1. Introduction : Role of political parties in democracies, formation of constitutional designs, in electoral politics and in the making and working of governments.
2. Why do We Need Political Parties? : (i) Political Party - a group of people who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government
(ii) Parties a reflection of fundamental political divisions in a society
(iii) Three components
(a) The leaders
(b) The active members
(c) The followers
(a) To contest elections
(b) To put forward different policies and programmes
(c) Party in power plays a decisive role in making laws
(d) Forms and runs governments
(e) Role of opposition
(f) Shape public opinion
(g) Provide people access to government machinery and welfare schemes
(v) Necessity : to perform above functions in a representative democracy
(vi) Popular participation in political parties
(a) Parties do not enjoy much trust
(b) Least trusted institutions all over the world
(c) Yet participation in the activities of political fairly high.
3. How Many Parties should We have? : (i) Depends on the nature of society, its social and regional divisions etc.
(ii) Different types
(a) Single party system (China)
(b) Bi- party system (England and USA)
(c) Multi-party system (India)
(d) No system ideal for all countries
(e) Evolve over a long time depending on nature of society, its social and religious divisions, its history of politics etc.
(f) India - Multi-party system due to social and geographical diversity.
4. National Political Parties: (i) Units in various states
(ii) Registration with Election Commission
(iii) Recognised political parties : State Party - 6 per cent of total votes in an election to the Legislative Assembly : National Party 6 per cent of the total votes in Lok Sabha elections or Assembly election’s in four states and 4 seats in the Lok Sabha
(iv) 2017- Seven recognised national parties - All India Trinamool Congress (ATTC), Rahujan Samaj Party, Bharatiya Janta Party (282 scats in 2014 Lok Sabha elections), Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI), Indian National Congress - at present principal opposition party; Nationalist Congress Party.
5. State Parties : (i) Regional parties
(ii) Coalition govt, and part of it
(iii) Strengthening federalism and democracy
(iv) Parties - Regional level - Rashtriya Janata Dal (1998), Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (2013), Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (2006), Goa Forward Party (2016), Shiromani Akaii Dal (1920), Shiv Sena (1966) and others.
6. Challenges to Political Parties : (i) Lack of internal democracy
(a) No internal elections
(b) No membership registers
(c) No role/voice of ordinary members
(d) Decisions by top leaders
(ii) Dynastic succession - Control of one family e.g., Congress, Akaii Dal, SP etc.
(iii) Role of money and muscle power
(a) Short cut to elections
(b) Criminals as candidates
(iv) No meaningful choice before the voters
(v) No major difference in the policies same policies in the economic field.
7. How can. Parties be Reformed : (i) Very difficult because decisions to be taken by party leaders
(ii) Recent efforts
(a) Anti - Defection Law
(b) Supreme Court order made mandatory for every candidate to file affidavit giving details of property and criminal cases
(c) Election Commission to hold organisational elections
(d) Suggestions, to maintain register of members, to follow its constitution, state funding of elections, but yet no acceptance.