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Lecturrete topic 341 - Issues concerning Elections in India


Elections in India are a massive undertaking, involving millions of voters, complex logistics, and intense political campaigning. As the world's largest democracy, India's electoral process is crucial not only for the nation itself but also for the global community, given its significant geopolitical influence. However, despite the democratic ideals that underpin its electoral system, India faces several critical issues that threaten the integrity and fairness of its elections. From electoral violence to voter disenfranchisement, these challenges raise serious concerns about the health of Indian democracy.

1. Voter Disenfranchisement

One of the foremost issues concerning elections in India is voter disenfranchisement. Despite efforts to expand voter registration, millions of eligible voters remain excluded from the electoral process. This disenfranchisement primarily affects marginalized communities, including lower-caste individuals, religious minorities, and residents of remote rural areas. The lack of proper identification documents, bureaucratic hurdles, and inadequate voter education contribute to this problem, perpetuating systemic inequalities and undermining the principles of democratic representation.

Statistical Insight: According to a report by the Election Commission of India, approximately 21 million eligible voters were excluded from the electoral rolls during the 2019 general elections.

2. Electoral Violence

Electoral violence is another significant issue plaguing Indian elections. From physical assaults to intimidation tactics, instances of violence often mar the electoral process, creating an atmosphere of fear and coercion. Political parties and their supporters are frequently implicated in such acts, seeking to influence voter behavior and suppress opposition. Moreover, communal tensions and regional conflicts exacerbate the risk of violence during elections, posing a grave threat to the democratic fabric of Indian society.

Statistical Insight: The National Crime Records Bureau reported over 800 cases of election-related violence during the 2019 general elections, including instances of murder, assault, and arson.

3. Money Power and Electoral Corruption

The pervasive influence of money in Indian elections is a significant concern, compromising the integrity of the electoral process and undermining the principles of fair competition. Candidates often resort to illicit means to finance their campaigns, including bribery, vote-buying, and the use of unaccounted funds. This "money power" distorts the democratic process, favoring wealthy candidates and parties while marginalizing those without access to substantial financial resources. Furthermore, electoral corruption erodes public trust in the political system, diminishing the legitimacy of elected representatives.

Statistical Insight: The Centre for Media Studies estimated that over $8 billion was spent on campaigning during the 2019 general elections, making it one of the most expensive electoral exercises globally.

4. Electoral Malpractice and Manipulation

Electoral malpractice, including voter fraud, tampering with electronic voting machines (EVMs), and electoral irregularities, undermines the credibility of Indian elections. Allegations of tampering with EVMs have been a recurrent issue, with opposition parties questioning the transparency and reliability of the voting process. Moreover, incidents of vote rigging, impersonation, and electoral malpractice tarnish the sanctity of the electoral mandate, raising doubts about the fairness of election outcomes.

Statistical Insight: In the 2019 general elections, the Election Commission of India received over 4,000 complaints related to EVM malfunction and tampering.

5. Polarization and Communalism

The rise of religious and caste-based identity politics has fueled social polarization and communal tensions during elections in India. Political parties often exploit these fault lines to consolidate their support base and mobilize voters along sectarian lines. Divisive rhetoric, hate speech, and communal violence are frequently employed as electoral strategies, exacerbating societal divisions and undermining the secular principles enshrined in the Indian Constitution. Moreover, the politicization of religion and caste erodes the inclusive ethos of Indian democracy, posing a threat to social cohesion and national unity.

Statistical Insight: The National Election Studies conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) revealed a significant increase in religious polarization among voters in recent years, with religion emerging as a crucial determinant of electoral behavior.


In conclusion, while India's democratic credentials are commendable, the numerous challenges confronting its electoral process demand urgent attention and reform. Voter disenfranchisement, electoral violence, money power, electoral malpractice, and communal polarization pose significant threats to the integrity and fairness of Indian elections. Addressing these issues requires a concerted effort by all stakeholders, including the Election Commission, political parties, civil society organizations, and the judiciary. Strengthening electoral institutions, enhancing transparency and accountability, promoting voter education, and fostering inclusive and pluralistic politics are essential steps towards safeguarding the democratic principles enshrined in the Indian Constitution. Ultimately, the credibility and legitimacy of Indian democracy hinge on the integrity and fairness of its electoral system, making it imperative to address the pressing issues concerning elections in India.