Thursday, 18 October 2012

Class IX - Electoral Politics

Q.1. Which of the following statements about the reasons for conducting elections are false?
(a) Elections enable people to judge the performance of the government.
(b) People select the representative of their choice in an election.
(c) Elections enable people to evaluate the performance of the judiciary.
(d) People can indicate which policies they prefer.
Ans. (a) and (c)

Q.2. Which of these is not a good reason to say that Indian elections are democratic?
(a) India has the largest number of voters in the world.
(b) India’s Election Commission is very powerful.
(c) In India, everyone above the age of 18 has a right to vote.
(d) In India, the losing parties accept the electoral verdict.
Ans. The first one — India has the largest number of voters in the world.

Q.3. Match the following :
(a) It is necessary to keep the voters                            (i) there is a fair representation of all  
     list up to date because                                                sections of our society
(b) Some constituencies are reserved for                      (ii) everyone has equal opportunity to 
     SCs and STs so that                                                    elect their representative
(c) Everyone has one and only one vote                       (iii) all candidates must have a fair 
     so that                                                                         chance of competing in elections
(d) Party in power is not allowed to use                       (iv) some people may have moved away 
      government vehicles                                                    because from the area where they voted last
Ans. (a) — (iv),  (b) — (i),  (c) — (ii),  (d) — (iii)

Q.4. List all the different election related activities mentioned in the chapter and arrange them in a time sequence, beginning with the first activity and ending with the last. Some of these activities are given below : releasing election manifestos; counting of votes; making of voters list; election campaign; declaration of election results; casting of votes; ordering of re-poll; announcing election schedule; filing nomination.
Ans. 1st step : Making of voters list
2nd step : Announcing election schedule
3rd step : Division of areas into constituencies
4th step : Filing of nominations
5th step : Parties present their manifestoes
6th step : Election compaign
7th step : Polling day : casting of votes
8th step : Ordering Repoll
9th step : Counting - declaration of election results.

Q.5. Surekha is an  officer in-charge of ensuring free and fair elections in an assembly constituency in a state. Describe what should she focus on for each of the following stages of election :
(a) Election campaign (b) Polling day (c) Counting day
Ans. (a) Surekha should ensure that following unfair means are not used in the campaign by the parties:
(i) Misusing government vehicles, machinery or resources.
(ii) Using any place of worship for election campaign.
(iii) Spending more than the expenditure limit allowed for an election campaign in a constituency.
(iv) Appeal in the name of religion or caste
(v) Ministers shall not lay foundation stones of any projects, take any big policy decisions or make any promises of providing public facilities once elections are announced. In short, to see that ‘Code of Conduct’ is not violated.
(b) Polling Day : There is no campaigning done. All campaigning should stop 36 hours before actual polling starts. No bribing or buying of voters. No rigging. Only voters in the voters list allowed to vote. Identities should be checked. Every voter votes only once, mark is put on the finger. Fair voting is done in the presence of an agent of the candidates.
(c) Counting Day : They should ensure that all EVMs are sealed. All EVMs are opened on the same day in a constituency. Agents of all candidates are present when counting is done. Results declared as soon as counting is done.

Q.6. The table below gives the proportion of different communities among the candidates who won elections to the US Congress. Compare these to the proportion of these communities in the population of the US. Based on this, would you suggest a system of reservations in the US Congress? If yes, why and for which communities? If no, why not?
                                                                                      Proportion of the community
                                                                                         (in per cent) in the
                                                               House of Representatives              Population of US

               Blacks                                                    8                                                13
               Hispanics                                                5                                                13
               Whites                                                    86                                              70
Ans. Students to be divided into groups of 6-7. Each group to hold a discussion and arrive at a conclusion. They must write their views as a group. Teacher must facilitate discussion and help students give their honest opinion.

