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Chapter 6: Lok Sabha

Lok Sabha is composed of representatives of the people chosen by direct election on the basis of adult suffrage. It is called the House of the People {Lower House of Parliament}. The maximum strength of the House envisaged by the Constitution is 552 {Article 81 & 331}. 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 Honourable President, if, in his/her opinion, that community is not adequately represented in the House. Number of seats in the House of the People as per first Schedule of The Representation of People Act, 1950 is 543.

To become a member of the Lok Sabha, a person should be a citizen of India, not less than 25 years of age and possess such other qualifications as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament of India. Under normal situations, unless dissolved by the President, the Lok Sabha continues for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting. However, this period may be extended by Parliament by law if Emergency is proclaimed. The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are the Presiding Officers of the Lok Sabha.

The Lok Sabha {House of the people} was duly constituted for the first time on 2nd April 1952 after the first General Election held from 25th October 1951 to 21st February 1952. The Sixteenth Lok Sabha was constituted on 4th June 2014.

Parliament, from time to time, by law makes provision with respect to all matters relating to, or in connection with, elections to the Lok Sabha, including the preparation of electoral rolls, the delimitation of constituencies and all other matters necessary for securing the due constitution of the Lok Sabha.

6.3 : Registration of Political Parties and Symbols

Registration of political parties is governed by the provisions of section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. A party seeking registration under the said section with the Election Commission has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days following the date of its formation in the prescribed format with basic particulars about the party such as name, address, membership details of various units, names of office bearers, etc. Further, registered political parties, in course of time, can get recognition as 'State Party' or 'National Party' subject to the fulfilment of the conditions prescribed by the Commission in the Election Symbols {Reservation and Allotment} Order, 1968, as amended from time to time.

Commission adopted symbol system since the first general election Lok Sabha in 1951, when literacy rate was only 16%. Election symbols are commonly known objects, animate or inanimate, so that they are easily identifiable by the electors despite their illiteracy and ignorance and are readily distinguishable from each other.

Symbols are not allotted exclusively on registration. Symbols are reserved only for those political parties which, after registration, contest a general election and become eligible for recognition as national or state parties on the basis of their poll performance. Others contesting elections are required to choose, out of a list of free/unreserved symbols, at the time of elections. Registered unrecognized parties get preference in the matter of allotment of free symbols over Independent candidates.

After fourth general election 1967, Election Commission codified provisions relating to recognition of political parties and allotment of symbols at one place as Election Symbols {Reservation and Allotment} Order 1968 which is amended from time to time.

Even though standards of literacy since independence have vastly improved, symbol system has become a permanent feature of elections and electoral system in India. Political parties have become identified with their symbols. Electoral system did not change with introduction of Electronic Voting Machines {EVMs}. EVMs are electronic version of paper ballots with name and photograph of contestants and their symbols. Currently, 1814 (as on 13.12.2016) political parties are registered with Election Commission of India. Of these 7 are recognized national parties, 48 recognized state parties and 178 unrecognized parties.

Polling stations are generally setup for 1200 electors in rural areas and 1400 electors in urban areas barring exceptions. Polling stations are set up by district election officers with the approval of Election Commission. Separate polling stations are allowed for 300 or even fewer electors in remote locations. The total number of polling stations as of December 2016 in the country is 9, 68,752.

6.5 : Electoral Participation

Number of registered electors, voter turnout, and number of nominations filed, contesting candidates and participating political parties are some indices of electoral participation in democracy. Electoral participation rates depend on many factors, including the type of social groupings to which voters belong, voters' perceptions and beliefs, their places of residence, and a host of other factors. The Election Commission of India has adopted Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation [SVEEP] strategy to increase peoples' participation in the electoral process.

