Table of Contents
Political parties play crucial role in the functioning of Indian democracy. Democratic systems can not fulictioli in the absence of political parties. Political parties contest elections and aim at capturing political power. They function as a link between people and government in a representative democracy. The role of the opposition party is to expose the weaknesses of the ruling party in order to strengthen the democratic processes.
The Commission treats every party as equal to the others, but it offers special facilities to large and established parties. They are given a unique symbol and are called, “recognized political parties.”
National and Regional parties
India has a multi-party system, where political parties are classified as national, state or regional level parties. The status of party is accorded by the Election Commission of India, and the same is reviewed occasionally. All parties are registered with the Election Commission.
National Political Parties in India
Despite the huge range of political events running in India, only a few are capable of make their presence felt on the country wide stage besides with regards to alliances.
To be recognized as a National Party, party should posses any one of the following three conditions:
- Party has to win a minimum of two per cent of the seats in the Lok Sabha from at least three different states.
- In General Elections to Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly, the party must have to win six per cent of the votes and win at least four Lok Sabha seats as well.
- The party gets recognition as a ‘State level party’ in four or more states.
|1||Indian National Congress||INC||1885||Sonia Gandhi|
|2||Bharatiya Janata Party||BJP||1980||Amit Shah|
|3||Bahujan Samaj Party||BSP||1984||Mayawati|
|4||Communist Party of India||CPI||1925||Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy|
|5||Communist Party of India (Marxist)||CPI-M||1964||Sitaram Yechury|
|6||Nationalist Congress Party||NCP||1999||Sharad Pawar|
|7||All India Trinamool Congress||AITC||1998||Mamata Banerjee|
Indian National Congress (INC)
- Indian National Congress (INC) Founded in 1885 in Bombay.
- The Non-Cooperation, Civil Disobedience, and the Quit lndia Movements were the important milestones in the history of Congress Party during the pre-Independence period.
- After the Independence the Congress Party became the ruling party as the British transferred power to this party.
- Between 1947- 1967 the Congress Party dominated the Indian political scene. The outcome of the fourth general election , which was held in 1967, dented the Congress dominance in a, big way. The Congress party was voted out of power in eight states.
- After independence it became free India’s premier political party. In the first five General Elections held, the Congress virtually controlled the politics of the country.
- In the year 1969 the Congress party split for the first time into a new Congress led by lndira Gandhi and an old Congress led by S. Nijalingappa.
- The new Congress led by lndira Gandhi swept the parliamentary elections of 1971 and assembly elections of 1972 in most of the states.
- The Congress Party has been committed to socialism, secularism and democracy.
- It subscribed to the idea of democratic socialism that is why economic policy of the Congress Party introduced state control of the commanding heights of the economy like basic industries, banking and insurance.
- The party stood for rural and urban land ceiling. It was against the monopolies and was for promotion of medium and small industries.
- It also promised doubling expenditure on poverty alleviation. In foreign policy the party has stood for the Non- Alignment.
- The constitution of the Congress party provides for an elaborate organizational network.
- The party president heads the organizational set up of the party. There is a working committee to assist the president.
- The All India Congress Committee, which is a Content Digitized by eGyanKosh, IGNOU deliberative. body, supplements their functions. The central office of the party is National and Regional situated in New Delhi. The central office supervises the functions of the Pradesh .
- Parties Congress Committees, District Congress Committees and Block Congress Committees. The District Congress Committees maintain records, raise funds and recommend candidate.
- After independence the Congress Party won three general elections without much of a challenge.
- This was because of the support it enjoyed among rural and urban, educated and uneducated, upper caste and lower caste, rich and poor almost all over the country.
- The party had started as an elite organisation of the educated urban middle class.
- The main support base of Congress has been the upper caste more particularly the Brahmins, Scheduled Castes and the Muslims.
- In 1991 the Congress was virtually wiped out from Gangetic belt – UP and Bihar.
- The BSP and the Samajwadi Party in UP have snatched the Scheduled Caste and Muslim votes from the Congress.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
- Founded in 1980, it champions the socio-religious values of India.
- The Bharatiya Janata Party came into being in 1980 in the wake of split in the Janata Party on the issue of the dual membership
- Syama Prasad Mukherjee founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1951.
- In 1984 the first Lok Sabha election after its birth the B J P got only two seats but in 1989 it obtained 88 seats.
- In 1991 election this party secured 120 seats and emerged as the second largest party in the
- In 1996 Lok Sabha election the BJP emerged as single largest party securing 162 seats. The President invited Atal Bihari Vajpayee to form the government.
- The government lasted for only thirteen days as it could not face the Parliament because it did not have the majority.
