Political Parties - Polity and Constitution, UPSC, IAS. UPSC Notes | EduRev

Polity and Constitution (Prelims) by IAS Masters

UPSC : Political Parties - Polity and Constitution, UPSC, IAS. UPSC Notes | EduRev

The document Political Parties - Polity and Constitution, UPSC, IAS. UPSC Notes | EduRev is a part of the UPSC Course Polity and Constitution (Prelims) by IAS Masters.
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Political Parties


  • A political party is a group of individuals who are united in a specific political cause or opinion, especially on a national or regional basis
  • Who try to gain political gain through constitutional means
  • A political party's main function is to link the rulers and the ruled.
  • This it does through nominating candidates for public offices, formulating policy and setting the agenda for the public, and mobilizing support for candidates and policies during an election.

Types of political parties

  1. Radical or Left parties
  2. Liberal or centrist parties
  3. Conservative or Right parties

Radical or Left parties

  • which aim at establishing a new order by overthrowing the existing institutions
  • For exp. CPI and CPM

Liberal or centrist parties

  • Which aim at reforming the existing institutions
  • Congress is an example of it

Conservative or Right parties

  • Which believe in status-quo
  • For exp. BJP

Types of party systems

single-party system

  • In which only one party exists and no opposition is permitted
  •  This exists in totalitarian countries like China and the former USSR, where only the Communist Party was allowed.

Bi-party system

  • There are two dominant parties in this kind of system.
  • The US and the UK have traditionally been dominated by two major political parties.

Multi-party system

  • In which there are a number of political parties leading top a coalition governments
  • This exists in countries like France, Italy, Germany, and India.
  • many political parties are involved and play an active role in politics.

Features of India's party system

  1. Multiplicity of political parties
  2. Decline of the one party dominance and 'Congress system'
  3. Coalitions
  4. Parties based on multiple social cleavages
  5. Fragmentation of political parties
  6. Importance of state political parties
  7. Centralizing and divisive tendencies

Multiplicity of political parties

  • Because India has several regions, languages and communities, there are many political parties in India.
  • More than 70 political parties contested in India's first elections in 1951, and the number is more now.
  • India has several regional parties and a few national parties.

Decline of the one party dominance and 'Congress system‘

  • Till 1977, when the Congress party first lost an election, political scientists called India's party system one of 'single-party dominance' or the 'Congress system'.
  • But the Congress is not longer the dominant political party.
  • Since 1989, no party in India has been able to win an absolute majority.


  • Since 1989, every government in India has been based on coalitions of several political parties.
  • At present the United Progressive Alliance, a coalition of the Congress, the DMK, the Trinamool Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party, and others, is the ruling coalition.

Parties based on multiple social cleavages

  • Some are formed on the basis of a regional identities, others on the basis of caste, and some are based on political ideas or philosophy.
  • The SP, the BSP, and the Akali Dal, are examples.

Fragmentation of political parties

  • There are frequent splits and mergers.
  • The Congress itself has gone through several splits and mergers.

Importance of state political parties

  • In states like UP and Tamil Nadu, the national political parties have only a weak presence.
  • Political parties which are based in states, like the DMK and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have become more important because of coalition politics.

Centralizing and divisive tendencies

  • While there are multiple political divisions in India, this has made it necessary for parties which want to gain power to look for support from many sections of society.
  • Even the BJP has tried to reach across to people of other religions and languages in order to gain political power in the centre.


Recognition of a party

  • Political parties are registered by the Elections commission for the purpose of elections
  • Election commission recognised them as national or state parties on the basis of their poll performance.

State Party

If following conditions are fulfilled:

  1. If it secures 6% of the valid votes polled in the Assembly election of the state and in addition it wins 2 seats in the concerned LA
  2. If it secures 6% votes in LS election in the state and wins 1 seat in the LS from the State
  3. If it wins 3% or 3 seats in the Assembly whichever is more
  4. If it wins 1 seat in LS for every 25 seats or any fraction thereof allotted to the state at the LS election from the state

National Party

If following conditions are fulfilled:

  1. If it secures 6% votes in LS or LA election and in addition it wins 4 seats in the LS from any state or states
  2. If it 3% of LS seats and these candidates from 3 states
  3. If it is recognised as a state party in 4 states

National Parties in India


Estb year


Indian National Congress



Communist Party of India


Corn & sickle

Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Hammer, Sickle & star

Bharatiya Janata Party



Bahujan Samaj Party Party



Rashtriya Janta Dal


Hurricane lamp

Nationalist Congress Party




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