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Showing posts with label polling stations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label polling stations. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ode to 2014 India Lok Sabha Elections

“Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not the President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country”
Franklin D. Roosevelt 

There is a lot we can and should be critical of in India, and god knows we are all good at that, but let us for a moment also give credit where it is due and marvel at what we can achieve when we put our minds to it. Not sure if any other country in the world could have pulled this off, just based on the sheer logistics of it. I mean the US even had to have one of their recent elections decided by their Supreme Court.

The 2014 Indian elections are the largest in the history of the world. Yes, the history of the world, with approximately 815 million people eligible to vote. To put it in perspective, that is more people than the entire population of Europe.

The election will cover voting for 543 Parliamentary Constituencies, across 35 States and Union Territories. Nearly 10 million officials (including police and security personnel) will be deployed to facilitate free and fair elections. Constituencies vary vastly, not only in voter size but also in accessibility. Malkajgiri in Andhra Pradesh is the biggest Indian constituency in terms of voters, with around 2.95 million eligible voters. Lakshadweep is the smallest with 47,972 voters. In Lower Dibang Valley district of Arunachal Pradesh, Hukani polling station has 22 registered voters, and officials have to travel 22 km on foot to get there (source: Reuters)

Electronic Voting Machines are being used in all of the 930,000 polling stations that have been set up across the country. Basic Minimum Facilities for polling stations will include drinking water, shed, toilet, and ramp for disabled voters. Voters will also have a “None of the Above” option on voting machines.

The voting has been broken into 9 phases or poll days starting with the first Poll Day on 7th April, 2014 (Monday) and the tenth (last) Poll Day on 12th May, 2014, with the results being announced on 16th May 2014.

There have been a number of reported poll violations that include booth capturing, bogus voting and intimidation of voters across half a dozen states, but “what is true, though, is that these violations have been brought to light by the EC's staff and cameras, which has allowed them to be dealt with swiftly.” (source: However, in any undertaking of this magnitude there are bound to be some missteps and problems; what is commendable is how swiftly the EC has taken action and dealt with them.

The Election commission has gone through great pains to ensure free, fair, peaceful and participative elections; which in their words “are the life force of democracy”, and I think we can all agree that they have done a tremendous job and the world’s biggest democratic election process is something we can all celebrate and be very proud of!