Q.7. Can we draw the following conclusions from the information given in this chapter? Give two facts to support your position for each of these.
(a) Election Commission of India does not have enough powers to conduct free and fair elections in the country.
(b) There is a high level of popular participation in the elections in our country.
(c) It is very easy for the party in power to win an election.
(d) Many reforms are needed to make our elections completely free and fair.
Ans. (a) No, this is untrue. EC can order a repoll in case unfair means are used in elections. It can punish if a party or a candidate violates the code of conduct for elections.
(b) (i) Yes, in India, unlike USA, it is the illiterate, the uneducated and the underprivileged people who participate more in elections.
(ii) The number of people whose vote has gone up over the years, which proves the popularity of elections.
(c) (i) No, the ‘Code of Conduct’ for elections prohibits the misuse of power and government machinery by the ruling party.
(ii) If the ruling party fails to fulfil people’s expectations, it is voted out as it has been proved in India many times.
(d) Yes, there are some reforms needed :
(i) Candidates with criminal connections have won elections. This should not have happened.
(ii) Some families tend to dominate elections. Tickets are distributed to relatives from these families.

Q.8. Chinappa was convicted for torturing his wife for dowry. Satbir was held guilty of practicing untouchability. The court did not allow either of them to contest elections.
Does this decision go against the principles of democratic elections?
Ans. No, they don’t. Any one convicted of a crime is not allowed to stand for elections, so Chinappa was debarred. Satbir was also guilty of breaking a law by practising untouchability. So he was also debarred.

Q.9. Here are some reports of electoral malpractices from different parts of the world. Is there anything that these countries can learn from India to improve their elections? What would you suggest in each case?
(a) During an election in Nigeria, the officer in charge of counting votes deliberately increased the votes of one candidate and declared him elected. The court later found out that more than five lakh votes cast for one candidate were counted in favour of another.
(b) Just before elections in Fiji, a pamphlet was distributed warning voters that a vote for former Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, will lead to bloodshed. This was a threat to the voters of Indian origin.
(c) In the US, each state has its own method of voting, its own procedure of counting and its own authority for conducting elections. Authorities in the state of Florida took many controversial decisions that favoured Mr. Bush in the presidential elections in 2000. But no one could change those decisions.
Ans. Nigeria, Fiji and US can follow the Indian example of having a powerful Election Commission which is independent of the government. They should also have a ‘Code of Conduct’ for elections which would stop rigging of votes and parties threatening the voters as they did in Nigeria and Fiji. ‘The Code of Conduct’ should apply to the whole country and different states should not have different rules as in the case of Florida, USA.

Q.10. Here are some reports of malpractices in Indian elections. Identify what the problem in each case is. What should be done to correct the situation?
(a) Following the announcement of elections, the minister promised to provide financial aid to reopen the closed sugar mill.
(b) Opposition parties alleged that their statements and campaign was not given due attention on Doordarshan and All India Radio.
(c) An inquiry by the Election Commission showed that electoral rolls of a state contain name of 20 lakh fake voters.
(d) The hoodlums of a political party were moving with guns, physically preventing supporters of other political parties to meet the voters and attacking meetings of other parties.
Ans. (a) The problem in the first case was to gain some popular votes for the ruling party by making promises after the announcement of elections. This should not have been allowed.
(b) In the second, opposition parties were not given the same time to air their views and campaign for elections by the media — TV and Radio. More time was granted to the ruling party. Each party should have the same access to media and given equal importance by it.
(c) Fake voters list should be condemned, a new census taken, a new electoral voters list prepared by impartial agents.
(d) They should have been arrested and punished. This is use of force in favour of a party and breaks the ‘Code of Conduct’ for elections.

Q.11. Arun was not in class when this chapter was being taught. He came the next day and repeated what he had heard from his father. Can you tell Ramesh what is wrong with these statements?
(a) Women always vote the way men tell them to. So what is the point of giving them the right to vote?
(b) Party politics creates tension in society. Elections should be decided we consensus, not by competition.
(c) Only graduates should be allowed to stand as candidates for elections.
Ans. (a) He is being biased, he is denying the women their right to vote as they like. The constitution promises equality and no discrimination based on gender.
(b) With a population of millions a consensus can never be achieved. It is only through political competition, where the representatives of people are elected can be form a government.
(c) There is no guarantee that only a graduate can represent his/her people and be a good leader and administrator. Knowledge of the people’s needs, a desire to serve honestly is more important and there is no need to be a graduate for it. In India, this would disqualify a number of people from standing for elections.

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