India has a multi-party system, where political parties are classified as national, state or regional level parties. The status of party is accorded by the Election Commission of India, and the same is reviewed occasionally. All parties are registered with the Election Commission.
Frequently Ask Questions (FAQs)
Q1. How can a regional party become a national/state party? A regional political party can become eligible to be recognised as a national party if it is able to fulfill any of the following terms:
The regional party has been able to win 2% of the seats in the latest held Lok Sabha (11 seats) from a minimum of three different states.
In an election to the Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly,if the regional party is able to win 4 lok sabha seats and has polled 6% of the total valid votes in at least four states.
The regional party is recognized as a state party in a minimum of four states in the country.
Q2.. Who holds the highest power in the Government? As per article 53 (1) Of the constitution, the highest power is vested in the hands of The President of India. The President enjoys all constitutional powers and exercises them directly or through officers lower ranked than him. The President is to act in accordance with aid and advice tendered by the Prime Minister of India (head of government) and Council of Ministers (the cabinet) as described in Article 74 of the Indian Constitution.
Q3. What are the local body elections which happen in India? Municipality Elections Nagar Palika is an urban local body that is in charge of administering smaller district cities and bigger towns with a population of 100,000 or more.
Elections to Nagar Panchayat also known as Notified Area Council,exist in urban centres with more than 11,000 and less than 25,000 inhabitants.
Elections to Zila Parishad or The District Council is an elected body whose members are elected on the basis of adult franchise for a term of five years. It needs to have a minimum of 50 members with a maximum limit being 75.
Village Panchayat Elections : It’s mandatory for a village having a population of 500 to have a Gram Panchayat. Its members are elected by the villagers for a period of five years. The elections of the Gram Panchayat are conducted by state election commissioner in alliance with the District Collector and Tehsildar.
Election to Panchayat Samiti is composed of elected members of the area including the heads of the Gram Panchayats within the block area, the elected members of the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and the state legislature who belong to the block.
Q4. What is Universal Adult Suffrage? Universal Adult franchise gives all citizens of a country the right to vote without discrimination of religion, class, color or gender. It is based on the basic principle of democracy which is equality for all. To deny any person from exercising this free right to vote is violation of their right to equality.
Q5. What is the difference between general elections and assembly elections? General Elections are held every five years, for the selection of Members of Parliament. The MPs are the representative of people who are elected directly by the people on the basis of Universal Adult Suffrage. General Elections are conducted in the entire country in different phases. Once the elections have happened in all the states, the results are declared. The leader of the political party, which wins the national majority, is then selected to head the nation (Prime Minister of the country) to become the Chief Minister of the state.
Assembly Elections are held state wise in India every 5 years and in this the Indian electorates choose the members of the Vidhan Sabha (or Legislative Assembly). The elected members are called MLAs. The assembly elections are never carried out in same year across all states and union territories. The party which wins with majority can form government in the state. The majority party then elects a candidate who has contested election from the state
Q6. Who can vote in India? Any individual who is a citizen of the country and is above 18 years of age can vote in India.
Q7. What is article 370? Under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, Jammu & Kashmir is granted autonomy. It gives special status to the state: Because of this article, residents of Kashmir follow separate set of laws in terms of citizenship, property ownership, and other rights. Except finance, defence, communications, and foreign affairs, central government needs the state government’s consensus for applying all other laws.
Q8. How a Political party is registered? The first step towards being recognized as a political party is to get registered with the Election Commission of India. Registration is mandatory for a party, following which it can avail the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951
Q9. What is the process of selection of chief minister? Once the results of legislative assembly elections are out and a political party or alliance gets a majority stake, the MLAs of the said party/coalition sit and elect a head for them, and then the Governor invites that leader to form the government.
Q10. What are EVMs? The Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) have been introduced to bring in convenience in the electoral process and ensure flawless counting of votes. EVMs have proven to be a far better replacement for the old paper ballot system.
Q11. What is the outside support to Govt.? Outside support means supporting any political party which has a chance to get majority to form a government, but one provides outside support without taking any position/or actually joining that government.
Q12. What was the total strength of Lok Sabha in 1st general election? The total strength of Lok Sabha in the first general election was 489.
Q13. What are the main categories of electors in India? Electors are citizens who are eligible to vote in India. They are of three main types or categories–
General Electors– residents of India who can vote in a polling booth
Service Electors– residents of India who work for the Indian Government away from their home or are in the Armed Forces
Overseas Electors– non-residential Indians who have not taken citizenship of any other country
Q14. Who is eligible to be registered as a general elector? To be eligible to be registered as a general elector, the person has to be:
A citizen of India- 18 or more years of age as on the 1st day of the year when the electoral roll is revised,
Residing in India-Enrolled in the electoral roll of India or the polling area of the Indian constituency where he/she resides.
Q15. What is Form 6? Form 6 is an application form issued by the Election Commission of India for Indian citizens who wish to register their names in the electoral roll. This form is generally filled and filed for the constituency within which the elector resides.
Q16. From where Form 6 can be obtained? There are two ways of obtaining Form 6–
The website of Election Commission of India (www.eci.nic.in/) has the form in the PDF format. It can be easily downloaded and printed.
Form 6 is also available at the office of the Electoral Registration Officer or the assistant or the Booth Level Officer of the polling area where the elector resides. There is no charge for obtaining this form.
Q17. What documents are required to be enclosed with Form 6? While filling out Form 6, the elector needs to submit it along with certain documents. Here is a list of required documents–
Single and recent passport sized photograph (should be affixed in the space provided in the form)
Photocopy of age proof (like birth certificate, school mark sheet or admit card that mentions the electors date of birth, passport, Aadhar card, PAN card, and driving license)
Photocopy of address proof (like current pass book issued by a post office or bank, ration card, driving license, passport, income tax assessment order, letter delivered through the Indian Postal Department, recent telephone, gas or electricity bill and latest rent agreement).
