Political party is an established and universal system in a democracy, it has flourished in India and the overall point is that it runs the government.

On the basis of the party, it becomes easy for the people to choose what kind of people they want to form the government. Apart from this, it also has many benefits.

In this article, we will discuss political party in India in a simple and easy way and understand its various important aspects, so let’s start from the very beginning;

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What is politics?

Diversity is a common feature of nature. Human beings are also not untouched by this, we are different from each other at the country level, even in the family in which we are born, we are different from the rest. We are different not only in looking but also in thinking.

Where there are differences, conflict is natural. Since we are human beings, we need a solution for this. That is why we created an institution called State. The manner in which the state makes policies to deal with these conflicts. That whole event or activities are called politics .

Overall, politics is a method of problem solving and a systematic and established study of this whole method in the context of the state is called political science.

What is a political party?

Although everyone in the society has or may have different views, yet there is some part of the ideas which match with the views of others. In this way, when like-minded people gather at one place to form a group and when these groups are registered with the Election Commission, it is called a political party .

In short, political parties are those voluntary organizations or those organized groups of people who have similar views and who try to get political power to take forward the nation according to the provisions of the constitution.

What kind of political theory or ideology any country will be governed by, it depends on how much freedom the individual has got in that country and how much power the state has got. That is, if the state is given unlimited power and the freedom of the individual is reduced to a minimum, then that state will be called totalitarian or fascist. Similarly, if the individual is given unlimited freedom and the power of the state is reduced to a minimum, then that state will be called anarchist or individualist.

Now if we talk about liberalism, then it is more inclined towards the freedom of the individual, while talking about socialism, then it is more inclined towards the power of the state. It also has a midpoint which is called idealism, in which there is a balance of both, but such an ideology does not succeed in practical life.

functions of political party

Political party basically tries to get political position in order to get political power. To get this power, political parties do many things, such as – contest elections. For this, they give tickets to their candidates and they get help from star campaigners so that they can win.

◾ All the parties separately keep their future policies and programs in front of the public through manifesto. All the parties try to make such an announcement which will increase his chances of winning.

◾ Whichever party comes after winning forms the government and runs it. The political party as a government wants to do such a thing so that they can win the next election again.

◾ The party which comes in defeat plays the role of opposition. And he tries to keep the mistakes of the government in front of the public so that she can win the next election.

If we ask the question that what is the need of political parties? So the thing to be understood here is that political parties are needed only so that they can do the above work. 

In other words, a political party does not do any work only because it is good for the country, but it does it so that along with the welfare of the country, the welfare of his party should also be assured and they could come back victorious. In this game of victory and defeat of parties, the development of the country goes on and this is the requirement of a democracy.

type of political party

In this way, if you try to separate a political party on the basis of ideology, then there will be a glut of political parties. By the way, political scientists consider four types of political parties in the modern democratic state-

(1) Reactionary political parties – They want to stick to the old socio-economic and political systems. They believe in “Only I am right” instead of “I am right” and criticize them fiercely when they see something not happening according to their own accord.

(2) Conservative Party – They believe in status quo. They are not as hostile as the reactionaries, but they are also clinging to their own traditions, customs or some kind of superstition, they try to weigh everything on the basis of faith, belief or past experiences.  Although they want change, but so much as not to hurt its ideology.

(3) Moderate party – Their goal is to improve the existing institutions and these people support fair competition.

(4) Reformist party – Their aim is to establish a new system by removing the existing system. And for this, if we have to resort to violence in some situations, then it is justified.

▪️ Classifying political parties on the basis of their ideology, political scientists have placed reformist parties on the left, liberal parties in the middle and reactionary parties and conservative parties on the right.

In other words, the one who is on the left is called Left parties because they are not happy with the present system and they want to change the system till an equilibrium is established among all the sections in the society.  CPI and CPM are examples of Left parties.

▪️ The party on the far right is called the right wing or conservative party. Because they love their tradition very much and want change to the same level so that their tradition, custom or culture is not hurt. The BJP is an example of a right-wing party.

▪️ The party located in the middle is called the central party or centrist because they neither follow the left ideology completely nor the right wing but they are liberal. They believe in providing same level playing or fair competition. Congress is called a centrist party.

