Saturday, December 8, 2007


Political party:- it is a group of people who come together to contest elections and hold power in the govt.
--they agree on some programmes & policies for the society with a view to promote collective good.
--these parties try to persuade people why their policies are better than others.
--they seek to implement these policies by winning popular support through election.
--they reflect fundamental political divisions in the society.They are about a part of society and involve PARTISANSHIP.
Political party has three components: the leader, the active members and the followers.
Q. Why do we need parties? Or
What are the functions performed by the political parties?
Parties perform series of functions.
Parties contest elections—in most of democracies, elections are fought mainly among the candidates put up by the political parties. In India, top party leaders choose candidates for contesting elections.
Parties put forward different policies and programmes: each one of us may have different opinions and views. In democracy large number of similar opinions have to be grouped together to provide a direction in which policies can be formulated by the govt. and parties do this .
–A party reduces a vast multitude of opinions into a few basic position which it supports.
–The govt. is expected to base its policies on the line taken by the Ruling party.
3.Parties make laws for the country: Though laws are passed by the legislature but most of the members belong to a party, they by the direction of party leadership, irrespective of their personal opinions.
4.Parties form and run govt.: Big policy decisions are taken by political executive that comes from the political parties.
--Political parties recruit leaders, train them and make them ministers to run the govt. in the way they want.
5. Those party who loose the elections, play role of the opposition. They voice different views and criticize govt. for its failures or wrong policies.
--opposition parties also mobilize opposition to the govt.
6.Parties shape public opinion: they raise and highlight issues.
--they do this through-pressure groups, which are the extensions of political parties and also launch movements for resolutions of problems faced by the people.
--Opinions in the society crystallise on the lines parties take.
7.Parties provide people access to govt. machinery and welfare schemes implemented by govt.
--for an ordinary citizens it is easy to approach a local party leader than a govt. official, they feel close to party even if they do not trust them.
--even parties have to be responsive to the people’s needs and demands otherwise people can reject parties in the next elections.
Q. How can we say parties are a necessity for democracy?
Q. Why modern democracies cannot exist without political parties?

1.If every candidate in the elections will be independent, no will be able to make any promises to the people about any major policy changes.
2.The govt. may be formed ,but its utility will remain ever uncertain.
3.Elected representative will be accountable to their constituency for what they do in the locality.But, no one will be responsible for how country will run.
Also if we look at the non-party based elections to the Panchayats in many states, although, the parties donot contest formally, it is generally noticed the village gets split into more than one faction, each of which puts up a ‘panel’ of its candidates.
This is why we find political parties in almost all countries of the world.
The emergence of political parties is linked to the emergence of Representative Democracies—large scale societies need representative democracy.
--as society become large and complex they also need some agencies to gather different views and various issues and to present these to the govt.
--they needed some way to bring various representatives together so that a responsible govt, could be formed.
--they need mechanism to support or restrain the govt. , make policies, justify or oppose them .
--political parties fulfill these needs that every representative govt. has.
In different countries we have different political systems being followed.
There are three types of political party systems:--
1.ONE PARTY SYSTEM—In some countries only one party is allowed to control and run the govt.,these are called one party systems.
--we have this type in China.- Commuinist Party.
Any democratic system must allow at least two parties in to compete in the elections so that each party gets a fair chance to come to this respect it is not a democratic option.
2.TWO-PARTY SYSTEM—In some countries power usually changes between two major parties.
Several other parties exist, contest elections and win few seats in the legislature . But only two main parties have a serious chance of winning and forming govt.
--examples are UK AND US.
MULTI-PARTY SYSTEM—If several parties compete for power, more than two parties have a reasonable chance of winning and coming to power either on their on their own or through an alliance with others.
--in India we have this system.

ALLIANCE/FRONT—When several parties join hand for the purpose of contesting elections or winning power, it is called front or alliance.
NDA—National Democratic Alliance, UPA-United Progressive Alliance are the examples.
COALITION—the govt. formed by various parties coming together in a coalition.
Present govt.—UPA govt. is an example of this.

Q. Which party system should a country choose?
Party system is not sometjing that a country can choose.
It evolves over the period of time, depending upon the nature of society, its social and regional divisions, its history of politics and nature of elections.
--each country develops a party system that ois conditioned by its special circumstances.for example in India we have evolved a multi-party system, it is because the social and geographical diversity is so large that it can not be accommodated by two-three parties.
--no system id ideal for all countries and all situations.
At present there are more than 750 political parties registered with the election commission in India.
Democracies that follow a federal system all over the world have two kinds of political parties.,
Parties that are present in only one of the federal units and the ones that are present in several units of the federations. This happens in India as well.

