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Electoral and Party Politics - निव़़डणुका आणि पक्षांचे राजकारण (10 Lectures) 1.1 Elections (1952, 1977, 1989, 1998, 2004) - निवडणुका - 1952, 1977, 1989, 1998, 2004 1.2 Political Parties- National and Regional Parties - राजकीय पक्ष - राष्ट्रीय आणि प्रादेशिक पक्ष 1.3 Coalition Governments - आघाड्यांची सरकारे -------------------------------------------------

After the constitution came into force, the country was ruled by an interim government. It was necessary to install the first democratically elected government. The process was started by setting up the election commission. The Election Commission of India was set up in January 1950. Sukumar Sen became the first Chief Election Commissioner. The country’s first general elections were expected sometime in 1950 itself. But the holding of election was not so easy as it was expected. The election commission faced with many problems. The first major task was the drawing up of boundaries of the electoral constituencies and the other was preparing the electoral rolls. Both these tasks took a lot of time. The preparing of electoral roll was faced with many difficulties as almost 40 lakh women were listed as wife or daughter of somebody and their names were not recorded. This required revision of electoral roll. Another challenge was though the no of eligible voters was 17 crore (as India had adopted the principle of Universal Adult Franchise from the very first election itself, giving voting rights to women, while many other developed countries in Europe had not given these rights to women) only 15% of them were literate. Due to this enormous task, the elections had to be postponed twice and were finally held from Oct. 1951 to Feb 1952. They are referred to as the 1952 elections as most of the parts of India voted in 1952 Jan and the results were declared in 1952.

The candidates to be elected numbered 3200 MLAs and 489 LS members. So a special method of voting was devised. Accordingly, inside each polling booth, a box for each candidate with his election symbol was put up. The voters were given the blank ballot papers which they were supposed to drop in the box for the candidate they wanted to vote for. About 20lakh steel boxes were used for the purpose. After the first two elections this method was changed and then the ballot papers contained the names of the candidate and their election symbol and the voters were required to put up a stamp on the name of the candidate they wanted to vote for. This method worked nearly for 40 years. By the end of 90s the election commission started using EVMS and by 2004 the entire country was shifted to EVMS. Significance:

* The elections were competitive. For each seat on an average four candidates contested. * More than half of the eligible voters voted.
* It was the first successful experiment of elections in the world which proved that democratic elections can be held in the conditions of poverty and illiteracy and that democracy can be practiced anywhere and in any conditions in the world. The election results:

The results of the first general election were not surprising. The Indian National Congress won the elections with a landslide majority. The party won 364 of the 489 seats in the first Lok Sabha and finished way ahead of any other challenger. Three factors contributed to the success of Congress were * Congress party, as it was popularly known, had inherited the legacy of the national movement. * It was the only party then to have an organisation spread all over the country. * And finally, in Jawaharlal Nehru, the party had the most popular and charismatic leader in Indian politics. He led the Congress campaign and toured through the country. The Communist Party of India that came next in terms of seats won only 16 seats. The state elections were held with the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress scored big victory in those elections as well. It won...
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