- Since formation, the BJP has been a strong rival of the Indian National Congress.
- It is now in government, and a leading party within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
- In 1998 Lok Sabha election the BJP made strategic alliance with regional parties and secured 180 seats.
- In the beginning the BJP attempted to project a different image from the Bharatiya Jana Sangh.
- Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the first President of the B.IP, had linked the emergence of the BJP with Jayaprakash Narayan’s vision of a glorious India in the first convention of the party held at Bombay.
- The Jana Sangh aimed at rebuilding Bharat (India) as a modern democratic society according to religious precepts. Ideologically the BJP is committed to five principles- nationalism and national integration, democracy, positive secularism, Gandhian socialism and value-based politics.
- The party rejects both capitalism and socialism because they promote concentration of economic powers either in the hands of private individuals or state officials.
- In 1984 the party laid stress on the development of both agriculture raid industry
- In 1996 the BJP kept repeating its commitment to swadeshi economy but it actually appropriated the
Congress slogan of liberalisation.
- At the national level the BJP has a Party President and the National Council and party plenary or special session. At the state level the party has a Council and the State Executive followed by Regional Committees, District Committees and Block Committees.
- The BJP also has front organisations like Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and Bharatiya Janata Mahila Morcha. They function according to the guidelines of the national Executive.
- The BJP, like its predecessor the Bharatiya Jana Sangha, has enjoyed support base
in the Hindi belt.
- It also has strong presence in Gujarat and Maharashtra. Since 1989 the party has been trying to penetrate into south India.
- BJP’s traditional support base was among upper castes, small and medium traders and shopkeepers. Among minorities it gets votes largely from the Sikhs. It is mainly seen as a Hindu Party.
- From the 1990s, its base has broadened in rural and urban areas, and among the larger numbers of social groups.
Bahujan Samaj Party(BSP)
- The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was formed in 1984 by two leaders Kanshiram and Mayawati.
- Current leader of BSP is Mayawati.
- The Bahujan Samaj Party is a party formed to represent the OBC, SC, ST and religious minorities, those at the bottom of India’s caste system.
- The party claims itself to be the party of the majority section or the Bahujan Samaj.
- The BSP argues that the minority high castes have been using the votes of the Bahujan Samaj to rule over them. Since, in democracy the majority should rule, the BSP strives to establish the regime of the Bahujan Samaj.
- It draws inspiration from the teachings of Sahu Maharaj, Mahatma Phule, PeriyaR ramaswami Naicker.
- The BSP contested election in 1985 when its candidate Mayawati fought a by-election from Bijnore Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh. The BSP candidate came third after the Congress and Janata Dal candidates.
- In 1996 Lok Sabha election this party secured 20% votes in UP. 8% in MP and 3% in Rajasthan.
- This party won five Lok Sabha seats from UP and one from Haryana in 1998 bk Sabha election.
- The BSP won 14 seats from UP in the 1999 Lok Sabha election.
The Communist Parties
- The main communist parties which exist in lndia are:
- The Communist Party of lndia (CPI)
- The Communist Party of India ( Marxist) or the CPI(M)
- The CPI was formed in 1925, believes in Marxism-Leninism, secularism and democracy in Kanpur.
- Marxist (CPI-M)-The Communist Party of India (Marxist), usually known as CPI (M), split from the Communist Party of India in 1964.
- It believes that parliamentary democracy helps the interests of farmers, the working class, and the poor.
- In the early 1950s a change could be noticed in the Soviet Union’s attitude towards Nehru and the Congress government. This change was also reflected in the’ attitude of the Communist Party of India.
- It believes in Marxism-Leninism and supports socialism secularism and democracy.
- It opposes imperialism and communalism.
- Its supporters are farmers, agriculture labourers and intelligentsia.
- In 1962 with the Chinese attack on India the two Lines within the party came to the surface again. A group within the CPI even refused to condemn the Chinese aggression in the name of proletarian unity while the other group supported the stand of the Government of India.
- Finally in 1964 the CPI split into Communist Party of lndia and Communist Party of lndia (Marxist).
- After 1964 the CPI was seen closer to the Communist Party of Soviet Union and the CPI(M) to the Communist Party of China.
The Indian communist parties believe that only the establishment of a socialist society according to the revolutionary principles of Marxism and Leninism can enable the country to overcome the problems of backwardness, inequality, ignorance and poverty. This goal can be achieved if the working class captures political power. They believed that to achieve this goal lndia needed an anti- imperialist and anti -feudal democratic revolution.
- All India Party Congress is the supreme party organ for the CPJ and CPI(M).
