What are the Weaknesses of Indian Election System?
Since the adoption of the Indian Constitution in 1950, 14 general elections and many elections of various State Legislative Assemblies have been held. Although these elections were generally free and fair, yet some weaknesses of our election system have been noticed. Some of these weaknesses (challenges) are as under:
(a) Expensive elections:
In India, elections are very expensive and a common man, however, intelligent and honest he may be, cannot fight elections. As a result only the rich people can fight elections and they make use of political power first to serve their own interests. They also try to make more money through illegal methods.
(b) Misuse of official machinery:
Though some steps have been taken by the Election Commission and the election laws to check the misuse of official machinery during the elections, yet the ruling party makes use of government servants, vehicles and discretionary grants to win the voters in their favour.
(c) Use of caste and religion in election:
In India, a large number of votes are cast on the basis of caste and religion. As a result people get divided on the basis of caste, religion and community which is very harmful for national unity.
(d) Rigging of election and booth capturing:
With the connivance of the government officials, the ruling party tries to rig the elections. Some candidates also capture the polling booths and make use of their muscle powers to do it. It is alleged that in J&K Assembly elections held in 1987, many candidates of the opposition front were declared losers even though they had got maximum number of votes.
(e) Misuse of mass media:
During elections the ruling party uses various means of mass media-Radios, Television and Newspapers etc.-to propagate their policies and programmes.
(f) Low polling percentage:
In India, many voters do not cast their votes. The voting percentage generally is almost 50 to 60 percent. Therefore, the representative bodies are not truly representative.
(g) Delay in the disposal of election petitions:
In India, it takes a long time in the disposal of election petitions and sometimes the very purpose of election petition gets defeated.
(a) To minimise the role of money in election, provisions should be made for state funding of elections.
(b) Misuse of official machinery should be checked strictly.
(c) Candidates making use of caste or religions during elections should be debarred from contesting elections.
(d) Rigging of elections by the use of muscle power and booth capturing should be strongly checked.
(e) Every party or candidate should be given a chance to make use of mass media. t
(f) Voting should be made compulsory.
(g) Election petitions should be disposed off without any delay.
The above issues should be a matter of concern to all those who believe in democracy. Many citizens, political leaders and organisations are trying to curb such tendencies by launching agitations against these malpractices. Besides voters need to become more aware of the value of their right to vote.