India’s success in remaining a democracy despite considerable odds is viewed and judged primarily in its minimalist/procedural form, encompassing little apart from a multiparty system, regularly held free and fair elections, peaceful and regular transfer of political power on a periodic basis through the electoral route. India stands out among the ‘new’ democracies for having an uninterrupted history of holding of free elections over such a long period of time (even national emergency imposed in the mid–seventies did not disturb this, only delayed it). What has also impressed political analysts globally is the sheer scale1of participation, involving multiple parties and candidates, and with intense participation of the huge electorate, constituting one sixth of the world’s electorate. Unsurprisingly then, the study of elections, electoral system and electoral politics has assumed great significance in the last three decades in academic writings on Indian politics.
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