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India's General Elections 2014: An Overview. 14,April, 2014 Warsaw ,Poland. Dr S.Y. Quraishi Former Chief Election Commissioner of India [email protected] ,. India’s Giant Leap. India chose Democracy in 1950 G ranted universal adult suffrage in the very first election despite:

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India's General Elections 2014:

An Overview

14,April, 2014

Warsaw ,Poland.

Dr S.Y. QuraishiFormer Chief Election Commissioner of India

[email protected],


India s giant leap
India’s Giant Leap

  • India chose Democracy in 1950

  • Granted universal adult suffrage in the very first election despite:

  • a 16% literacy rate.

  • and a caste-based hierarchical social system.

  • oppressed masses of India had voted in many elections before Switzerland allowed its women and Australia its aborigines to vote.

4


63 years of indian elections
63 Years of Indian Elections

  • India has conducted 15 General Elections to Parliament and more than 340 General Elections to State Assemblies.

  • More than 3 million elected representatives – National, State and Local bodies.

  • Indian elections never missed the deadline, credibility never challenged.

  • Barak Obama hailed Indian Elections as “historic” and an “example for us all.”

  • . Hilary Clinton described it as "global gold standard".

5


Concerns of diversity
Concerns of Diversity

  • Inclusivity of all sections

  • None to be marginalised

  • Constitutional Safeguards for minorities :

  • Religious / Linguistic / Ethnic / Cultural

  • No intimidation allowed

6


Inclusiveness provisions for women
Inclusiveness : Provisions for Women

  • Equal Voting Rights from day 1

  • Separate queues for women at polling stations

  • Separate polling stations for women in some areas

  • Women Officers at polling stations for identity check of women voters at Polling Stations

  • Use of Women Police

9


Inclusiveness provisions for disabled
Inclusiveness : Provisions for Disabled

  • Ramps in all Polling Stations

  • Use of Braille on EVMs and Ballot papers

  • Allowing a companion for the infirm and disabled

10


Inclusiveness others
Inclusiveness : Others

  • Use of Symbols on the ballot for illiterate

  • Use of Multi-language Electoral Roll

  • Use of Multi-language Ballot Paper

  • Transgender given the option to describe themselves as “Others” in electoral rolls

11


The largest election in world history
The Largest Election in World History!

  • The size of 16th General Election to Lok Sabha

    • 814.5 million voters

    • 18-19 years 2.88% ( 0.75% in 2009)

    • Service Voters 13,28,621

    • 930,000 Polling Stations

    • 1.9 million Electronic Voting Machines

    • 11-12 m poll personnel to be deployed

    • Recognized National Parties - 6 (7)

    • Recognized State Parties - 47 (44)

    • Registered Parties - 1670 (1035)

    • Candidates contested (2009). - ? (8070)

12


More voters than every continent
More Voters than every Continent!

  • PopulationElectorate

  • Entire Europe (50 Countries) - 731m 449 m

  • Entire Africa (54 Countries) - 922 m 566 m

  • North America (41 Countries) - 528 m 324 m

  • South America (15 Countries) - 382 m 235 m

  • N&S. America (56 Countries) - 910 m 560 m

  • India - 1163 m 714 m

  • Commonwealth (52 Countries ex India) - 900 m approx.

13


The complexities
The Complexities

  • It’s not just size and magnitude. It is about:

    • Dealing with Regional, Religious, Ethnic, Cultural and Linguistic Diversities

    • Democracy even at the remotest locations

    • Separate polling station for a lone voter

    • Trekking 45 km in snow to reach 37 voters

    • Using elephants, camels, boats, cycles, helicopters, trains to ferry polling teams

    • Countrywide ‘vulnerability mapping’

    • Tracking information from each polling station

15


Electoral administration framework
Electoral Administration Framework

  • Election Commission of India – created by the Indian Constitution. Fiercely independent.

  • CEC and 2 ECs.

  • Right to vote to all above 18 years of age.

  • Conducting Elections of President, VP, Parliament and State Legislatures.

  • Delimitation of constituencies after each census.

16


Election machinery in states
Election Machinery in States

  • Chief Electoral Officers ( permanent). - 35

  • District Election Officers - 601

  • Returning Officers (Parliament) - 543

  • Returning Officers (Assembly) - 4120

  • Asstt. Returning Officers (Parliament) - 4600

  • Asstt. Returning Officers (Assembly) - 10,000

  • Electoral Registration Officers - 4120

  • Asstt. Electoral Registration Officers - 4800

18


Electoral roll the foundation
Electoral Roll - the Foundation

  • Health of ER ensured

  • Gender, Age cohorts, Elector- population ratio

  • Photo Electoral Rolls introduced.

  • Good deterrence against impersonation

  • Booth Level Officer (BLO) System introduced to ensure fidelity of ERs at doorsteps.

19


Mobilization of the staff
Mobilization of the Staff

Preparation for Elections -

  • Drawn from various Central and State Government departments - no private individual associated.

