India is just in the mood of the general election, with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) facing looks like an increasingly close contest. Politicians of all stripes are already in campaign mode for what will be the world’s largest exercise in democracy — a mammoth undertaking that will take place over several weeks to ensure the voices of hundreds of millions of Indians across the country are heard. About 900 million people. That’s almost triple the entire population of the United States. All Indians aged 18 and above can participate. In the last general election, in 2014, more than 830 million Indians were eligible — and more than 550 million voted.
While the BJP is projecting Narendra Modi as the face of the PM candidate again, the other parties are currently unclear on who to field. The first phase will be held on April 11, second on April 18, third on April 23 and fourth on April 29, fifth on May 6, sixth on May 12 and seventh phase on May 19. Counting of votes for all seven phases would be done on May 23. But first lets have an overview of how the Prime Minister of India is elected and how the vote actually factors into it.
It all starts when the Chief Election Commission of India (ECI), Sunil Arora announces the dates for the Elections. Soon after, the process of choosing candidates begins. Every party who wants to fight in the election chooses a candidate from any given constituency, who then files their nomination papers with that constituency’s Returning Officer. Once all the nominations are received and analyzed, the ECI publishes the list of candidates who will be contesting the Election. Once an election has been called, parties issue manifestos detailing the programs they wish to implement if elected to government, the strengths of their leaders, and the failures of opposing parties and their leaders. Slogans are used to popularize and identify parties and issues, and pamphlets and posters distributed to the electorate. Rallies and meetings where the candidates try to persuade, cajole and enthuse supporters.
India is divided into 543 constituencies for a total of 545 seats in the Lok Sabha. 2 seats are appointed by the President. When people go to vote, they are actually only voting for a candidate who is fighting to represent their constituency in the Lok Sabha.
Once the candidates have won from their constituencies, the Lok Sabha is formed. The condition to form the government is that any single party or a coalition should have at least 272 seats to claim, which is called a simple majority. After the single party or coalition has acquired the requisite numbers, the President invites them to form the government and they select the Prime Minister, who in turn elects their cabinet ministers.
In 2014, the BJP-led NDA swept the elections, taking 341 seats, of which the BJP alone holds 271 seats.
Lok Sabha Election 2019: How a Prime Minister is elected
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