Political Parties in India
A political party is a group of people who share similar political views, come together to contest elections and try to hold power in the government. The members of the political parties agree on some policies and programmes for the society with a view to promote the collective good. Political parties that wish to contest local, state or national elections are required to be registered by the Election Commission of India (EC). Currently there are 6 national parties in India.
Composition and Constitution of Political Parties
A political party has three components: the leaders, the active members and the followers.
In modern political system, there are four types of political parties:
(i) Reactionary political parties, which believe in old political and socio-economic system.
(ii) Conservative political parties believe in maintaining status quo.
(iii) Liberal parties believe in reforming the existing system gradually.
(iv) Radical parties believe in changing the system very quickly and drastically, sometimes, even by overthrowing the existing institutions. Radical parties are called as leftist, liberal as centrist and conservative and reactionaries as rightists.
Types of political systems in the world:
There are three kinds of political system in the world mentioned below:
-One party system in which only one party exist and rule the country; opposition parties are not allowed. This kind of system is followed in China
-Two party system in which only two major parties exist such as in the USA and the UK
-Multi-party system in which includes multiple parties, for example, in India and France.
Party System in India
- Multi-party System
India follows multi-party system and has the largest number of political parties in the world. This kind of system provides a multiple option to the people to choose from. It also gives opportunity to the regional parties to participate in national politics. On the other hand, the negative aspects of this system are the hung parliaments, hung assemblies, coalition governments and unstable governments.
Many political parties are popular due to their leaders. Many parties have been formed around one leader. These leaders have become more important than the political party and its ideology. Lok Sabha victory of BJP in 2014 is majorly attributed to Narendra Modi (present Prime Minister of India). However, many other political parties such as Biju Janata Dal, Congress (I), Lok Dal (A) etc have been named after political leaders.
Regional political parties have a stronghold in one or two states. These parties are gaining at the cost of national political parties. Many of these parties are in power in different states. The rise of power of regional political parties has significantly increased their role in government formation at centre and in various state elections.
Recognition of National and State Parties
The Election Commission is responsible to register political parties in India. It gives recognition to political parties as national or state political parties on the basis of their performance in the elections. These parties are called recognized parties. Apart from these, there are registered unrecognized parties.
The election commission allots a symbol exclusively to every national political party, which is reserved for the party to be used throughout the country. Likewise, every state political party is allotted a symbol which is reserved for that party to be used throughout that state. These symbols are known as reserved symbols, which cannot be used by any other candidate/party. Other candidates can choose from the free symbols.
Conditions for Recognition as a National Party are:
- If it secures at least six per cent of the total valid votes from four or more states in Lok Sabha elections or assembly elections and wins at least four seats in the Lok Sabha from any state or states;
- If it wins two percent of the seats in the Lok Sabha and these candidates are from three states;
- If it is recognized as state party in four states
Examples of National Parties- Bahujan Samaj Party, Bhartiya Janta Party, Indian Natioanl Congress, Communist Party of India, , Communist Party of India (Marxist), National Congress Party.
Conditions for Recognition as a State Party are as Follows:
- If it secures at least six per cent of the total valid votes in an election to the Legislative Assembly of a state and wins at least two seats in that state
- If it secures at least six per cent of the total valid votes in the state at a general election to the Lok Sabha from the state concerned and wins at least one seat from the state concerned;
- If it wins three percent of seats in the legislative assembly at a general election to the legislative of the state concerned or 3 seats in the assembly whichever is more;
- If it wins one 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.
Examples of Regional Parties- All India Trinamool Congress, Asom Gana Parishad etc.