Lok Sabha Elections 2014, being touted as the biggest democratic election in the electoral history of the world is not fallacious at all. The India General Election 2014 indeed turned out to be a huge success both in terms of Voter Participation and the electoral outcome in the form of the mandate. Reasons pitched for such a large scale of elections include the anti-incumbency of the UPA Government and also the frustration of the Indian citizens with the issues like corruption, inflation, stagnant economy etc. It is true that these issues did indeed count for the foundation of 2014 mandate but merely crediting such a huge success of the elections to these factors would be totally wrong.
There is an authority that goes all in with all the efforts and commits to make elections a free, fair and a totally inclusive affair. This authority is known as the Election Commission of India. Amidst the controversies surrounding the biasness of ECI towards some parties, it can never be denied that the commission acted boldly and firmly wherever it saw loopholes and infringement of election laws. It carefully monitored speeches, poll activities and showed great swiftness in reaction whenever a complaint filed.
Not only did the Election Commission solved the grievances of political parties and campaigners but it was equally inclined towards the betterment of the voters. To retain the dignity and democratic nature of the Lok Sabha Elections 2014, ECI did not leave even a single stone unturned to attract voters in huge numbers to the polling booths. It not only ensured a huge voter a turn-out but it also took great steps to make sure that the votes were cast in a legitimate way. The commission kept a check on the legibility of the votes by allotting great amounts of security and a good no. of poll activity observers at each of the polling booths of the nation.
These steps by the Election Commission of India directly resulted in the Lok Sabha Elections 2014 having the highest ever voter turn-out in the election history of India to the tune of 66.4 percent. This percentage is even higher than the 1984 Lok Sabha Elections that took place after Indira Gandhi’s assassination. The cases of illegitimate practices like booth capturing, bogus voting and paid votes decreased considerably.
Statistics for Voting in the Lok Sabha 2014 Election
No. of eligible Voters:- 814.5 Million
Increase in the no. of eligible voters since the last general election:- 100 Million
Percentage of young voters(18-19 years of age):- 2.7%
The root factor for such a humongous increase in the voter base could not merely be attributed to population increase. The main factor is probably the Election Commission of India’s known endeavour to create large-scale awareness about the voter registration and voting.
The campaigns and awareness drives were organized by the commission in large numbers in order to catch the attention of the citizens and prospected voters. Voter registration drives before the elections were one of the highlights of the Election Commission’s efforts to register as many voters as possible. Apart from the on-field operations, things like the ability to fill voter registration forms online and the convenience of checking the electoral roll directly from home were added bonuses to increased voter base. Voter ID Card Online registration infrastructure improved a great deal in 2014 and that helped many more people to become registered voters and receive their Electors’ Photo Identity Cards.
The Highlighted Controversy
Despite the exhaustive steps taken by the ECI to ensure the convenience of Voters and the large-scale registration before the elections, the commission found itself at the center of a major controversy. During the Lok Sabha Elections 2014 in Mumbai around 2 lakh voters were denied and entry to the polling both due to a large-scale deletion of name from the Voters’ Lists. This was a major setback for the Election Commission, which has always sought to harvest votes from each and every eligible voters. The commission apologized to all the turned away voters and assured a probe as soon as the elections ended. This situation tested the commission’s ability to act during the time of crisis and it passed the test by re-conducting the election in Mumbai within a few days, with the inclusion of all the earlier excluded voters. Still, inception of such a large-scale deletion of names from the electoral roll was condemned by the voters and the political parties alike. We are certain that the ECI has learnt from such a mistake and hence the chances of recurrence are negligible.
I am a Voter, How can I Avoid Such a Situation?
Although the large-scale deletion of names in Mumbai during the Lok Sabha Elections 2014 could be blamed onto a certain number of ECI officials who did not take their allotted tasks seriously but it would be wrong to put the blame on them completely. There are a certain tasks that the voters need to perform themselves in order to ensure that they are not denied their right to vote. Here is a list of things that a voter could ensure in order to ensure that he/she is not turned away from the polling booth during the election:-
- Make sure you have filled the right Voter Registration Form. For inclusion of name into the voters’ list, the citizens are required to fill the Form No. 6
- Make sure that there are no mistakes in your Voter ID Card and Electoral Details. If you do find certain mistakes, make sure you rectify them well before the elections. Fill the Voter Form No. 8 for rectification of mistakes.
- Constantly check the status of your application after you filled the application for voter registration. This is necessary to ensure that your application has not stuck at any level.
- After the successful submission and filling of the Voter Registration application, check you’re name in the electoral roll of your constituency at particular points of time. You should also check you’re name once before leaving home for the polling booth so that there is minimal wastage of time.
Such steps are expected to be completed by the voters at their end to ensure a hassle free vote casting experience.
Special Features of the Election Commission of India in 2014
Under the Election Visitors Programme launched by the ECI for Lok Sabha 2014 election, 43 representatives from 18 countries were invited to witness the Indian General Elections closely. The delegates were from countries like Namibia, Nigeria, Lesotho, Mauritius, Malaysia, Maynmar, Nepal, Uganda, Kenya, Bhutan and several member countries of the League of Arab States. These delegates were briefed to visit certain election locations, counting centers etc. in a bid to gain experience of the largest Democratic Election in terms of both scale and quality. This programme was a great success in the sense that it allowed for some much require international exposure for this large-scale democratic process of ours.
Another noteworthy launch by the election commission of India in 2014 is the initiation of the Voter Education Channel. The launch of this channel on Youtube is a landmark step by the commission for this channel absolutely serves the purpose of Voter Education by the means of videos that show messages from various ambassadors and also from the Chief Election Officer about the importance of Voting and Free-Fair elections.
All the videos on this channel seek to spark the interest of the citizens towards the electoral process something which has indeed been witnessed from the past couple of years with the voter awareness and enthusiasm reaching its peak in the Lok Sabha Elections 2014. Therefore this youtube channel is certainly going to add a few more feathers into the ECI’s cap and it is all uphill from now. We expect to see even higher voter turn-out in the following elections and the commission’s efforts surely make the prospects look good.
The success of the efforts of the ECI are synonymous with the participation of electorate. Therefore we request all our voters and the leaders to keep this amazing spirit alive. It is because of this spirit of the voters that has added to the success of the Lok Sabha Elections 2014.
What After the Lok Sabha 2014?
Lok Sabha 2014 was surely not the end of the road. The main feature of the democracy lies in the dynamics. Therefore now that the General Elections have ended, both the Election Commission of India and the voters must start preparing for the very next election. The preparations of ECI include scrutiny of the shortcomings and set-backs that it faced during the bygone elections and taking steps to avoid the recurrence of such controversies.
For the electors, it must be about ensuring the safeguard of their right to vote by the means of proper voter registration and careful filling of the related forms. For this reason the voters may refer to our previously written articles for each of following FAQs.
- How can I register for my Voter ID Card Online?
- How to Rectify Mistakes in the Voter Details?
- What all Documents are required for Voter ID Card Registration?
- How much Time does it take for the ECI to issue Voter ID Cards?
Also to know more about the savior of the Voters and the Vigilante during the election i.e, to know more about the Election Commission of India, you can read our special article by clicking here.