- In the case of the Communist Party of lndia it is convened by the National Council and in
case of the CPI(M) it is convened by the Central Committee.
- The Party Congress discusses and acts on the report of the National Council in case of the CPI and the Central Committee in case of the CPI(M).
- The Party Congress also decides the Party line. Between the Party Congresses the National Council and the Central Committee are the top most executive bodies respectively for CPI and CPI(M).
- Apart from their strongholds of Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura the Communist Parties have pockets of influence in some other states like Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, UP, Punjab, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
- The Communist parties get support largely from the working class, middle classes, agricultural labour and small peasants.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)
- The party was formed on May 25, 1999.
- NCP founded by Sharad Pawar, P.A. Sangama, and Tari Anwar after they were thrown out of the Congress Party.
- NCP have a major support in Maharashtra state.
- The NCP claims that it supports democracy, Gandhian secularism, equity, social justice and federalism.
All India Trinamool Congress (TMC)
- The party was founded on 1 January 1998.
- Now the party is led by its founder and current Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee.
- Trinamool Congress is an Indian political party based in West Bengal.
- Prior to the 2009 general election it was the sixth largest party in the Lok Sabha with 19 seats.
- In the 2014 general election, it is currently the fourth largest party in the Lok Sabha with 34 seats.
Regional/ State Parties in India
The parties that exclusively operate within a region or a state and their influence is limited within the boundaries of that particular region is called a ‘Regional’ or ‘State’ party. These parties look after the needs of the people living within that particular area and promote regional interests.
To be recognized as a State Party, party should posses any one of the following conditions:
- The party has to win at least three seats or three per cent of the seats in the state legislative Assembly.
- It has to win minimum one seat in the Lok Sabha for every 25 seats or any fraction allotted to that concerned state.
- In a particular election, the party has to bag at least six per cent of the total votes, and also win one Lok Sabha and two Assembly seats.
- The status of a state party can still be bestowed upon an entity even if it fails to win any seats in the Lok Sabha or the Assembly, if it manages to win at least eight per cent of the total votes cast in the entire state.
- Parties like the Samajwadi Party, Sarnata Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal have national level political organization with units in several states.
- Some of these parties like Biju Janata Dal, Sikkim Democratic Front and Mizo National Front are conscious about their state identity.
|Sl. No.||State||State Political Parties||Symbol||Abbreviation|
|1||Delhi||Aam Aadmi Party||AAP|
|2||Arunachal Pradesh||Arunachal Congress||AC|
|3||Tamil Nadu||All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam||AIADMK|
|4||Assam||Asom Gana Parishad||AGP|
|5||West Bengal||All India Forward Bloc||AIFB|
|6||West Bengal||All India Trinamool Congress||AITC|
|7||Assam||Assam United Democratic Front||AUDF|
|8||Odisha||Biju Janata Dal||BJD|
|9||Tamil Nadu and Puducherry||Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam||DMK|
|10||Haryana||Indian National Lok Dal||INLD|
|11||Karnataka and Kerala||Janata Dal (Secular)||JD(S)|
|12||Bihar and Jharkhand||Janata Dal (United)||JD(U)|
|13||Jammu and Kashmir||Jammu & Kashmir National Conference||JKN|
|14||Jammu and Kashmir||Jammu & Kashmir National Panthers Party||JKNPP|
|15||Jammu and Kashmir||Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party||JKPDP|
|16||Jharkhand||Jharkhand Mukti Morcha||JMM|
|18||Kerala||Kerala Congress (M)||KEC(M)|
|19||Bihar||Lok Jan Shakti Party||LJP|
|21||Tamil Nadu and Puducherry||Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam||MDMK|
|22||Manipur||Manipur Peoples Party||MPP|
|23||Kerala||Muslim League Kerala State Committee||MUL|
|24||Nagaland and Manipur||Nagaland Peoples Front||NPF|
|25||Tamil Nadu||Pattali Makkal Katchi||PMK|
|26||Bihar||Rashtriya Janata Dal||RJD|
|27||West Bengal||Revolutionary Socialist Party||RSP|
|28||Punjab||Shiromani Akali Dal||SAD|
|29||Sikkim||Sikkim Democratic Front||SDF|
|30||Goa||United Goans Democratic Party||UGDP|
|32||Uttar Pradesh||Samajwadi Party||SP|
|33||Andhra Pradesh||Telugu Desam||TDP|
|34||Andhra Pradesh||Telangana Rashtra Samithi||TRS|
|35||Meghalaya||United Democratic Party||UDP|
|36||Uttarakhand Himalayas||Uttarakhand Kranti Dal||UKKD|
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