India is the largest democracy in the world with approximately 550 million voters and is celebrated as a country where Democracy is also a way of life for the people. The main ideas of the country have been Liberty, Equality and Justice and Socialism, Secularism which is highlighted in the preamble of the constitution. Elections form the essence of Indian Democracy.
Some salient features in our election that preserve and promote the democratic character of India are:
Secret Ballot − Since the beginning, the practice of secret ballot has remained at the core of election in India and thus, maintaining the privacy as well as respecting the individual views and opinions. The secret ballot method is considered to be the most powerful weapons in the hands of the citizens where they exercise their choice.
Diversity in the parties − According to the Election Commission, the number of registered political parties as of the year 2014 is 1703. The number itself is self- explanatory and highlights the diversity and liberty in India’s political Arena. There are many parties at the regional as well as the national level that bring out their propaganda and contest elections to implement the points in it.
Universal Adult Franchise − Any citizen above 18 years of age who is mentally capable can cast vote in the periodic elections that are conducted in the country. This is also due to the fact that our elections are in-line with the constitutional principles and guideline and Article 14 enshrines the Fundamental Right of the citizens to equality. Thus, no citizen in India is discriminated on the grounds of caste, creed, gender, place of birth, etc.
NOTA − The recently introduced option of ‘None of the above’ has added more threads to the existing democratic fabric of India. By empowering the citizens, NOTA gives an addition to not choose any of the candidates of the political parties mainly due to the anti-incumbency factor.
The role of the Election Commission − The Election Commission plays a vital role in conducting smooth and successful elections in the country. The regulate norms and guidelines for political parties, a draft code of conduct implemented before elections, conducting free and fair elections where people can actually cast their votes freely. Thus, the Election Commission helps in giving foundation to the elect people’s government after every 5 years.