Evolving political landscape and General elections in India

General elections 2024 are currently approaching there final phase in India. The BJP and its alliance partners seem positive of a sure victory. However, in this charged political environment a story of India’s democratic evolution is hidden. Herein, we are trying to unwrap some dimension of this story for our civil services aspirants and general public:

1. Historical Context:

  • India’s first general election in 1951-52 had a voter turnout of approximately 61%, a significant achievement considering the challenges of organizing such a massive exercise in a newly independent nation.
  • Since then, voter turnout has steadily increased, reaching around 67.4% in the 2019 general elections, highlighting the continued enthusiasm and engagement of Indian voters.

2. Political Landscape:

  • The Indian National Congress (INC) won a landslide victory in the first general election, securing 364 out of 489 seats in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament).
  • However, the 2014 and 2019 elections marked a significant shift, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) winning clear majorities on its own, indicating the rise of a new political force in Indian politics.

3. Key Themes and Trends:

  • Caste and identity politics: Data from various election studies highlight the significance of caste-based voting patterns, with parties often fielding candidates to appeal to specific caste groups.
  • Economic development: Surveys indicate that issues like unemployment, inflation, and rural distress have increasingly influenced voter choices, reflecting a growing demand for inclusive growth and development.

4. Election Dynamics:

  • High voter turnout: States like West Bengal, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu consistently record high voter turnouts, while states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have shown improvements in recent years. However, in the first 3 phases of general election 2024, the voter turnout in comparison to 2014 and 2019 election has been lower, which according to political experts is because 2024 is not as much of a politically charged election.
  • Electoral reforms: The introduction of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in 1999 has helped streamline the voting process and reduce electoral fraud, although concerns about tampering persist.

5. Impact of Technology and Media:

  • Social media penetration: India has one of the largest populations of social media users globally, with platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp playing an increasingly influential role in shaping public opinion and political discourse.
  • Television viewership: News channels experience a surge in viewership during election seasons, with debates and opinion polls contributing to the electoral narrative.

6. Challenges and Controversies:

  • Electoral malpractices: Reports of vote-buying, booth capturing, and electoral violence continue to surface, underscoring the need for stricter enforcement of election laws and greater transparency.
  • Money and muscle power: Data on candidates’ assets and criminal records reveal concerning trends, with a significant number of elected representatives facing criminal charges or allegations of corruption.
  • The EVM question: now that the Supreme Court in its recent verdict has cleared EVMs [electronic voting machines of any malpractice, the opposition would need to find other hinges to justify there electoral performance.
  • Institutional muscle: It’s been said that BJP used the political power to turn ED and CBI against opposition leaders, however in a recent media interview the prime minister has argued against this with a valid remark that how come the congress was not able to do the same in 2014 elections when they were in power.
  • Manifesto of redistribution: Prime minister Modi has openely come out against the UPA manifesto and explained in a media interview as to how this is an outdated urban naxalism and would only harm a progressive nation like India.

7. The Road Ahead:

  • Continued democratization: Despite challenges, India’s commitment to democracy remains strong, as evidenced by the peaceful transfer of power through regular elections and the active participation of citizens in the democratic process.
  • Leveraging technology: Harnessing the power of technology for voter education, registration, and monitoring can enhance the integrity and efficiency of India’s electoral system, ensuring greater accountability and transparency.
  • Strengthening civil society: Civil society organizations play a crucial role in promoting electoral integrity and holding political leaders accountable, emphasizing the importance of civic engagement and grassroots activism.

In summary, the general elections in India since independence have been shaped by a dynamic interplay of historical legacies, socio-economic transformations, and technological advancements. By examining key data and trends, we gain valuable insights into the evolving nature of Indian democracy and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in 2024-29.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top