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What is our System of Elections?

Parliament House, New Delhi

Our system of Election can be called 'General Elections'

  • Elections are held every five years for the Central Government and State Governments.
  • Central Government elections are called 'Lok Sabha' elections and State Government elections are called 'Assembly elections'.
  • After five years, the term of all the elected representatives comes to an end. The Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha(State Assembly) stands 'dissolved'.
  • Elections are held in all constituencies at the same time, either on the same day or within a few days.
  • Sometimes election is held only for one constituency to fill the vacancy caused by death or resignation of a member. This is called a by-election.

Electoral Constituencies
In our country we follow an area-based system of representation. The country is divided into different areas for purpose of elections. These areas are called electoral constituencies. The voters who live in an area elect one representative.

For Lok Sabha elections, the country is divided into 543 constituencies.

  • The representative elected from each constituency is called a Member of Parliament or an MP.
  • Each constituency should have a roughly equal population living within it. Only then every vote will have equal value.

Every State is divided into a specific number of Assembly constituencies.

  • The elected representative is called the Member of Legislative Assembly or an MLA.
  • Each Parliamentary constituency has within it several Assembly constituencies.
  • Constituencies are counted as 'seats', for each constituency represents one seat in the Assembly or Lok sabha.

The same principle applies for Panchayat and Municipal elections.

  • Each village or town is divided into several 'wards' that are like constituencies.
  • Each ward elects one member of the village or the urban local body.

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