Party system

Where there is still a monarchy system, if you leave it, then there are three types of party system in the world.

(1) One party system – There is only one party in this which is the ruling party and there is no system of opposition party, like- China

(2) Two Party System – There are two big parties in this. (there are also small parties but they are not so important) like America and Britain

(3) Multi party system – There are many parties in this which usually form the government together. For example- France, Italy, India etc.

There is a multi-party system in India, although sometimes it also shows a one-party system. Which we are going to understand next.

Features of party system in India

Multi party system – Due to the huge size of the country, the diversity of Indian society, unique political processes and many other reasons, many types of political parties have emerged in India. In fact, India has the largest number of political parties in the world. You can guess from this that according to the data of the General Elections 2019 of the Seventeenth Lok Sabha, there are 2598 parties across the country, out of which 8 are national parties, 52 state level parties and 2538 are registered unrecognized parties. (updated figures)

Almost all types of political parties are found in India, such as – Left parties, socialist parties, centrist parties, right wing parties, communal parties, and non-communal parties etc. As a result, the formation of a hung parliament, a hung assembly and a common government is a common practice.

One Party System – Although India is multi-party in nature, but despite the many-party system, there was Congress rule in India for a long time. That is why some political analysts consider that period as a period of one-party system. However, the effective rule of the Congress began to decline from 1967 onwards due to the rise and development of regional parties and other national parties such as the Janata Party (1977), Janata Dal (1989) and BJP (1991). .

Lack of clear ideology – Barring BJP and two communist parties (CPI and CPM), the ideology of all other parties is unclear. All the parties have similar ideology to each other. There is a great deal of similarity in their policies and programmes. Almost all parties advocate democracy, secularism, socialism and Gandhism.

Glorification of personality – Most of the parties are organized around a superior person, in such a situation that person becomes more important than the party and its ideology. Parties tend to be recognized by their leaders rather than by their manifestos.

For example, the fame of Congress is due to its leaders Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Similarly, nowadays BJP means Modi. It is also interesting to know that many parties use the names of their leaders in their names, such as – Biju Janata Dal, Lok Dal (A), Congress (I) etc. Hence it is said that in India there are political personalities instead of political parties.

Based on Traditional Factors – Political parties in western countries are formed on the basis of socio-economic and political programs, on the other hand, majority of parties in India are formed in the name of religion, caste, language, culture and race etc. For example- Shiv Sena, Akali Dal , Muslim Majlis , Bahujan Samaj Party , Republican Party of India , etc.

These parties work to promote communal and regional interests and thus ignore the public interest.

Emergence of Regional Parties – Another major feature of the party system of India is the rise and growing role of state level parties. They are ruling parties in many states, such as BJD in Odisha, Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh, DMK or AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, Akali Dal in Punjab , Asom Gana Parishad in Assam, Janata Dal (United) in Bihar etc.

Initially they were confined to regional politics, but over a period of time their role has become important at the national level due to the shared governments at the centre. In 1984, the Telugu Desam Party emerged as the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha.

Formation of parties and defection – Formation of parties in India, defection, split, merger, disintegration, polarization etc. are important forms of working style of political parties. Due to the lust for power and material things, politicians leave their party and join another party or form a new party. Although there is an anti-defection law for this, but it has proved to be insufficient.

Lack of effective opposition – Effective opposition is essential for the success of parliamentary democracy. It curbs the trend of autocratic rule of the ruling party and gives an alternative government, but in the last 50 years, except for a few occasions, it is known that there has been a lack of strong, effective and aware opposition in the country. The opposition parties lack unity and are usually embroiled in mutual disputes.

What are the criteria for recognition of a political party? 

The Election Commission registers political parties for election purposes and recognizes them as national or state parties on the basis of their election performance. Other parties are declared to be registered unrecognized parties only.

When is a party recognized as a national political party?

A party is recognized as a national party when it fulfills any of the following qualifications:

1.If he secures six per cent of the total votes polled in the Lok Sabha or six per cent of the valid votes polled in four or more states in general elections to the Legislative Assemblies. And with this he gets 4 seats in the Lok Sabha elections from any state or states.

2. If he wins two percent seats in the Lok Sabha and these members are elected from three different states.

3. If a party is recognized as a state party in at least four states.

At present, there are 7 parties recognized as a national political party, which you can see by clicking here .

