Role of political parties in democracies, formation of constitutional designs, electoral politics and in the making and working of governments.
Symbols of Different Political Parties in India
Why do We Need Political Parties?
- A Political Party is a group of people who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government.
- They agree on some policies and programmes for the society with a view to promote the collective good.
- Thus, a party is known by which part it stands for, which policies it supports and whose interests it upholds. A political party has three components:
- The leaders
- The active members
- The followers
- All political parties have some policies and programmes for society with a view to promote the collective good.
- They try to persuade people why their policies are better than others. They seek to implement their policies by winning popular support through elections.
Question for Chapter Notes: Political Parties
Try yourself: What are the three components of a political party?
- A political party consists of three main components: the leaders, the active members, and the supporters.
- The leaders are the key figures who hold positions of power within the party and make important decisions.
- The active members are individuals who actively participate in party activities, campaigns, and policy-making processes.
- The supporters are the general public who align themselves with the party's policies and ideologies and vote for the party in elections.
- These three components work together to promote the party's policies and programs and strive to gain popular support through elections.
- Candidates are put forward by political parties to contest elections. These candidates may be chosen by the top leaders or by members of the party.
- Parties put forward their policies and programmes for voters to choose from them.
- They bring various representatives together so that a responsible government could be formed.
- They work as a mechanism to support or restrain the government, make policies, justify or oppose them.
How many parties should we have?
- Depends on the nature of society, its social and regional divisions etc.
- Different types of Party systems are there:
(a) Single party system (China)
(b) Bi-party system (England and USA)
(c) Multi-party system (India)
- No system is ideal for all countries
- Evolve over a long time depending on the nature of society, its social and religious divisions, its history of politics etc.
- India is a Multi-party system due to social and geographical diversity.
Popular Participation in Political Parties
- Level of participation in the activities of the parties — very high in India.
- Advanced countries like Canada, Japan, Spain and South Korea much less.
- People in India who feel close to a political party — membership of political parties has also gone up.
National Political Parties
- Are having units in various states
- Have their Registration with Election Commission
- A party that secures at least 6% of the total votes in an election to the Legislative Assembly of a State and wins at least 2 seats is recognised as a State Party.
- A party that secures at least 6% of the total votes in Lok Sabha elections or Assembly elections in 4 States and wins at least 4 seats in the Lok Sabha is recognised as a National Party.
Major National Parties in India
There were 7 recognised national parties in the country in 2018.
- All India Trinamool Congress (AITC)
- Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)
- Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
- Communist Party of India (CPI)
- Communist Party of India – Marxist (CPI-M)
- Indian National Congress (INC)
- Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)
- Regional parties
- Coalition govt, and part of it
- Strengthening federalism and democracy
- Parties - Regional level - Rashtriya Janata Dal (1998)
- Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (2013)
- Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (2006), Goa Forward Party (2016)
- Shiromani Akali Dal (1920), Shiv Sena (1966) and others.
Question for Chapter Notes: Political Parties
Try yourself: How are candidates selected to contest elections?
- Candidates to contest elections are put forward by political parties.
- The selection process may vary depending on the party.
- In some cases, candidates are chosen by the top leaders of the party.
- These top leaders have the authority to decide which individuals will represent the party in elections.
- They consider factors such as the candidate's loyalty, popularity, and ability to connect with voters.
- The selection process is crucial as it determines the party's representation and the choices available to voters.
- In other cases, candidates may be chosen by members of the party through internal party elections or consultations.
- This allows for more democratic participation within the party.
- Ultimately, the goal is to select candidates who can effectively represent the party's policies and connect with the voters.
Challenges to Political Parties
- Lack of internal democracy
- No internal elections
- No membership registers
- No role/voice of ordinary members
- Decisions by top leaders
- Dynastic succession - Control of one family e.g., Congress, Akali Dal, SP etc.
- Role of money and muscle power
- Short cut to elections
- Criminals as candidates
- No meaningful choice before the voters
- No major difference in the policies same policies in the economic field.
How can Parties be Reformed :
- Very difficult because decisions to be taken by party leaders
- Recent efforts are:
- Anti - Defection Law
- Supreme Court order made it mandatory for every candidate to file an affidavit giving details of the property and criminal cases.
- Election Commission to hold organisational elections
- Suggestions, to maintain a register of members, to follow its constitution, state funding of elections, but yet no acceptance.