6.6 : Lok Sabha Election 2014

General Election to Lok Sabha was held in 2014 to constitute the 16th Lok Sabha. The Election Commission of India announced the schedule of General Election on 5th March 2014 and subsequently polling was held across the country on ten polling days between 7th April 2014 and 12th May 2014 and counting was done on 16th May 2014. Some innovative and best practices witnessed in Lok Sabha Election 2014 were:

  • Advance planning and preparation for all law and Order related plans was put in place.
  • Arrangements for treatment of all security personnel who sustained injury during election duty; including cashless facility at hospitals
  • The option of NOTA [None of the Above] on Electronic Voting Machines was introduced pan- India for the first time in Lok Sabha elections 2014
  • VVPATs [Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trial] were introduced in select PCs to ensure further transparency of recording of votes. After introducing an amendment to the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, a printer with a drop box was attached to a voting machine for printing a paper trail of the vote.
  • Voter slips were distributed across the country for Lok Sabha election to enable the voters to know at which polling stations/he is enrolled as a voter and their serial number in the electoral roll. All states reported a very high percentage of distribution of voter slips, between 90 to 100%.
  • Awareness Observers were deployed in Lok Sabha election to monitor the Systematic Voter Education and Electoral Participation [SVEEP] activities conducted in States /Union Territories along with observing the working of Media Certification and Monitoring Committees {MCMCs]. These were senior cadre officers from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
  • In a bid to attract voters to the polling booths and give a festive look to the electoral exercise, some model polling stations were set up across the country. The concept of model polling stations was brought about to provide a friendly and pleasant experience to the voters when they came to the polling station to cast their votes. Besides basic minimum facilities like drinking water, shelters, toilets, ramps for accessibility at all the polling stations; additional facilities like waiting halls, first aid kits etc. were also provided.
  • As a part of inclusion process, 'transgenders 'were categorised as 'third genders' in these elections. Of the total 28527 other electorate, 1968 voters exercised their right to vote.
  • Overseas Indian Residents were given right to vote provided they were registered themselves at the time of voting at their place of ordinary residence in India. Among the total 13039 electorate, 12234 were men and 804 were women. Of these, 10 exercised their right to vote.

6.6.6 : Votes Polled for 'NOTA'

According to the directions of Hon'ble Supreme Court, the Election Commission made provision in the ballot papers/EVMs for None of the Above [NOTA] option so that the voters who come to the polling booth and decide not to vote for any of the candidates in the fray, are able to exercise their right not to vote for any candidate while maintain the secrecy of their ballot. The provision for NOTA has been made since General Election to State Legislative Assemblies of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, NCT of Delhi and Rajasthan in October – December 2013 and continued in the General Election to State Legislative Assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim in April – May 2014 along with the General Elections to Lok Sabha 2014.

The votes polled against the NOTA option are not taken into account for calculating the total valid votes polled by the contesting candidates for the purpose of return of security deposits to candidates. Even if the number of electors opting for NOTA option is more than the number of votes polled by any of the candidates, the candidate who secures the largest number of votes has to be declared elected.

Since introduction of NOTA, Rules 49 [0] of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 [relating to electors deciding not to vote] has been repealed.

Symbol for NOTA has been introduced in 2015

Tables

6.1 Year wise number of constituencies in states/UTs in which general election to Lok sabha have been held
6.2 Election Programme
6.4 Polling stations
6.5 Electoral Participation
6.6 Lok Sabha Election 2014
  Download Chapter 6

Graph/Maps

A. Graph: Days of poll over Lok Sabha Elections
B. Graph: Political Parties - Registered and Participated over 3 LS Elections
C. Graphs: Electoral participation in 2014 Lok Sabha - Trends
D Graph: Seats won by Political Parties in Lok Sabha Elections
E. Graph: Vote Share of Party with Maximum number of Seats Won and of Runner Up Party in Lok Sabha Elections
F. Graph: State-Wise Parliamentary Constituencies - LS 2014
G. Graph: State- Re-poll Held
H. Graph: Constituencies with more than 16 Contestants
I. Graph: Average number of Contestants
J. Map: State wise Voter Turnout - Lok Sabha 2014
K. Graphs: Voter turnout comparison 2014 & 2009
L. Graph: NOTA Votes Lok Sabha Elections 2014
M. Map: NOTA Votes polled (%) - Lok Sabha 2014
 
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