- Culture & Society
Uttar Pradesh - Electing a new Parliament in 7 steps
21 Feb 2022
One of the largest elections in the world is currently taking place in northern India: The members of the legislative assembly of Uttar Pradesh (UP) are due to be selected by the populace. Although the election in UP cannot compete with the largest free election in human history – the Indian general election in 2019, which had an electorate of over 900 million people. Nevertheless, the balloting in Uttar Pradesh, as the most populous state in India, poses an enormous logistical challenge. Therefore, all adult citizens are called to the polls in 7 phases. On the first election date on February 10, 2022, voters in the far west of the state had the opportunity to cast their vote. After five more election dates in February and March, the constituencies in the far east of the state will finally have their turn on March 7th. Three days later, the votes will be counted and the election results will be announced.
As it is the case in the general elections, a 5-year parliamentary term and the majority voting system apply to the assembly elections in UP. In each of the 403 constituencies, one MP is elected to represent that constituency in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh. In order to then be able to form the government of Uttar Pradesh with the Chief Minister at the top, a party coalition must achieve a majority of seats in parliament.
Some of the constituencies are reserved exclusively for candidates who belong to the so-called Scheduled Castes (SCs) or Scheduled Tribes (STs). SCs and STs designate societal groups that are recognized as particularly disadvantaged in the Indian constitution and therefore have a constitutional right to compensation. These particularly marginalised groups include certain castes (SCs) on the one hand and indigenous population groups (STs) on the other. The state-guaranteed compensatory measures include quota regulations for state employment and for the education sector, as well as the reservation of seats in parliament for candidates from these groups.
A special feature of UP’s political system is that the state also has a second chamber of parliament, the Vidhan Parishad. This is only the case in 6 out of the 28 states of India. Similar to the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi, the 100 members of the Vidhan Parishad are not directly elected by the people. 10 MPs are appointed directly by the governor of UP, while the remaining 90 parliamentarians are elected partly by the deputies in the first chamber and partly by members of the municipal administration as well as teacher and academic committees. The deputies of the Vidhan Parishad are elected or appointed for a term of 6 years. They are involved in the legislative process as an advisory body, but legislative decision-making power rests with the Vidhan Sabha, the first chamber of parliament.
The current elections in Uttar Pradesh also have an indirect influence on the balance of power at the national level. Similar to Germany, all states and three of the eight union territories send representatives to the second chamber of India’s national parliament in New Delhi. Due to its high population, 31 of the 245 members of the Rajya Sabha are appointed by UP – more than by any other Indian state. However, due to the system of degressive proportionality, less populous states receive more seats in relation to their population than more populous states such as Uttar Pradesh. Nevertheless, the results of the legislative assembly elections in UP are already eagerly awaited. Since the next national elections are coming up in 2 years, the elections in UP can serve as an important indicator for the political climate in the country.
Do you want to learn more about how elections work in the world’s largest democracy? Then check out our article on the Indian electoral system! Moreover, you can find more information about the state of Uttar Pradesh in this article.
If you have any further questions about the election in Uttar Pradesh or elections in India in general, please write to us in the comments or to [email protected]
Written by: Ferdinand Schlechta
Cover Photo: Sylwia Bartyzel - Unsplash
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