Q18. Can a non- citizen of India contest elections in India? No, an election candidate cannot be a non-citizen of India. According to the Constitution, Article 84 (a), only a citizen of India can be chosen to fill up a seat in the Parliament. Same is true for State Legislative Assemblies, as per the provisions given in Article 173 (a) of the Indian Constitution.
Q19. Who is an overseas (NRI) elector? Indian citizens living outside the country for work, education or any other reason are categorized as overseas (NRI) electors. Such non-resident Indians are qualified as electors only if they have not acquired any other country’s citizenship.
Q20. Can an NRI settled in foreign land become an elector of electoral roll in India? There is a provision in the Representation of People Act, 1950 (Section 20A), which states that “An NRI settled in a foreign land can be an elector of electoral roll in India”. The NRI must hold a valid Indian passport that mentions his/her place of residence in India.
Q21. Can a non-citizen of India become a voter in the electoral rolls in India? No, voting in India is only limited to citizens of India. People holding citizenship of another country are not eligible to vote or register in the electoral rolls in India. People who were Indian citizens earlier, but now have acquired citizenship of another country are also not eligible.
Q22. Who is eligible to be registered as a voter? Eligibility to be registered as a voter in India are as follows–
Person has to be a citizen of India.
He/she must be 18 or more years of age, as on the year of the electoral roll revision
He/she should hold proof of residence in India no matter where he is living at the moment.
Q23. What are NOTA? NOTA is the abbreviation for “None of the Above”. It is a recent addition with the Election Commission of India. According to the Supreme Court judgment, dated 27th September 2013, the Electronic Voting Machines across India will have a “None of the Above” or NOTA option at the end of the list of candidates. This would allow voters, who do not consider any of the candidates eligible to still cast their votes.
Q24. What is VVPAT? VVPAT is an acronym for Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail system. It is a machine that generates a slip of paper after the voter casts his/her vote in the Electronic Voting Machine. The paper slip will show the symbol and candidate, the voter has cast his/her vote for.
Q25. Can a person confined in jail vote in an election? No, a person confined in jail cannot vote in an election in India. As per the provisions given in the Representation of People Act, 1951, Section 62 (5), a person in prison, “under sentence of imprisonment or transportation or otherwise, or in the lawful custody of the police” is not eligible to cast his vote in an election.
Q26. How much is the security deposit for an election? A general candidate has to pay a security deposit of Rupees Twenty Five Thousand (Rs. 25,000) for Lok Sabha Election. Candidates belonging to the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) are eligible for concession of Rupees Twelve Thousand Five Hundred Only (Rs. 12,500). As for Assembly Elections, general candidates have to pay Rupees Ten Thousand Only (Rs. 10,000), and those belonging to SC/ST have to pay Rupees Five Thousand Only (Rs. 5,000).
Q27. Which candidates lose the deposit? Candidates who have been unable to obtain at least “one-sixth of the valid votes polled in the constituency” are not eligible to get their security deposits returned.
Q28. Is a candidate free to spend as much as he likes on his election? No, a candidate cannot spend any amount of money on his election campaign. The Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, Rule 90, mentions the maximum limit of election expenditure by a candidate. Exceeding the limit is considered a corrupt practice under section 123 (6) of the Representation of People Act, 1951.
Q29. Can anyone vote more than once, even if his name is included (wrongly) at more than one place? No, voting more than once is against the law, even if a voter’s name is registered mistakenly or wrongly in more than one place.
Q30. What is the penalty if a candidate does not file his account of election expenses? The penalty for a candidate who did not file his account of election expenses is disqualification from becoming a “member of either House of Parliament or Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council of a State” for a period of three years.
Q31. What is the procedure for political party registration? The procedure for political party registration is as follows –
The Election Commission issues a proforma for new political parties. It can be downloaded from the official website or obtained in person from the Commission’s office in New Delhi
The application should be as per the prescribed proforma, neatly typed having the political party’s letter head.
The application should be accompanied with a demand draft of Rs. 10,000/-, which is the non-refundable processing fee. The demand draft should be in favour of the Under Secretary, Election Commission of India, New Delhi.
The application should mention the party’s memorandum, list of rules and regulations, members and their details, particulars of bank account and PAN number issued in the party’s name, and about their constitution.
The application and associated documents should reach the Secretary to the Election Commission of India within 30 days from the party’s formation date.
Q32. What are the criteria for recognition of a party? The criteria for recognition of a political party in the State level is as follows-
The party should be active in the political circuit for five years continuously,
The party should have a mandatory certain fraction of representation in the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council of the State.
or The party should have won at least six percent of the total number of valid votes for the last general State election.
The criteria for recognition of a political party in the National level is as follows –
The party should be recognized in atleast four Indian states, and should continue to engage in political activity regularly.
Q33. What are the roles of ECI? The Election Commission of India is an autonomous organization under the Constitution of the country that was formed to ensure free and fair elections in the country. It takes on multiple roles for ensuring that elections are conducted without any error across every nook and corner of India. Here is a list of roles of the ECI–
Registration and maintenance of the electoral rolls.
Educating voters about their rights and process of voting
Registration of political parties
Regulation of laws for the political parties
Issuance and marking of polling areas and constituencies
Appointment and maintenance of officers working in each and every polling booth and area
Managing the technological aspects of voting
Q34. Who elects the members of Rajya Sabha? The members of the State Legislative Assemblies who are elected by the people of India are responsible for electing Rajya Sabha members. The system of election is “of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote”.