pointed out that if there is no competition, there is no point in having elections. This competition allows the voters to judge for themselves which party would serve them better. Without this competition, no candidate shall ever feel himself responsible to his voters because he had not come to ask for their votes.
But political competition has many defects which must be removed to make political competition a more viable system.
1. It creates factionalism and creates a sense of disunity.
2. Political parties and candidates often level allegations against each other.
3. They often make false promises and try to deceive the public.
4. Afraid of dirty attacks, many good people do not like to contest elections.
Inspite of all the defects in political competition, the Constitution makers preferred this out of necessity. Regular electoral competition provides an incentive to political parties and leaders. They fully know they stand the chance of winning the elections if they serve and satisfy their voters. But if they fail in this task will not be able to win the next elections. Political competition may cause some ugliness and divisions yet ultimately it puts pressure on the political parties and their leaders to serve the people for their own survival.

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