When does a party get recognition as a state level political party?

A party is recognized as a state level political party when it fulfills the following qualifications:

1. If that party has secured six percent of the total valid votes polled in that State in the general election to the Legislative Assembly of the State, and in addition it has secured 2 seats in the State concerned.

2. If he secures six per cent of the total valid votes polled in that state in the general election to the Lok Sabha of the state, and in addition he has won at least one Lok Sabha seat in the state concerned.

3. If that party has secured three percent of the total seats in the Legislative Assembly of the State or three seats, whichever is higher.

4. If out of every 25 seats, that party has won at least 1 seat in the Lok Sabha or at least so many seats by division in the respective State in the election to the Lok Sabha.

5. If it secures 8 percent of the total valid votes polled in the state in the general election to the Lok Sabha or the assembly election. This condition was added in the year 2011.

At present there are 53 recognized state level political parties in India. Which you can see by clicking here .

Q. Is it necessary for an association to be registered by the Election Commission?

No, only those associations or body of individual citizens of India who call themselves a political party and want to take advantage of the provisions of Part 4A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, they should only register themselves with the Election Commission of India.

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What are the benefits of registering a party with the Election Commission?

Candidates set up by registered political parties will get priority in allotment of free symbols over independent candidates. In addition, with the passage of time, political parties may become recognized as ‘state parties’ or ‘national parties’ .

If the party is recognized as a ‘ State Party ‘, it shall be eligible for allotment of the symbol reserved by the candidate set up by it in the States in which it has such recognition. And if the party is recognized as a ‘ National Party ‘, the candidate set up by it throughout the country shall be eligible for the exclusive allotment of the symbol reserved by the party.

That is, each national party is given an election symbol which is specifically reserved for it throughout the country. Similarly, every state level party is allotted an election symbol which is specifically reserved for that state or the states in which it is recognized.

On the other hand, a registered unrecognized party can choose a symbol from the list of remaining election symbols.

Recognized National and State Parties require only one proposer to fill nomination papers and they can also take radio/telecast on All India Radio/Doordarshan and two sets of electoral rolls free of cost during general elections.

In addition, these parties are allowed to have 40 “star campaigners” at election time. Whereas registered but unrecognized parties are allowed to have 20 star campaigners. The travel expenses of star campaigners in campaigning for these candidates of their parties will not be included in the election expenses of the candidates.

What is the process of registration as a political party?

The application for registration shall be submitted in the form prescribed by the Commission to the Secretary, Election Commission of India, Nirvan Sadan, Ashoka Road, New Delhi-110001. This form can be ordered by post on request or can be collected from the counter of the office of the Commission.

The application should be typed clearly on the party’s letter head (if any), and sent by registered post or delivered in person to the Secretary, Election Commission within 30 days from the date of organization of the party.

2. The following documents/information should be attached with the application:-

(i) Processing fee Rs.10,000/- (Ten thousand only) in favor of Under Secretary, Election Commission of India, New Delhi. Processing fee is non-refundable. 

(ii) The copy of the Constitution of the Party shall be duly attested on each page by the General Secretary or President or Chairman of the Party and shall bear the seal of the signatory. 

(iii) The constitution or rules and regulations or memorandum of the party should make special provision for organizational elections at various levels and the periodicity of such elections and the term of office of the office-holders of the party. 

(iv) The Constitution/Rules and Regulations/Memorandum should specifically provide for the procedure to be adopted in case of merger/dissolution. 

(v) At least 100 members of the party (including all office holders/key decision making components such as executive committee/executive council) should have certified quotations from the latest electoral rolls to show that they are registered There are registered electors. 

(vi) Affidavit, duly signed by the President/Secretary General of the Party and sworn before a Magistrate of the First Class or Oath Commissioner or Notary Public, that no member of the Party is a member of any other political party registered with the Commission . 

(vii) the details of the bank account or permanent account number, if any, in the name of the party. 

3. The application along with all the required documents as mentioned above should reach the Secretary of the Commission within 30 days of the formation of the party. 

4. Any application made after the said period will be time barred. Get special information in this regard 

Overall we have understood almost all the important topics related to political party in India here. For better understanding, definitely read other articles related to elections. Link is given.

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