Democracy: The Game of Numbers

Switch on the Television every day at 7 PM and you cannot miss the statement being said again and again viz..India is a Democratic sovereign republic.  This has become so common that normal citizens have started using this without even understanding the real meaning of it and also whether it is the best form of government. Democracy, as per Abraham Lincoln is by the people, of the people and for the people.  Setting apart the English in the above saying, it roughly translates to Democracy is a game of numbers.

Indian parliament has democratically elected members and each member represents a constituency. The party which manages to get half of the 543 seats forms the government. So any party which secures 272 seats is the winner. People of India cast their vote and democracy seems to be working fine until the following pitfall is being noted.

Whether all the lok sabha constituencies have the same number of votes?  Though the electoral commission periodically updates the list and also creates new constituencies based on the data, the actual scenario is entirely different. Let’s take an example of real number of votes in three different constituencies. [How else to explain the number game without numbers?]. North Chennai and South Chennai are two Lok Sabha seats with 30,000 seats each. In North Chennai, party A secures 17000 votes and Party B secures 13000 votes. In South Chennai Party A secures 17000 votes and party B secures 13000 votes. There is another constituency Kancheepuram with 30000 votes. Here Party A secures 4000 votes and party B secures 26000 votes as Kancheepuram is a Party B bastion. The results are straight – Party A wins 2 seats and Party B, 1 seat and hence Party A will form the government. But somewhere in my mind, I remember the phrase Democracy considers all citizens as equal and everyone’s vote has a weight of 1.
Oh really?

Then lets some up all the votes for party A and Party B irrespective of constituency and see if it’s true. Party A gets 38000 votes and Party B, a whopping 52000 votes. In terms of percentages party A has 42.2 % vote share and B, 57.8 %.Inspite of this; party A has won and we call it true Indian democracy.


More by :  Srinivasan MK

Top | Analysis

Views: 3517      Comments: 4

Comment Dinesh - Democracy is definitely people's will, I accept. But the fact that each vote has a value of 1 is not always true.Paid news is one factor which tilts the vote share to an extent.This constituency wise split is what makes the number game all the more confusing !

18-Apr-2012 09:16 AM

Comment Hello Srinivasan,

Nice one to begin with on number game.

May be, it can be taken forward to pin point specific issues with Indian democracy.

For example, a mere 5% swing of votes from ruling alliance to opposition can result in opposition making govt with clear majority in Assemblies or in Loksabha.

And, for example, IF a few crores spent on paid news can shift opinion of a few voters in favour or against some party - all one needs to care is that these paid news propaganda is strong enough to tilt opinion of 5% voters !

And will that mean 'hands of paid news' in forming or bringing down a govt ? But well, I thought democracy is all about people's will and desire !!

Dinesh kumar Bohre
18-Apr-2012 08:30 AM

Comment In politics...

Todays friend is a tomorrows enemy!!
Tomorrows enemy is todays friend!!

17-Apr-2012 05:34 AM

Comment Very good Srini!! Good logic.. but politicians will beat you if they happen to see this :D

17-Apr-2012 05:22 AM

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