American Journal of Social Science Research
Articles Information
American Journal of Social Science Research, Vol.1, No.1, Apr. 2015, Pub. Date: Apr. 8, 2015
Electoral Violence, Threats and Security: Problems and Prospects for Indian Democracy
Pages: 38-51 Views: 871 Downloads: 835
Authors
[01] Chanchal Kumar, Department of Political Science, Janki Devi Memorial College, University of Delhi, India.
Abstract
Electoral processes are very much about the management of social conflict through public dialogue, vigorous debate and the authoritative selection of leaders through electoral rules. At its core, and in line with the principles of democratic development, when people perceive that they have had an opportunity to be heard in a procedurally fair election, they are more willing to accept the results and grant legitimacy to the elected government to implement its policy and programs. Nevertheless, elections are not in themselves sufficient mechanisms for managing political change, when the players have not bought into the rules of the game. In such circumstances elections can act like a piece of tinder in a hayfield and just as easily ignite violence or conflict, as enable a peaceful transfer of power. While elections in India have meant more meaningful participation across a broad spectrum of society and better representation of all sections in politics, the incidence of electoral violence has grown along with Indian democracy. This trend reflects a complex mixing of socio-political factors and keen competition for political dominance among political parties. Elections, violence, hate and criminality have become intertwined over the decades. Strictly implemented reforms that covered the election process end-to-end, from voter registration and identity cards to a code of conduct for candidates to the adoption of electronic voting machines, have largely succeeded in securing the actual election process. But, electoral democracy continues to be plagued by criminal elements, often marshalled to serve divisive ends. Extending well beyond election management bodies, the ability of an electoral process to achieve its democratic development objectives relies on the political actors, government agencies and security bodies, civic and media groups and national purveyors of justice to uphold their roles in the process. The Indian democracy needs to take cognizance of the fact that just as almost all sectors of society have an interest in the outcome of an election; they have equal responsibility in promoting its integrity.
Keywords
Indian Democracy, Electoral Violence, Universal Suffrage, Electoral Process, Election Reforms
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[32] These results are limited by the small number of units and the absence of controls for Scheduled Castes and Tribes, which we show to be important for explaining the 2002 violence.
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[36] Howard Spodek, “From Gandhi to Violence: Ahmedabad's 1985 Riots in Historical Perspective,” Modern Asian Studies 23:4 (1989); Jan Breman, The Making and Unmaking of an Industrial Working Class (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004).
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