Q. 1. Read the passage and answer the questions below: ‘Party politics in India has confronted numerous challenges. Not only has the Congress system destroyed itself, but the fragmentation of the Congress coalition has triggered a new emphasis on self-representation which raises questions about the party system and its capacity to accommodate diverse interest.
An important test facing the politically is to evolve a party system or political parties that can effectively articulate and aggregate a ‘variety of interests.’ — Zoya Hasan
(i) Write a short note on what the author calls challenges of the party system in the light of what you have read in this chapter.
(ii) Give an example from this chapter of the lack of accommodation and aggregation mentioned in this passage.
(iii) Why is it necessary for parties to accommodate and aggregate variety of interests?
Ans. (i) The author calls challenges to coalition government as well as coalition in Congress party itself to trigger a new emphasis on self-representation.
(ii) To unsolve a party system to accommodate diverse interests but the political parties formed under the leadership of Kanshi Ram for Dalits only.
(iii) It is necessary for parties to accommodate and aggregate variety of interests to maintain the culture of India ‘Unity in Diversity’ so that there should be no space for separatist movements in India.
Q. 2. In 2014 elections, people have voted for a stable government at the centre. Do you think that the era of coalition has ended? Support your answer with suitable arguments?
Ans. After independence, Congress party came in power. It ruled over the country as a democratic government till 1977. One after the other, the government was represented by Congress Prime Ministers like Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and then Indira Gandhi. It was due to some political upheaval, a state of Emergency was declared in 1975. During Emergency, all the opposition leaders were jailed and their constitutional powers were ceased. It made all the opposition leaders unite and form first united party in the name of Janata Party which came in power in 1977, the general elections held soon after the Emergency.
Though it could not last long, but it started a new concept of rule in India. One after the other, India saw many governments ruled by alliance group, except a few single-partyled governments. But, with the elections of 1989, a long phase of coalition politics began in India. Since then, there has been nine governments at the Centre all of which have either been coalition government or minority government supported by other parties which did not join the government. The National Front government in 1989, the United Front government in 1996 and 1997, the NDA government in 1997, 1998 and 1999 and then UPA government in 2004 and 2009 and again BJP-led NDA government in 2014 have been the coalition governments in India. In none of these governments, any one single party had the number enough to form the government on its own.
But in 2014, there was a change in the pattern. BJP could gain 284 seats in the Lok Sabha elections which was sufficient to form the government on its own which required to only 272. But, as the election was fought with the pre-poll alliance by NDA led by BJP, so the present government was formed with Narendra Modi, the leader of BJP.
This election shows that people are turning to the single party government at the Centre which may be stable. People have experienced the lack of stability, lack of policy decision and lack of proper development in the government ruled by the coalition group.
Q. 3. In the midst of severe competition and many conflicts in 1989, a consensus appeared to have emerged among most parties. Explain any three points.
‘‘In the midst of severe competition and many conflicts, a consensus appears to have emerged among most political parties of India.’’ In the light of this statement, analyse any three elements of growing consensus.
Describe any four issues on which a broad consensus has emerged among most political parties of India during the coalition era.
Ans. ELEMENTS OF GROWING CONSENSUS:
(i) Agreement on new economic policies: Most political parties are in support of the new economic policies. They believe it would lead to prosperity.
(ii) Acceptance of political and social claims of the backward classes: All political parties now support reservation of seats for backward classes.
(iii) Role of Regional Parties: State level parties are sharing power at the national level and have played a central role in the country’s politics.
(iv) Pragmatic Consideration: Coalition politics has shifted the focus of political parties from ideological differences to power sharing arrangements.
This consensus consists of:
(i) Agreement of new economic policies: Most parties were in support of the new economic policies and believed that these policies would lead the country to prosperity and a status of economic power in the world.
(ii) Acceptance of the political and social claims of the backward castes : Political parties had recognised that the social and political claims of the backward castes need to be accepted and support reservation of seats for OBC in education and employment.
(iii) Acceptance of the role of state level parties in governance of the country: State level parties were sharing power at the national level and had played a central role in the country’s politics.
(iv) Emphasis on pragmatic considerations rather than ideological positions and political alliances without ideological agreement as most parties of the NDA did not agree with the ‘Hindutva’ ideology of the BJP. Yet, they came together to form a government and remained in power for a full term of five years.
Q. 4. Unscramble a bunch of disarranged press clipping file of Unni-Munni…… and arrange the file chronologically.
(i) Mandal Recommendations and Anti Reservation Stir
(ii) Formation of Janata Dal
(iii) The demolition of Babri Masjid
(iv) Assassination of Indira Gandhi
(v) The formation of NDA government
(vi) Godhra incident and its fallout
(vii) Formation of UPA government
Ans. The chronological order is:
(i) Assassination of Indira Gandhi (1984)
(ii) Formation of Janata Dal (1989)
(iii) Mandal Recommendations and Anti Reservation Stir (1990)
(iv) The demolition of Babri Masjid (1992)
(v) The formation of NDA government (1997)
(vi) Godhra incident and its fallout (2002)
(vii) Formation of UPA government (2004)
Q. 5. Many people think that a two-party system is required for successful democracy. Drawing from India’s experience of last twenty years, write an essay on what advantages the present party system in India has.
Ans. In the first decade of electoral politics, India did not have a recognised opposition party. But some of the vibrant and diverse opposition parties had come into being even before the first general elections of 1952 as the non-Congress parties. Hence, the roots of almost all the non-Congress parties of today can be traced to one or the other of the opposition parties of 1950s.
All these opposition parties gained only a representation, still their presence played a crucial role in maintaining democratic character of system. Hence, due to following reasons, two-party system is required for successful democracy:
(i) Within two-party system, the opposition party offers a sustained and principled criticism of policies and practices of ruling party keeping it under a strict check.
(ii) By keeping democratic political alternative alive, these parties prevented the resentment with the system from turning anti-democratic.
On the basis of above mentioned features, it is justifiable to have a two-party system which has following advantages:
(a) India has arrived at more competitive politics.
(b) Political parties act within the spheres of consensus.
(c) New forms, vision, pathways of development have been identified.
(d) Issues like poverty, displacement, minimum wages, livelihood and social security are being put on political agenda.
(e) Issues of justice and democracy are being voiced by various classes, castes and regions to remind states its responsibility.