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MEANING AND TYPES
Political parties are voluntary associations or organised groups of individuals who share the same political views and who try to gain political power through constitutional means and who desire to work for promoting the national interest.

PARTY SYSTEM IN INDIA
The Indian party system has the following characteristic features: 

  • Multi-Party System 
  • One-Dominant Party System 
  • Lack of Clear Ideology 
  • Based on Traditional Factors 
  • Emergence of Regional Parties 
  • Factions and Defections 
  • Lack of Effective Opposition 

Conditions for Recognition as a National Party 
At present (2016), a party is recognised as a national party if any of the following conditions is fulfilled:
1. If it secures six per cent of valid votes polled in any four or more states at a general election to the Lok Sabha or to the legislative assembly; and, in addition, it wins four seats in the Lok Sabha from any state or states; or
2. If it wins two per cent of seats in the Lok Sabha at a general election; and these candidates are elected from three states; or
3. If it is recognised as a state party in four states.

Conditions for Recognition as a State Party 
At present (2016), a party is recognised as a state party in a state if any of the following conditions is fulfilled:
1. If it secures six per cent of the valid votes polled in the state at a general election to the legislative assembly of the state concerned; and, in addition, it wins 2 seats in the assembly of the state concerned; or
2. If it secures six per cent of the valid votes polled in the state at a general election to the Lok Sabha from the state concerned; and, in addition, it wins 1 seat in the Lok Sabha from the state concerned; or
3. If it wins three per cent of seats in the legislative assembly at a general election to the legislative assembly of the state concerned or 3 seats in the assembly, whichever is more; or
4. If it wins 1 seat in the Lok Sabha for every 25 seats or any fraction thereof allotted to the state at a general election to the Lok Sabha from the state concerned; or
5. If it secures eight per cent of the total valid votes polled in the state at a General Election to the Lok Sabha from the state or to the legislative assembly of the state. This condition was added in 2011.

The document Laxmikanth: Summary of Political Parties | Indian Polity for UPSC CSE is a part of the UPSC Course Indian Polity for UPSC CSE.
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FAQs on Laxmikanth: Summary of Political Parties - Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

1. What is the importance of political parties in a democracy?
Ans. Political parties play a crucial role in a democracy as they serve as a link between the government and the citizens. They help in the representation of diverse interests, provide a platform for political participation, and facilitate the formation of governments. Political parties also contribute to policy development, political stability, and accountability in a democratic system.
2. How are political parties formed in India?
Ans. Political parties in India are formed through a process of registration with the Election Commission of India (ECI). Any group of individuals can come together and form a political party by following the guidelines set by the ECI. These guidelines include having a unique party name, a constitution, and adhering to certain eligibility criteria such as having a minimum number of members and fulfilling the conditions outlined in the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
3. What are the different types of political parties in India?
Ans. In India, political parties can be broadly categorized into national parties and regional parties. National parties are those that have a presence and recognition across multiple states, while regional parties are confined to specific states or regions. Examples of national parties include the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indian National Congress (INC), while regional parties include the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal and the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.
4. How do political parties participate in elections?
Ans. Political parties participate in elections by fielding candidates to contest seats in various legislative bodies such as the Parliament, State Legislative Assemblies, and Local Bodies. They mobilize their party members and supporters, campaign for their candidates, and engage in activities like rallies, public meetings, door-to-door canvassing, and media advertisements. Political parties also formulate and promote their election manifestos, which outline their policy positions and promises to the electorate.
5. What are the challenges faced by political parties in India?
Ans. Political parties in India face various challenges, including maintaining internal cohesion, managing factionalism, and dealing with the influence of money and muscle power in elections. Other challenges include ensuring effective leadership, addressing the concerns of diverse social groups, and combating corruption and criminalization of politics. Additionally, political parties also struggle with the need to balance regional interests with national priorities and maintaining public trust in the face of increasing political polarization.
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