In today’s election season, you might already be galloping along this section. Here we will see how we define a political party. We will also see which political parties are eligible to be titled the National Political parties. We will come to know about the great democracy that is India and we will also see some interesting facts about the election results and the parties that take part in these elections. Let us see!
Following are some of the functions of any Political Party:
i. Contesting Elections: Political parties contest elections. A political party nominates its candidate for the electoral contest in various constituencies.
ii. Policies: Political parties put forward different policies and programmes so that the voters can choose from them
iii. Making Law: Political parties play a decisive role in making laws for the country. As most of the parliamentarians belong to political parties, so a political party has direct say in lawmaking for the country.
iv. Formation of Government: Political parties form and run governments. The executive body is formed by people from the ruling party
v. Playing Opposition: A party which does not get a majority or come under the majority coalition needs to play the role of opposition. It keeps an eye on the ruling government, criticizes them and mobilizes opposition to ruling party.
vi. Shaping Public Opinion: Political parties shape public opinion. They do so by raising and highlighting issues in the legislature and in the media.
vii. Providing Access to Government Machinery: Political parties provide people access to government machinery and welfare schemes implemented by governments. Parties need to be responsive to people’s needs and demands.
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Different Party Systems
We define a Political Party is a group of people who come together to contest elections.
One party system
a) In some countries, only one party is allowed to control and run the government, e.g. China. These are called one-party systems.
b) It is not considered democratic since a democratic system must allow at least two parties to compete in elections and provide a fair chance for the competing parties to come to power.
a) In some countries, power usually changes between two main parties. Such a party system is called two-party system.
b) The United States of America and the United Kingdom are examples of a two-party system.
a) If several parties compete for power, and more than two parties have a reasonable chance of coming to power either on their own strength or in alliance with others, we call it a multi-party system. Thus in India, we have a multi-party system.
b) After the 1996 general elections, no single party has been able to secure even a simple majority.
c) Subsequent central governments have thus been formed by the coalition of like-minded political parties.
d) The multi-party system is apparently very messy and it often leads to political instability.
e) But we should acknowledge the fact that it allows various interests and opinions to enjoy political representation.
Political Parties In India
A registered party is taken in as a National Party only when it fulfills any of the following conditions:
• If the party wins 2% of Lok Sabha seats from at least three different states in India.
• The party is recognized as a state party in four or more states in India.
• If the party polls 6% of votes in 4 states in addition to four seats in the Lok Sabha, at the general election to Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly. We have the following seven National Parties in India:
- Indian National Congress (INC) – Led by Rahul Gandhi
- Communist Party of India (CPI) – Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy
- Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) – Amit Shah
- Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) – Sitaram Yechury
- Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) – Mayawati Prabhu Das
- Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) – Sharad Pawar
- All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) – Mamata Banerjee
To be called as a State Political Party, a political party needs to fulfill any of the following conditions:
• The political party needs to win a minimum of 3% of the total number of seats in the legislative assembly
• For every 25 seats in the Lok Sabha, the political party must win at least one seat. Alternatively, it needs to win any fraction thereof allotted to that State.
• The political party should win at least 6% of the total valid votes that are polled during the general election towards the Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly. And, in addition, it should win at least one Lok Sabha seat and two Legislative Assembly seats in that election.
• As per the liberalized criteria, if a political party fails to win a seat in the State general elections to the Legislative Assembly of the State or the Lok Sabha, then, it needs to secure 8% or more of the total valid votes polled in the State.
There are 48 National Parties in India right now. In addition to these, we have about 27 unrecognized parties.
Q 1: From the following statements about the State Political Parties, chose the incorrect option from the following options below:
A) For every 25 seats in the Lok Sabha, the political party must win at least one seat.
B) The party wins 2% of Lok Sabha seats from at least three different states.
C) The political party should win at least 6% of the total valid votes that are polled during the general election towards the Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly.
D) Both B) and C)
Ans: B) The party wins 2% of Lok Sabha seats from at least three different states.