Question: “The right to vote was not always a universal right.” Explain with examples.
Answer: The right to vote was not always a universal right. In early democracies, only some people were allowed to vote. For example, in the United Kingdom only male landowners who were Protestant by faith, could vote. And, in South Africa, till as recently as 1994, non-whites were not allowed to vote in national elections.
Question: What are elections? What are the requirements for fair elections?
Answer: Elections are the process by which the citizens of a democracy select or choose their representatives. Requirements for fair elections are:
- All citizens should have only one vote and all votes should carry the same value.
- If people have to vote, they should have choices. In India, we have many political parties and candidates to choose from. This makes our democracy true and vibrant.
- Election should be held reqularly
- Elections should be conducted in an atmosphere free of fear or violence.
- There should be no compulsions on the voters to vote for particular candidate.
Question: Name any four political parties of India.
Answer: Indian National Congress (INC), Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), Janta Dal, Samajwadi Party.
Question: Differentiate between a bye-election and a mid-term election.
Answer: When a member of parliament or state legislature dies in office or resigns, elections are held in his or her constituency before the completion of five years is called bye-election.
If for certain reason, the president, on the advice of the Prime minister, dissolves the Lok Sahbha or a state assembly, elections will be conducted ahead of five years is called mid-term election.
Question: What is constituency? Why are some constituencies reserved in India?
Answer: To make elections truly representative, each state is usually divided into a number of small units called constituencies. These constituencies are drawn up in such a way that all of them consist roughly of the same number of people.
Some constituencies are reserved for people from more disadvantaged backgrounds, like people from scheduled castes and tribes. They are people who have been discriminated against for generations due to the caste system. Many of them continue to be discriminated against, so winning elections from an unreserved constituency would be next to impossible. By reserving constituencies for them, the government wants to make the election process as inclusive as possible.
Question: Differentiate between absolute majority and simple majority.
Answer: Absolute Majority: When a candidate secures more than half of the votes polled, he or she is said to have won by an absolute majority.
Simple Majority: Sometimes, the votes polled may be divided in such a way that none of the candidates may get an absolute majority. In such a case the person who gets the most votes, even if it is only one more than that won by his rival, is declared the winner by simple majority.