How people elect parliaments
The Lok Sabha (House of the People) of the Bhārat kī Sansad (Parliament) of India is an assembly of (currently) 545 members, representing the largest democratic electorate in the world, with over 714 million registered electors in 2009.
Up to 530 seats in the Lok Sabha are allocated to single member divisions (‘constituencies’) in the 28 Indian states, and up to 20 further seats are allocated to single member divisions in the 7 Union Territories. At present there are 543 such divisions in total.
There is no imposed federal malapportionment between the states and territories. Each jurisdiction is allocated numbers of constituencies in proportion to their populations using the xxx formula.
The Indian Constitution lays down general principles for a policy of affirmative action for ‘scheduled’ castes and tribes of people for the advancement of these disadvantaged ethnic and social groups. According to the 2001 Census the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes make up around 15% and 7.5% respectively of the population of India. In each state and in some territories some of the allotted electoral constituencies are specially established to elect representatives of scheduled castes and tribes. While this leads to geographical overlay in the electoral division maps, each individual elector, whatever their social categorisation, is registered in only one division.
Members are directly elected to all electoral divisions by the plurality voting method.
Finally, two additional members may be nominated directly to the Lok Sabha by the President of India from among the Anglo-Indian community if the President believes that this community is not adequately represented.
Indian electoral divisions are by a large margin the largest (in terms of population) single-member divisions for electing parliamentarians in the democratic world. The logistics involved mean that population estimates are more difficult than in many other nations. Despite this, the Indian authorities maintain voter registration data which in preparation for the 2009 elections revealed an average voter registration of around 1,500,000 persons per division.
The division boundaries for the 2009 election were those drawn by the independent Delimitation Commission based on the national census of 2001.
Inequality in the effective influence of voters caused by variations in Lok Sabha constituency enrolments has been significant in recent elections, with the standard deviation of variations compared to the mean enrolment being 18.9% in 2009. Given that this election benefited from a substantial review of population data and constituency boundaries, it is likely that this result is lower in general than was the case for previous elections.
[nomination openness – party configurations]
[summary of results]
Indian national elections are conducted over 5 separate election days. The current (15th) Lok Sabha was elected in April-May 2009.
Inequality in the effective influence of voters caused by variations in constituency turnouts (formal votes) has been significant in recent elections, with the standard deviation of variations compared to the mean formal vote being 23.3% in 2009.
[inequality by margins]
2009 – 2014
[data source – data completeness – anomalous contests – augmentation]
[Datasets are not yet published]