  • Staff on deputation with the Commission.

  • Staff subject to Commission’ disciplinary control.

  • Staff mobilized & deployed by the CEO under Commission’s instructions.

  • Neutrality non negotiable.

22


Preparation for elections training and deployment of staff
Preparation for Elections -Training and Deployment of Staff

  • Staff of various districts and states mixed/ randomised to ensure fairness.

  • Staff given nominal honorarium.

  • Deployment of Government employees keeps expenditure under check, enhances control.

  • Training : Different Layers

  • Tainted and aligned not associated.

23


Preparation for elections procurement of materials
Preparation for Elections - Procurement of Materials

  • Procurement of EVMs by the Commission.

  • Other materials by the CEOs and DEOs.

  • Standard procurement procedures followed.

  • Specifications of materials decided by the Commission in case of non standard items.

  • Advance planning by the Commission, CEOs and DEOs for procurement at their levels.

  • Safety margins.

24


Scheduling of elections
Scheduling of Elections

Preparation for Elections -

  • Considerations in scheduling:

    • Weather

    • Agricultural cycles

    • Festivals

    • Exam schedules

    • Public holidays

    • Logistical requirements

    • Law & order

    • Movement of Central police forces

    • Why PHASES?

21


Checking intimidation violence fraud
Checking Intimidation, violence & fraud

Preparation for Elections -

  • Vulnerability Mapping : a response to threat and intimidation of voters.

  • 86,782 villages / hamlets identified as vulnerable.

  • 373,886 persons identified as potential trouble makers.

  • Preventive measures taken.

  • Video-graphers (74,729) Digital cameras (40,599) deployed: a great deterrent

  • Hardly any complaint of threat and intimidation.

25


Comet communication for election tracking
COMET(Communication for Election Tracking)

  • Timely information is critical

  • Direct connectivity with all PSs (landline telephones, mobile phones, HF, VHF wireless networks, Satellite phones and even runners) established and pre tested

  • Proved an effective tool for tracking poll day events.

  • Deterrent for trouble makers.

28


Evms the wonder machine of indian democracy
EVMs – The Wonder Machine of Indian Democracy

  • Pilot -1982; all VS elections since 1998, full LS 2004

    • More than 1.4 million EVMs deployed in various locations across the country.

    • EVMs now used universally in all Elections.

    • Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) introduced.

30


Model code of conduct
Model Code of Conduct

  • Minimum standards of behaviour

  • Conduct of political parties / candidates

  • Public meetings, Processions, Campaigning, Media

  • Special checks on govt in power

  • Conduct on poll day

  • Handling of complaints

  • Just added: Code about Manifestos

32


Issues of concern
Issues of Concern

  • Role of Money Power

    • Expenditure monitoring complex and tough

    • “Paid News” and surrogate advertisements

  • Criminalization of electoral politics

  • Dependence on Central Police Force

    • Lack of faith in State Police

  • Urban and Youth Apathy

    • Measures to ensure enhanced participation

  • Blaming the Pitch and the Umpire

    • Rumours / social media

  • 35


    Use of technology
    Use of Technology

    • Greater use of Technology

    • A National Electoral Database for:

      • Better Citizen services and accessibility

      • Avoidance of duplicates in the database

      • Online registration

      • GIS for creation of polling stations

      • GPS for tracking of polling teams

      • Internet and mobile phones for Voter Education

    36


    Voter education the game changer
    Voter Education: The Game Changer

    • Voter Education / SVEEP

    • National, State & district plans for electoral participation

    • Research on voters’ behaviour

    • Special focus on urban, young and women voters

    • National Voters Day

    • Partnership with schools/ colleges/ Civil Society and Election Watch bodies

    • Documentation/ Inventory of voter education activities/ materials

    37


    Indian Express 16.05.09

    The Times of India 15.05.09

    Asian Age 14.05.09

    Some Media Reflections : 2009

    Hindustan Times 19.5.09

    Hindustan Times 19.05.09

    39


    Some media reflections 2
    Some Media Reflections (2)

    • “It is truly the greatest show on Earth, an ode to a diverse and democratic ethos….an inspiration to all the World”

    • - V Mitchell, New York Times, May 22, 2009

    • Indian voters show the way forward

    • Financial Times, London, May 17, 2009

    40



    Photo gallery elections 2009
    Photo Gallery - Elections 2009

    A group of Villagers with EPI cardsOfficials carrying EVMs and polling materials

    Electors going to exercise their Franchise

    Officials carrying EVMs and polling materials

    Officials checking EVMs and polling materials

    An Elector familiarizing himself regarding functioning of EVM

    43


    Photo gallery elections 20091
    Photo Gallery - Elections 2009

    Indelible ink being marked on elector’s finger

    An elder on way to cast her vote

    Electors waiting in Q

    Physically challenged casting her vote

    Prime Minister of India after casting his vote

    44


















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