India General Elections – 2014
2014 General Elections Exit Polls
With the 2014 general elections being just a few weeks away, the opinion polls have started pouring in. Overall, the Modi-led BJP seems to be gathering unprecedented momentum, and might emerge as the single-largest party. Here’s a summary of the various opinion polls and what they are predicting:
Latest Exit Polls 2014
CVoter poll: CVoter predicts about 188 seats for the BJP in the upcoming election, up from the 116 it managed last time. The Congress, on the other hand, is likely to slip to 91 seats from the previous 206.
Headlines Today: According to Headlines Today, the Congress is staring at a grim future in 2014. The entire UPA alliance is expected to get only 98-108 seats, with about 230 seats going to other major players. Therefore, it’s likely that the Congress party will play next to no role in government-formation.
India Today on AAP: India Today has predicted a bright future for the newly-formed Aam Aadmi Party, stating that according to their surveys, Kejriwal enjoys the most popularity as a honest, non-BJP/non-Congress leader. According to their survey, the AAP is likely to get 30-50 seats, which will position it as the king-maker.
While the opinion polls forecast a beneficial election for the BJP, the party is not likely to attain majority on its own. Perhaps sensing this, it has already opened dialogue with potential allies, especially in the South.
December Exit Polls
ABP News-Nielsen: Survey says NDA will win 206 seats while the UPA will get 136.
Headlines Today-CVoter: With Modi, the BJP will win 220 seats, and only 179 without him. The UPA is expected to get around 140-150 seats.
Times Now-India Today-CVoter: According to this survey, the NDA will get 156 seats while the UPA will get 134.
The 2014 general election in India will be held for electing the members of the 16th Lok Sabha. All the 543 parliamentary constituencies of India will participate in the voting to elect members of the lower house of the Parliament of India. In order to obtain majority, a party or a coalition of parties must have a minimum of 272 seats.
2009 general elections : 15th Lok Sabha
The 2009 general election in India was conducted in five phases from 16 April 2009 to 13 May 2009. It elected the members of the 15th Lok Sabha, which is scheduled to complete its constitutional term on 31 May 2014. Important members of the 15th Lok Sabha included Meira Kumar of the Indian National Congress as the Speaker, Kariya Munda of Bharatiya Janata Party as the Deputy Speaker. The Leader of the House is Sushil Kumar Shinde (INC), and Leader of the Opposition is Sushma Swaraj (BJP).
The UPA alliance managed clear majority with 262 seats, the remaining coming from supporting parties, helping it defeat the NDA, which managed only 137 seats. The INC won 206 seats while the BJP secured 116 seats. The Samajwadi Party won 23 seats. The Bahujan Samaj Party won 21 while Janata Dal (United) won 20 seats. Nine seats were won by independent candidates.Click here to see 2009 General Elections Result.
The Present Scenario
The current situation of the various political parties is as follows.
Indian National Congress
The Congress, having dominated Indian politics ever since Independence, has had a very poor last term. The party has been the target of several high-profile corruption scams, and the general sentiment is against the rising prices and lack of development. The extent of people’s displeasure was evident in the 2013 assembly elections, in which the party got wiped out in important states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Bharatiya Janata Party
The Bharatiya Janata Party has failed to win majority in the past two general elections of India. The party has declared Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat as the prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general election. The BJP is hoping to capitalize on Modi’s image of an able administrator, and the prevalent crisis within the Congress party.
Aam Aadmi Party Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi, has declared that his party would be contesting the 2014 general elections from all 300 Lok Sabha seats spread across the country. For many the new party has emerged as the preferred political alternative. Tentative date for 2014 general elections
Although the dates for the general elections of 2014 have not been announced by the Election Commission of India, but the Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath has declared that the 2014 general elections may start in mid-March and complete by 1 June. He has further assured that the dates would be announced six weeks before polling starts.
Elections in Phases
Elections are organized in multiple phases to ensure complete security during the elections and prevent any kind of ruckus. 2009 general elections were held in 5 phases and were successful but this time there is a possibility of change in the number of phases. The national elections may be conducted in more than by five phases.
In 2009 general elections, there were 828,804 polling booths around the nation. The general elections of 2014 are likely to have 780 million voters at over 800,000 polling booths, with around 1.18 million electronic voting machines (EVMs). Communication Plan for Election (COMET), an SMS-based alert system would be used by the ECI during the 2014 election. It will ensure delivery of all election-related messages to the government officials appointed for election duty.
Why is the 2014 general election so important?
The general election is a part of the constitutional process and takes place every five years to elect the new government of the country. In 2014, though, a lot more is at stake, in light of the following:
The 2011 Indian Against Corruption movement led by Anna Hazare stimulated a new move of the common man into politics. Emergence of the AAP as a promising party has initiated a new drive in the nation, bringing citizens to fight against corruption by changing the system itself. Resignation of the three-time Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit of the Indian Nation Congress from the post of Chief Minister after a shameful defeat in the Delhi Legislative Assembly election 2013.
The BJP has won the Vidhan Sabha elections in Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Punjab. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi broke its alliance with the INC for the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress is facing a leadership crisis, with Rahul Gandhi, arguably the strongest contender for the position of PM candidate, not viewed as a good choice by political leaders and analysts alike.
India General Elections History
The current Lok Sabha (the lower house of the Indian Parliament) is the 15th Lok Sabha, whose members were elected in the last general elections, held between 6 April 2009 and 13 May 2009. The current UPA government took office on 22nd May 2009. The members of the Lok Sabha are elected for a term of 5 years, therefore, the term of the current Lok Sabha will end by May 2014. Elections for the next or 16th Lok Sabha will need to be held before May 2014 to enable a new government to be formed. The next elections for the Lok Sabha are likely to be held in the sixteenth half of 2014, if the UPA government completes its full term.
The Parliament of India comprises of two houses – the Lok Sabha (House of the People) or the Lower House and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) or the Upper House. The Lok Sabha is made up of a total of 552 Members of Parliament. Each of these 552 members represents a particular geographic region from across India. These geographic units are known as the Parliamentary Constituencies. In other words, these Parliamentary Constituencies constitute the number of seats in the Lok Sabha.
Out of these 552 MPs, upto 530 members can represent the states, upto 20 members can represent the Union Territories and 2 members can represent the Anglo-Indian community. Members from each of these Parliamentary Constituencies are elected directly by the voters of the particular constituency, according to the Universal Adult Franchise. The elections are held after a period of every 5 years, if the Lok Sabha is not dissolved sooner. Each state has a fixed number of Parliamentary Constituencies which are represented in the Lok Sabha.
The supervision and responsibility of the elections to these Parliamentary Constituencies is carried out by a centralized, independent statutory body called the Election Commission. The size and structure of each of these constituencies is outlined in Section 4 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950. The current 15th Lok Sabha session, which was formed in 2009, has 543 Parliamentary Constituencies. Uttar Pradesh has the maximum number of Parliamentary Constituencies allotted to it, numbering 80.