Political parties : A political party is a group of people who come together to contest election and hold power in the government.
In this section we will discuss about political parties, why they are important for any country. We will also discuss various national parties and state parties of India. And some challanges faced by these political parties and some reforms for political parties. So let’s start our topic ….
Why we need political parties ?
Think a situation in which a candiate in the election will be independent, then he/she is not able to make any promise to the people. And may be if he/she wins the election and formed government . He/she do anything which he wants as he is not responsible for how the government will run as he/she doesn’t work on major policy . And we already know that political parties based on their particular agenda.
Components of political parties
A political party has very three components :-
- The active members
- The followers.
Functions of political parties
- Parties could contest election to form government.
- Parties put forward different policies and programmes and the voters choose from them.
- Parties play a decisive role in making laws for a country.
- Parties form and run government.
- Those parties that lose in the elections play the role of opposition to the parties in power by by opposing the government for its failures or wrong policies.
- Parties shape public opinion by raising and highlight issues.
- Parties provide people access to government machinery and welfare schemes implemented by government.
One party system
• In this system there is only one political party in the country.
• There is no competition in this system.
• People only have two choice in the election : not vote at all or yes or no against the name of candiate nominated by the party.
• Some examples of this type of party system are China, Korea.
Two party system
• In this type of party system there are two parties in the country.
• That party which wins the election makes government and other party forms opposition.
• This system is also known as bi party system.
• Other parties are also here but only two polical parties are powerful in this system.
• Example : USA and UK.
Multi party system
• If several political parties compete for power, and more than two parties have a reasonable chance of coming to power either on their own power or in alliance with others , we call it multi party system.
• In this system there are many political parties .
• But due to many political parties no one is able to get its majority.
• Then many political parties join together for the purpose of running government, it is also known as alliance.
• Multi party system appears messy and leads to political instability.
• Example : India.
National political parties
A party that secures at least 6% of total votes in Lok Sabha election or assembly election in four states and wins at least four seats in the Lok Sabha is recognised as a national party.
Currently there are eight national political parties in India whicha are as follows :
|Name of the party||Founded by||Year||Current president|
|Indian National Congress (INC)||A.O. Hume|
Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee
|Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)||Bhartiya Jana Singh|
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
|1980||Jagat Prakash Nadda|
|Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)||kanshi Ram||1984||Mayawati|
|Communist Party of India – Marxist (CPI-M)||Jyoti Basu|
|Communist Party of India (CPI)||M.N. Roy|
|Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)||Sharad Pawar|
|All India Trinamool Congress||Mamta Banerjee||1998||Mamta Banerjee|
|National People’s Party||P.A. Sangma||2013||Conrad Sangma|
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 two seats is recognised as state party. More than 850 parties are registered by Election Commission as state parties.
No one national party is able to secure on its own a majority in lok sabha . As a result, the national parties are compelled to form alliances with state parties. Since 1996 every one of the state parties has an opportunity to be a part of one or the other national level coalition government.
Challenges to political parties
- Lack of internal democracy : (i) Power is concentrated in the hands of few.
(ii) Parties do not keep membership registers, do not hold organisational meetings, and do not conduct internal elections regularly.
(iii) Ordinary members do not have access to information, cannot influence decisions.
(iv) Decision is taken by top leaders
- Dynastic succession is related to the first one : (i) Leaders on top have unfair advantage to favour people close to them or family members.
(ii) Top position is controlled by family members in most parties.
(iii) Top leaders gave high positions to their friends, relatives , and family members instead of giving them to those have potential.
- Money and muscle power : (i) Candidates who can raise money are nominated.
(ii) Rich people and companies who give funds to the parties tend to have influence on the policies and decisions of the party.
(iii) In one sentence we can say that votes are buy by candidates and we sell our valuable vote.
- No meaningful choice : (i) There is not much difference in ideology among parties. e.g, labour party and conservative party of Britain.
(ii) The only difference is the details of implementation more than fundamental principles.
(iii) Sometimes people cannot even elect very different leaders because the same set of leaders keep shifting from one one party to another.
How can political parties be reformed ?
In order to face above mention challanges, political parties need to be reformed. Let us look at some of the recent efforts and suggestions in our country to reform political parties and its leaders are as follows :
- The constitution was amended to prevent MPs and MLAs from changing party. Now if any minister was caught in defection(changing party allegiance from the party on which a person got elected to a different party) he)she will lose the seat in legislature.
- Supreme court passed an order that who contest election was necessary to file an affidavit giving details of his property and criminal cases pending against him.
- It should be made mandatory for political parties to give a minimum number of tickets, about 1/3 to women candidates.
- The election commission passed an order making it necessary for political parties to hold their organisational elections and file their income tax returns.