Maharashtra Assembly Elections 2019: A guide for first-time voters

Updated: Oct 15, 2019, 14:14 IST | mid-day online correspondent |

As a voter, it is important that you understand the politics of the nation and take a responsible decision.

This picture has been used for representational purposes only.
This picture has been used for representational purposes only.

If you are one of those people who squirms whenever the word ‘politics’ is dropped and can’t tell the difference between Rajya Sabha and Vidhan Sabha, you’ve landed at the right place. As a voter, it’s important that you understand the politics of the nation and take a responsible decision. So without further ado, let’s try and understand the dynamics behind the Maharashtra Assembly Elections.

What is a legislative assembly?

Well, to begin with, India follows the system of federalism. That means that the Centre and the state share power and responsibilities. At the central level, there is the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. At the state level, there is the Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Parishad (this exists only in some states, Maharashtra included). Let’s take a look at the difference between them.

What is the difference between Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Parishad?

While Vidhan Sabha is the lower house, Vidhan Parishad is the upper house. While Vidhan Sabha members are elected directly by the people as MLAs, Vidhan Parishad members can be chosen from MLAs, governor, graduates and teachers. Finally, while Vidhan Sabha members are elected for a period of 5 years, Vidhan Parishad members are elected for a period of six years and 1/3rd of the members retire every two years.

Vidhan Sabha

Who is an MLA?

An MLA or a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) is an elected representative of the constituency. Maharashtra has 288 constituencies and whichever party gets the maximum (should be more than 50%) forms the government and elects its chief minister. The role of an MLA is that of a legislator (forming new laws and modifying existing laws) and a representative (voicing concerns of the people in his/her constituency).


What do you mean by NOTA?

NOTA or ‘None of the above’ is a provision for a voter to not vote for any of the candidates. In case, the NOTA option receives the maximum votes, the candidate with the next highest votes wins the election.

How does an EVM machine work?

EVMs or Electronic Voter Machines have two units – controlling unit and balloting unit. When a voter casts his/her vote, the machine gets locked. This is to ensure that there is only one vote allowed per person. Also, a single EVM can record as many as 2000 votes. In the recent past, parties which have lost have alleged that the EVMs have been tampered with. However, no such incident has been proven. The Election Commission of India even organised a ‘hackathon’ last year for parties to prove their accusations but nothing came of it.

What do you mean by VVPATs?

VVPATs or Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail allows users to verify their votes by printing a receipt. This allows the voters to confirm that their votes have gone to the right party. Also, a VVPAT system is an added security measure to prevent EVM malfunction.

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