Pre-University (CIE) Comparative Government: Specimen Questions with Answers 45 - 45 of 53

Question 45

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Essay▾

Explain the term ‘gerrymandering’.

Explanation

  • Gerrymandering, according to Dr. Munro, is an attempt “to lay out the districts in such a way that the interests of the dominant party will be served”. The term Gerrymander is associated with the name of the Governor of Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry, who sanctioned the case of partisan district making.

  • The principle behind this practice is to spread the majorities of a particular party in as many districts as possible and concentrate the strength of the opposition party in as few districts as possible so that they capture less number of seats. This assures the largest number of seats for the party in the question and the fewest possible for the opponents.

  • Thus, delimitation of districts reshapes the districts, making the electoral map look like jigsaw puzzle. Hence, it has resulted in the emergence of shoestring, saddle bell districts, starfish or lizard type districts. Commenting on the evils of Gerrymandering, Beard rightly remarks “… as a result of Gerrymandering, the House of Representatives is seldom if ever an exact mirror of the political opinions expressed at the elections. “

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