National parties;-those parties which which are country-wide parties are called National parties.
--these parties have their units in various states.
--by and large they follow uniform policies, programmes & strategy that is decided at the national level.
--Election Commission declares those parties as national parties which have got 6% of the total votes and have at least won 4 seats in the LokSabha.
--Election Commission offers some special facilities to large and established parties. These parties are given a unique symbols and only the official candidates of that party can use that election symbol.
--parties that get this privilege and some other special facilities are called Recognised Political Parties.
--according to this classification in India we have six national parties.
Aparty that secures at least 6% of the total votes in the in an election to the Legislative Assembly of a state and wins atleast 2 seats is recognized as a regional party/state party.
--some of these are all India parties that happen to have succeeded only in some states.
--parties like this are Samajwadi Party, Samta Party and Rastriya JantaDal have national level political organization with units in several states.
--some of the partie like Biju Janta Dal,Sikkim Democratic Front & Mizo National Front are conscious about their state identity.

Popularly known as the Congress Party, is one of the oldest parties of the world.
--founded in 1885.
--Played an important role in Indian politics at the national and state level after the independence.
--Under Nehru sought to build a modern secular democratic in India.
--Ruling party at the centre till 1977 and then from 1980-1989, after which its support declined .
--A centrist party in its ideological orientation, it espouses secularism and welfare of weaker sections and minorities.
--Supports new economic reforms with a human face.--Emerged as an single largest party with 145 seats in 2004 elections and is currently a ruling as United Progressive Alliance coaltion govt. at the centre

--founded in 1980 by reviving the Bharatiya Janata Sangh.
--wants to build a strong and modern India by drawing inspiration from India,s culture and values.
--cultural nationalism or Hindutva is an important element in its conception of Indian nationhood and politics.
--wants full territorial & political integration of Jammu &Kashmir with India, a uniform civil code for all people living in India irrespective of the religion, and ban on religous conversions.
--its support base has increased in the 1990's, it was earlier limited to north and north west and to urban areas, the party expanded its support in south, east, the north-east and to rural areas.
--came in power in 1998 as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance including state and regional parties.
--lost elections in 2004 and is the principle opposition party in the Loksabha.
--formed in 1984, under the leadership of KanshiRam.
--seeks to represent & secure the power for bahujan samaj which includes dalits, adivasis, OBC's and religious minorities.
--draw inspiration from the ideas and teachings of ShauMaharaj, Mahatama Phule, Periyar Ramaswami Naicker and BabaSaheb Ambedkar.
--stands for the cause of securing interest & welfare od dalits and opperesed people.
--main base in the state of UP & substaintial presence in the states like MP, Chhattisghar, Delhi
Uttrakhand and Punjab.
--formed govt. in UP several times with support of different parties.
--in Loksabha elections in 2004 it polled about 5% votes and secured 19 seates in loksabha.
--founded in 1964.
--believes in Marxism & Leninism.
--suports socialism , secularism and democracy and opposes imperialism and communalism.
--accepts democratic elections as useful means and helpful means to securing the objective of socio-economic justice in India.
--enjoys strong support in Kerela. westBengal & Tripura, especially among the poor, factory workers, farmers, agricultural laboures and intelligensia.
--critcal of new economic policies taht allow free flow of foreign capital and goods into the country.
--has been in power for 30 years in West Bengal.
--in 2004 elections it won about 6% votes and 43 seats in Loksabha.
--currently supports the UPA govt.from outside without joining the govt.
--formed in 1925.
--believes in Marxism & Leninism secularism and democracy.
--opposed to the forces of secessionism and communalism.
--accepts parliamentary democracy as the means of promoting the interest of working class, farmers and yhe poors.
--became weak after the split in the party in 1964 that led to the formation of the CPI(M)
--popular in Kreela, WestBengal, Punjab, AndhraPradesh and TamilNadu.
--its support base has declined over the years, secured about 1.4%votes and 10 seates in 2004 Loksabha elections.
--adovocates coming together of all left parties to build a strong left front.
--currently supports UPA govt. from outside.
formed in 1999 following a split in congress party.
--supports democracy, gandhian secularism,equity, socail justice & federalism.
--wants high offices in the be confined to the natural born citizens.
--major pary in Maharashtra and has a significant in Meghalaya, Manipur and Assam.A coalition partner in the stae of Maharashtra in alliance with the congress .
--since 2004 a member of the UPA.
Other than six national parties, most of the parties in India are classified as state parties or regional parties.
--some of these parties are all India parties that happen to have succeeded in only some states.
--parties like Samajwadi Party, Samta Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal have national political organization with
units in several states.
--some of these parties like Biju JanataDal, Sikkim Democratic Front & Mizo National Front are conscious
about their state identity.
--over last three decades the number and strength of these parties has expanded,this has made parliament of India more diverse.
--no national party is able to secure on its own a majority in Loksabha,as a result national parties are compelled to form alliances with state parties.
--since 1996, nearly every one of state parties has got an opportunity to be a part of one or other national level coalition govt.

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