Political Parties

  • Political parties are voluntary associations or organized groups of individuals
  • They share the same political views and try to gain political power through constitutional means
  • They must desire to work for promoting the national interest.
  • There are 4 types of political parties in the modern democratic states
    • Reactionary parties which cling to the old socio-economic and political institutions
    • Conservative parties which believe in the status-quo
    • Liberal parties which aim at reforming the existing institutions
    • Radical parties which aim at establishing a new order by overthrowing the existing institutions
  • Classification of political parties on the basis of ideologies
    • Radical parties on the left
    • Liberal parties in the centre
    • Reactionary and conservative parties on the right
  • In India, the CPI and CPM are the examples of leftist parties, Congress of centrist parties and the BJP is an example of rightist parties.
  • There are 3 kinds of party systems in the world
    • One party system – only one ruling party exists and no opposition is permitted, Ex – China
    • Two-party system in which two major parties exists, Ex – USA and Britain
    • Multi-party system, Ex – India, France, Switzerland
Multi-Party System in India
  • The continental size of the country, the diversified character of Indian society, the adoption of universal adult franchise, the peculiar type of political process, and other factors have given rise to a large number of political parties.
  • India has the largest number of political parties in the world.
  • On the eve of 17th Lok Sabha general elections (2019), there were
    • 7 national parties
    • 48 states parties
    • 1593 registered – unrecognized parties in the country
  • The number of recognized parties keeps on changing on the basis of their performance in the general elections.
  • The national parties and state parties are also known as all-India parties and regional parties respectively.
Recognition of National and State Parties
  • Election Commission registers political parties for the purpose of elections
  • EC grants them recognition as national or state parties on the basis of their poll performance
  • The other parties are simply declared as registered unrecognized parties.
  • Recognized parties have certain privileges like
    • Allocation of the party symbols
    • Access to electoral rolls
    • Time for political broadcasts on the state-owned television and radio stations
    • Need only one proposer for filing the nomination
    • 40 “star campaigners” during the time of elections
  • The registered–unrecognized parties are allowed to have 20 “star campaigners”
  • The travel expenses of these star campaigners are not included in the election expenditure of the candidates of their parties.
  • Every national party is allotted a symbol exclusively reserved for its use throughout the country
  • Every state party is allotted a symbol exclusively reserved for its use in the state or states
  • A registered-unrecognized party, on the other hand, can select a symbol from a list of free symbols.
Conditions for Recognition as a National Party
  • National party, need to fulfill one of the flowing conditions
    1. 6% votes in any 4 or more states at Lok Sabha or legislative assembly election, and 4 seats in the Lok Sabha from any state or states
    2. If it wins 2% of seats in the Lok Sabha election from 3 or more states
    3. If it is recognized as a state party in 4 states
Conditions for Recognition as a State Party
  • State party, need to fulfill one of the flowing conditions
    1. 6% votes in legislative assembly election, and 2 seats in the assembly
    2. 6% votes in the state at Lok Sabha election, and 1 seat in the Lok Sabha from the state
    3. 3% or 3 seats in legislative assembly election, whichever is more
    4. 1 seat for every 25 seats or any fraction allotted to the state at Lok Sabha election 
    5. 8% votes in Lok Sabha election from the state or in legislative assembly of the state
  • Last one condition was added in 2011
Political Parties in India