Elections allude to a systematic democratic process, wherein adult citizens of the country, vote for their representatives, to represent them in the Parliament or Assembly. It enables every citizen aged 18 and over to participate in the formation of the government. There are three types of elections, namely, general elections, midterm elections and bye-elections. General elections are conducted to form new Lok Sabha or State Assembly.
Mid-term elections imply the elections carried out, on the dissolution of Lok Sabha or State Assembly, before the completion of its term, i.e. five years, so as to form new Lok Sabha or State State Assembly. Lastly, Bye-elections are conducted for a single constituency, because of a vacancy caused by death or resignation of the member of Lok Sabha or State Assembly.
There is a common misconception that general elections and bye-elections are one and the same, but there is a fine line of differences between them, which has been explained here.
Content: General Elections Vs Bye-elections
|Basis for Comparison||General Elections||Bye-elections|
|Meaning||General elections are the elections which are commonly organized in all or most of the constituencies at the same time of the country or state||Bye-elections refers to the election held in one constituency for the seat vacant owing to the death or resignation of the member.|
|Objective||To choose the government.||To fill the vacant seat.|
|When are they held?||These are held after every five years.||These are held before the completion of 6 months from the date, the seat becomes vacant.|
|Term||Election of the representative is for a full term.||Election of the representative is for the remaining term.|
Definition of General Elections
General Elections are described as the elections held in the entire country or say the state, for the seats of Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly. These elections are organized at the same time in all the constituencies, i.e. on the same day or within few days.
Every political party, contesting the elections nominate one candidate from their party for standing in the elections. In this way, the people of a constituency can elect the candidate of their choice out of several candidates from different political parties.
With general elections, citizens of the country have an opportunity to take part in the formation of the government, by voting for the candidate of their choice to represent them in the Parliament for a full term of five years.
Definition of Bye-elections
Bye-Elections, or otherwise spelt as By-elections, refers to the elections held in a particular constituency, due to the vacancy arrived, on the demise or resignation of the elected member for that seat, of the Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly. Bye-elections takes place to fill the vacant office between the general elections. These are called as by-polls in India, and special elections in the USA.
In these elections, a new representative is elected for a term so remained after the death or resignation of the former incumbent. These are also conducted when the election of the candidate is kept aside by the Judiciary.
In India, bye-elections of common, because of the Representation of the People Act, which permits a candidate to contest elections from two constituencies. And if a candidate contesting election from two constituencies, wins from both, then he/she has to give up one of the seats, which leads to bye-elections for the seat given up by him/her. These are also held, when a candidate selected in a particular constituency, switches party.
Key Differences Between General Elections and Bye-elections
The difference between general elections and bye-elections are elaborated here:
- General Elections are the regular elections which are held after every five years, in all the constituencies countrywide or statewide, to fill seats of the Lok Sabha and State Assembly. On the contrary, Bye-elections are the elections held only in one constituency in the mid-term, owing to the vacancy caused by death or resignation of the candidate elected for that seat.
- General elections are conducted with an aim of choosing the government. As against, Bye-elections are carried on with a purpose of filling the seat that falls vacant, after the demise or resignation of the incumbent.
- General elections are organized after every five years. Unlike bye-elections which are organized between general elections. Indeed, once the seat becomes vacant, bye-elections are organized within 6 months, from the date it becomes vacant.
- The candidate elected in the general elections can hold the office for a full term of five years. Conversely, the candidate winning bye-election can hold the office for remaining term only.
In short, general elections are the common elections which are necessary to be conducted after every five years to constitute the government. As against, bye-elections are often conducted in India for various reasons, than by just death or resignation of the member elected, from a constituency.