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General Elections in India, 2019

India boasts to be the largest democracy in the world with a population of approximately 1.35 billion which is 17.74% of the total world population! The most important feature of democracy is ‘Government OF the people, FOR the people and BY the people.’. After the fall of the British empire in India in 1947, India got its own Constitution and the Preamble to the Constitution states that achieving social, economic and political justice, liberty and equality is the main aim of the Constitution. So, in India there is a system of universal adult suffrage and every citizen who is of 18 years, can participate in General Elections through which people can choose/elect leaders of their choice.

Photographs of all candidates

In India, the General Elections are held after every 5 years. This year 2019 has a special place in the history of India as this year witnessed the biggest General Elections in India so far. Considering the large number of states and huge population, the elections were held in 7 phases from 11 April to 19 May 2019. So the elections were going on for more than a month. No other nation in the world has had such a long election process. For elections, each state was divided in different constituencies / sections. The Election Commission of India had prepared a schedule and as per the dates mentioned in that schedule, elections were held on different dates in different constituencies. This year the Election Commission of India had put up 1 million polling stations which is 10% more than the 2014 General Elections. One new change introduced in this year’s election was that photographs of all candidates contesting the elections along with their party names and symbols appeared on all EVMs (Electronic Voting Machine). Until 2014, only the names of candidates, party names and symbols appeared.

VVPAT- Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail

Another important and innovative idea was implemented for the first time in Elections this year. The idea of VVPAT- Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail. When a voter casts his vote, a slip is printed on VVPAT printer. The slip contains serial number, name and symbol for the candidate voted and by this the voter can verify that his vote has been cast to the candidate he intended to vote. This has helped the voters to verify that they have voted to the candidates of their choice and so this is a very innovative idea.

VVPAT- Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail

In India, there are some regions like Himachal Pradesh where there are hilly areas and weather is extremely cold. It is difficult to conduct elections in such areas but it is worth appreciating that residents of such areas also participate in elections and cast their valuable votes in spite of harsh weather conditions.

Tashigang in Himachal Pradesh -The highest polling station in the world

The General Elections 2019 were the longest as they lasted for 39 days. Around 3.96 million EVMs and 17.4 VVPAT machines were used. Approximately 900 million Indian citizens were eligible to vote in the elections. These numbers indicate the expanse of the general elections in India.

The voting is over and now the nation is eagerly awaiting the results of elections. The votes are going to be counted on 23rd May 2019 and the results will be declared on the same day. May the best party win and take India on to the path of development, prosperity and most importantly, peace.