Justalkin Episode 55: Polls & people, here are the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections in numbers
The Election Commission is serving us the polls like a TV series - across seasons and phases. This is Justalking brought to you by in.com. This is like watching a Suraj Barjatya movie. Multiple characters, songs for promotions and super long! Right from getting new voters to sign up till counting day, everything needs to be supervised and made sure everything works like clockwork. With 29 States, 7 Union Territories and millions of people turning up to vote, let’s take a look at Indian elections in numbers this year.
2000 political parties, 8000 candidates for 543 seats
With 543 seats up for stakes, it’s not like one candidate per seat will cut it. You must’ve noticed a lot of ridiculous party symbols by now. One with an almirah, one with green chillies, probably to spice up our political lives, and one with an autorickshaw because we need to deal with rejection from yet another place. This season we have 2000 political parties fielding 8000 candidates for 543 seats. The number of disappointed candidates is bound to be way higher than the IIT-JEE.
7 Phases, 39 days
In 1951-52, when the process was really new, elections were conducted across a period of three months. But once we got the hang of it, the elections were held across four to ten days. The elections in 1980 were the shortest ever, having been held across just four days. But with fights breaking out and news constantly being shared on social media today, it seemed safe and sane to hold it across 39 days.
900 million voters
Social media made it easy for people to figure out the registration process. Also, nobody wanted to be left behind in the social media game. How could you not put up a picture of your inked finger when the rest of your timeline is flooded with it! Last elections, we saw 550 million people out of 830 million eligible voters turning up to vote. This year, officials saw a rise by millions, saying 900 million people were eligible. It’ll be easy to track who voted this year. Just run a search on social media!
14 billion cost
Elections in India can be a really expensive affair. Right from indelible ink, which needs to be procured from Mysore, the only place allowed to supply ink for elections. Apart from that, there’s the cost of officials, transport, advertising, even board games that explain the electoral process. Reports say it costs 14 billion rupees. There are also other reports that claim different amounts, but what most agree upon is that it costs twice as much as the Lok Sabha elections 2014.
1 million polling stations
Last elections, the EC made sure no voter had to travel more than 8.5 kilometres to cast their vote. This year, they made sure polling stations were just 2 kilometres away from a voter’s house. Polling stations also had to provide necessities like drinking water, first aid and ambulances, facilities for disabled people, while some took the extra step of providing toys for children whose parents went in to exercise their right.
11 million polling officials
You need 11 million officials to manage 900 million adults. Because it’s election time and you never know whose tempers flare up when. We take this personally in India! Officials had to be trained in the process, even to use apps that were developed for the elections, on security and other important guidelines. Most importantly, they had to remain neutral at ground level, not sabotaging months of campaigning that candidates put in. Nobody needs a plot twist like that.
The election commission made a rule stating candidates had to advertise their criminal records if they had any, at least three times during electioneering, on their own expense. Some parties approached the EC, asking for permission to pay for it, and let the candidates off the hook. But the EC remained firm, stating that a person who committed the crime had to pay for it. Even if it was for advertising the crime itself. Phase 1 saw 17% candidates with criminal records, phase 2 saw 16%, and phase 3 according to some reports had 35% of the candidates with criminal records. It’s almost becoming a rite of passage.
Although we were one of the first countries with a female Prime Minister, and a country with a female defence minister, with some states having strong female leaders, the ratio of women voters to the number of women in parliament is really skewed. With 48% of registered voters being female, only 11% of the seats are held by them. Although steps were taken to encourage more female participation, it was discovered that in some places, women were fielded by their husbands and made to be political puppets. It’s politics, and games will be played.
545 seats in total, with 2 of them already reserved, we see the battle roll out for that coveted 272 seat win. The real competition though will unfold after May 23rd where candidates will swear fealty to different sides in the blink of an eye. Politics and politicians in their element, this Lok Sabha season. This is Justalkin brought to you by in.com. Read More