TODAY -

Democracy at its Heights: Ensuring Fair Voting and Participation in the Election Processes in the Hilly Region of the State of Manipur

Edmund Shinghor R *



With the Population of over billion people, India has one of the largest and most complex electoral processes in the world. The ongoing Lok Sabha 2024 election are being closely watched by both within the country and internationally, as they will determine the direction and leadership of the world largest democracy.

The elections are crucial democratic process in India, where voters choose their representatives who will govern the country for the next five years. The state of Manipur located in the northeastern India, known for its rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and vibrant traditions will be represented by two Members of Parliament in the Lok Sabha – one from the outer Manipur constituency and one from the inner Manipur constituency.

The Outer Parliamentary Constituency in Manipur is designated specifically for the Scheduled Tribes of the state, while the Inner Parliamentary Constituency is for the non-tribal residents of the valley. Manipur is a home to 33 recognized tribes, which belongs to the Kukis and Nagas, who make up the majority of the hill-dwelling population, covering about 90% of the state's land area.

Despite the ongoing ethnic tensions between the Meitei people and Kuki-Zomi tribal community, the recent elections saw a high voter turnout of over 72% in the inner constituency on April 19, with the outer constituency scheduled to vote on April 26, 2024.

Barriers and Bridges of Election

The hilly regions of Manipur face unique challenges when it comes to fair voting practices in democratic processes. One of the key concern is ensuring that elections are conducted in a free and fair manner.

The legitimacy of an election is crucial for upholding the principles of democracy and maintaining the trust of the public in the electoral process. It is crucial that elections are free from corruption, coercion, and external interference. There is a need to raise awareness among voters in hilly regions about their voting rights and the importance of participating in the electoral process.

Many voters are not being fully aware of the voting procedures or the candidates running for office, which can affect the outcome of the elections. Engaging in voter education campaigns and outreach efforts can help empower voters in hilly regions and encourage them to participate in the democratic process.

In many cases, the influx of money during election campaigns can skew the electoral process and compromise the fairness of elections. Community leaders, CSOs, NGOs, and government officials must play a crucial role in mobilizing and educating the voters.

Candidates with access to more financial resources may engage in vote-buying or other forms of corrupt practices to secure votes, undermining the principle of free and fair elections. This should be avoided at all cost. The foundation of a democratic society is undermined, leading to political instability, disenfranchisement, and a lack of faith in the government and its institutions, when there are unfair practices.

To avoid this, elections need to be conducted openly, fairly, and with the confidence of both the voters and elected officials. It is essential to have equitable opportunities to compete with genuine faith and trust in the political arena. In addition, we witness very less participation of women in politics specially in the hilly regions of the state of Manipur which is very disheartening.

There are several reasons for the limited female representation. Cultural norms and traditions may also play a role in discouraging women from actively participating in politics. Limited access to resources, and societal expectations of women to prioritize family responsibilities over political aspirations can also contribute to the low representation of women in politics in Manipur.

More efforts are needed to further increase women's participation in politics and ensure their voices are heard in governance. In this upcoming Lok Sabha election let us ensure maximum participation of women in exercising their voting rights.

Exercise your voting rights

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you” –Pericles.

Manipur is one of the first state in India to exercise the adult franchise to elect the member of the state assembly in July 1948. Voting is an individual fundamental rights given by the constitution of India.

Elections are a fundamental part of democracy, ensuring that the government is made up of the people and serves the people. Each individual's vote is important and should be cherished as a way to uphold the principles of our country. It is the responsibility of all citizens to participate in the democratic process by registering and voting in elections.

By doing so, we can safeguard the integrity of our Republic and ensure that our government truly represents the will of the people. It is crucial that every eligible person exercises their right to vote in order to maintain a government that is accountable to its citizens (Jennifer Hoff, 2022).

By exercising our right to vote, we can hold our government accountable, shape the future of the society, honor the sacrifices of those who have fought for this privilege. By Voting, you are actively participating in decision-making process of your country.

Encourage others to participate in the voting process. This election is an opportunity to address the historical injustices faced by the people and advocate for more political representation in the future.

In conclusion, your vote holds significant importance in influencing the democratic system and shaping the direction of our country. Make your voice heard and participate in the decision-making process by choosing the candidate that aligns with your values and vision for the future. Remember that every vote counts and can make a difference in the outcome of the election.

Take this opportunity to have a say in the future of the nation by casting your vote for the candidate of your choice. Voting is not just a right, it is a responsibility. Through voting, you are taking a stand for what you believe in and helping to create a more inclusive and democratic society.

Let us all celebrate this festival of election with peace and harmony.


* Edmund Shinghor R wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a Master’s Student, Department of Political Science at St. Joseph’s University, Bengaluru
and can be reached at edmundshinghor2000(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on April 21 2024.



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