Q1: State the various functions political parties perform in a democracy.
Analyse the main functions of ‘political parties.'
Ans: The various functions of political parties in a democracy are:
(i) In most democracies, parties contest elections by nominating a person as their candidate in the election.
(ii) Voters have their opinion and they choose a party which also follows the same. Parties put forward a multitude of different policies and programme to ensure that more people identify their opinion with the party and therefore support it.
(iii) Parties play a decisive role in making laws for a country. Candidates from the ruling party form the majority members of legislature and executive. They generally implement laws with respect to the opinions and policies the party had earlier stated.
(iv) Parties form and run governments. As we noted last year, the big policy decisions are taken by political executive that comes from the political parties. Parties recruit leaders, trains them and then make them ministers to run the government in the way they want.
(v) Those parties that do not form part of the government after the elections play the role of opposition. They act as balance of power and opinion to the government.
(vi) Parties shape public opinion by raising and highlighting issues. Parties also raise issues of matter to the public in front of the government.
(vii) Party members provide citizens access to government schemes. They are more approachable than government officers since parties have to be responsive to people’s demands. This ensures them support .of the people in elections.
Q2: What are the various challenges faced by political parties?
Examine the main ‘challenges’ before ‘political parties.’
Ans: Main challenges before political parties:
(i) Lack of internal democracy: All over the world, there is a tendency of political parties towards the concentration of power in one or few leaders at the top. Parties do not keep membership register. They do not regularly hold organisational meetings. They do not conduct interval elections regularly. Ordinary members of the party do not have sufficient information as to what happens inside the party. As a result, the leaders assume greater power to make decisions in the name of the party.
(ii) Dynastic succession is related to the first one: A rule in which the family’s generation rules forever and there can be no change. This is against the democracy. This is one of the major problems that political parties have to confront with and is a hindrance for ordinary citizens, who aspire to join politics.
(iii) Money and muscle power: Rich people and companies who give funds to the parties tend to have influence on the policies and decisions of the party.
(iv) No meaningful choice: It means, in recent years, there has been a decline in the ideological differences among parties in most parts of the world. Parties are no longer significantly different. Sometimes people cannot even elect very different leaders either, because the same set of leaders keep shifting from one party to another. For example, the difference between the labour party and the conservative party in Britain is very low.
(v) Casteism and religion have always been challenges. People prefer to vote for the representatives of their own caste and religion.
Q3: Suggest some reforms to strengthen parties so that they perform their functions well?
(i) Internal Affairs:
(a) A law should be made to regulate internal affairs of political parties.
(b) There should be open elections for all posts.
(c) Parties should maintain a register of members.
(ii) Women candidates:
(a) It should be mandatory to give one-third tickets to women candidates.
(b) The women should be given adequate representation in the decision making bodies.
(iii) State funding of elections: To curb on money power, there should be state funding of elections. This funding could be in kind such as petrol or cash as decided by the parties.
(iv) The above suggestions have not been accepted by the political parties. In such situation there are two other ways to reform political parties as given below:
(a) There should be pressure of the people through petitions, publicity and agitations to make political parties more serious about reforms.
(b) People should join political parties in large number to reform it. It is easier to reform a party from within than from outside.
Q4: What is a political party?
Ans: A political party is a group of people who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government. A political party has three important components:
(i) Party Leadership
(ii) Party members
(iii) Party Followers.
Political parties contest elections and occupy political offices to exercise political power.
Q5: What are the characteristics of a political party?
Ans: Characteristics of a political party
(i) A political party is a group of people who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government.
(ii) They agree on some policies & programmes for the society with a view to promote the collective good.
(iii) Since there can be different views on what is good for all, parties try to persuade people why their policies are better than others.
(iv) They seek to implement these policies by winning popular support through elections.
(v) Parties reflect fundamental political division in a society, parties are about the part of a society & thus involve partisanship.
(vi) Thus a party is known by which part it stands for, which policies it supports & whose interests it upholds.
Q6: A group of people who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government is called a ..........
Ans: A group of people who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government is called a political party.
Q7: Match List I (organisations and struggles) with List II and select the correct answer using the codes given below the lists:
National Democratic Alliance
Bharatiya Janata Party
Communist Party of India (Marxist)
United Progressive Alliance
Telugu Desam party
Q8: Who among the following is the founder of the Bahujan Samaj Party?
(Α. Kanshi Ram
(Β. Sahu Maharaj
(C. Β.R. Ambedker
(D. Jotiba Phule
Ans: Α. Kanshi Ram
Q9: What is the guiding philosophy of the Bharatiya Janata Party?
(a) Bahujan Samaj
(b) Revolutionary democracy
(c) Integral humanism
Ans: D. Modernity
Bhartiya Janta Party
Q10: Consider the following statements on parties.
(a) Political parties do not enjoy much trust among the people.
(b) Parties are often rocked by scandals involving top party leaders.
(c) Parties are not necessary to run governments.
Which of the statements given above are correct?
(a) A, B and C
(b) A and B
(c) B and C
(d) A and C
Ans: (b) A and B
Q11: Read the following passage and answer the questions given below:
Muhammad Yunus is a famous economist of Bangladesh. He received several international honours for his efforts to promote economic and social development for the benefit of the poor. He and the Grameen Bank jointly, received the Nobel Peace Prize for the 2006. In February 2007, he decided to launch a political party and contest in the parliamentary elections. His objective was to foster proper leadership, good governance and build a new Bangladesh. He felt that only a political party different from the traditional ones woxild bring about new political culture. His party would be democratic from the grassroots level.
The launching of the new party, called Nagarik Shakti (Citizens’ Power), has caused a stir among the Bangladeshis. While many welcomed his decision, some did not like it. "Now I think Bangladesh will have a chance to choose between good and bad and eventually have a good government”, said Shahedul Islam, a government official. "That government, we hope, would not only keep itself away from corruption but also make fighting corruption and black money a top priority.”
But leaders of traditional political parties who dominated the country’s politics for decades were apprehensive. “There was no debate (over him) winning the Nobel, but politics is different - very challenging and often controversial”, said a senior leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Some others were highly critical. They asked why he was rushing into politics. “Is he being planted in politics by mentors from outside the country”, asked one political observer.
(a) Do you think Yunus made a rigbit decision to float a new political party?
(b) Do you agree with the statements and fears expressed by various people?
(c) How do you want this new party organised to make it different from other parties?
(d) If you were the one to begin this political party how would you defend it?
(a) He has made a right decision. In a democracy every citizen has a right to form political party or join a political party.
(b) No, The statements and fears expressed by various people and apprehensions of the traditional political parties are baseless. Yunus has established Grameen Bank for the welfare of the people. He knows about the welfare of the people and will be successful in politics too.
(c) The new party should be organised on democratic lines. Organisational elections should be held regularly. There should be transparency in the working of the party. Due representation should be given to all sections of the society including women and minorities.
(d) I would defend the formation of the party on the ground that in a democracy, every citizen has a right to join or form a political party of his choice.
|1. What is the role of political parties in a democracy?|
|2. How are political parties formed in India?|
|3. What are the challenges faced by political parties in India?|
|4. How do political parties finance their activities?|
|5. What is the significance of political parties in the functioning of Parliament?|