In 12 Points, All You Need To Know About Your Candidate Before Casting Your Vote

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Before you cast your vote, it’s extremely important to know who you are voting for. What’s the background of the candidate? What are his/her previous achievements in governance? What are the red flags that should definitely make you not vote for the candidate or think twice? As a responsible voter, knowing your candidate and the party they belong to should be a must.

In a 10-minute read, here’s all that you need to know:

1. As a voter, what information about my candidate do I have the right to access?

– Records of ongoing or past criminal cases and charges.

– Assets and liabilities and those of his/her spouse and dependents.

– Their educational background.

– Copies of their nomination papers and accompanying affidavits.

– Details of any dues owed by them to the government.

Source: The India Today Group/ Getty Images

2. Where can I see affidavits submitted by my candidate?

They can be seen on the Election Commission website or on MyNeta, a portal run by the Association of Democratic Reforms whose work made it mandatory for all candidates contesting elections to disclose their criminal, financial and educational backgrounds prior to the polls by filing an affidavit with the Election Commission.

3. What is the minimum age for a candidate to contest the Lok Sabha or assembly elections?

25 years.

4. Can an individual convicted of an offence for two years or more contest an election if they are out on bail?

No. As per the rules of the Election Commission, a candidate who has been convicted of an offence for two years or more and is out on bail with their appeal pending for disposal cannot contest an election.

5. How many political parties are registered in India?

As per the Election Commission, as on July 24, 2015, there were 1866 registered political parties in India.

6. Only a small amount of the income of national parties is from known sources. What are the other sources of income and where can I see their breakdown?

Other sources of income, as mentioned by political parties include sale of coupons, voluntary contributions, donations and party funds. Income-expenditure statements, as well as information on donations, can be accessed here.

7. Whom should I vote for if I want to find a solution for issues like maintenance of roads, solid waste, parks and electricity in my city?

You should vote in the municipal corporation elections in your city. The municipal corporation consists of a committee, which includes the mayor and the councillors who look into these matters.

Source: Daniel Berehulak/ Getty Images

8. How is an MLA elected and what are his/her/their duties?

An MLA is elected through the assembly elections in every state. An MLA must be over 25 years of age. Their main responsibilities include overseeing the municipal corporation and formulating laws for the maintenance of public order, the police system, public health, agriculture, water supply and land rights. Here’s a detailed list of the duties, if you want to know more.

9. How is an MP elected in the Lok Sabha and what are their duties?

An MP is elected to the Lok Sabha through direct elections based on universal adult suffrage. Their main responsibilities are taking part in the legislative process in the Parliament and representing their constituencies.

10. Can a candidate spend as much as he/she/they wish to, for contesting an election and promoting their candidacy?

The election expenditure limit for each Lok Sabha candidate in bigger states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, etc. is ₹70 lakhs. In smaller states like Goa, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and union territories like Lakshadweep, Puducherry, etc. it is ₹54 lakhs per candidate.

For state assembly elections, the election expenditure limit per candidate is ₹28 lakhs for the bigger states and ₹20 lakhs for states like Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, etc.

11. How many MPs are there in the Lok Sabha?

Currently, there are 543 MPs in the Lok Sabha. Of these, 34% have self-declared criminal cases – and of these, 22% have self-declared serious criminal cases. Only 11% of MPs (62) are women. A detailed list can be seen here.

12. And how many MLAs are there in India, currently?

There are 4000+ MLAs in India (approximately 7-9 MLAs for every MP). A state-wise list can be seen here.

Some bits of factual inconsistencies in the piece have been rectified based on inputs by the Association of Democratic Reforms. The errors are regretted.

#JetSetVote is a nationwide movement by YKA and Facebook India to make voting fun, interesting and engaging for the Indian millennial and empower you with your voting rights and responsibilities. Read more here and pledge your vote today – because every vote counts!

Featured Image Source: Hindustan Times/ Getty Images
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