Nizamabad Constituency 2019 Mega Elections (B): Engineering a Triumph for the Indian Electoral Machinery
During the Indian general election of 2019, the Nizamabad constituency in Telangana state found itself in an unprecedented situation with a record 185 candidates competing for one seat. Most of these candidates were local farmers who saw the election as a platform for raising awareness about local issues, particularly the perceived lack of government support for guaranteeing minimum support prices for their crops. More than 185 candidates had in fact contested elections from a single constituency in a handful of elections in the past. The Election Commission of India (ECI) had declared them to be "special elections" where it made exceptions to the original election schedule to accommodate the large number of candidates. However, in the 2019 general election, the ECI made no such exceptions, announcing instead that polling in Nizamabad would be conducted as per the original schedule and results would be declared at the same time as the rest of the country. This presented a unique and unexpected challenge for Rajat Kumar, the Telangana Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) and his team. How were they to conduct free and fair and elections within the mandated timeframe with the largest number of electronic voting machines (EVMs) ever deployed to address the will of 185 candidates in a constituency with 1.55 million voters from rural and semi-urban areas? Case A describes the electoral process followed by the world's largest democracy to guarantee free and fair elections. It concludes by posing several situational questions, the answers to which will determine whether the polls in Nizamabad are conducted successfully or not. Case B, which should be revealed after students have had a chance to deliberate on the challenges posed in Case A, describes the decisions and actions taken by Kumar and his team in preparation for the Nizamabad polls and the events that took place on election day and afterward.
To demonstrate how a quantitative approach to decision making can be used in the public policy domain to achieve end goals. To learn how resource allocation decisions can be made by understanding the scale of the problem, the various resource constraints, and the end goals. To discover operational innovations in the face of regulatory and technical constraints and complete the required steps. To understand the multiple steps involved in conducting elections in the Indian context.