In our country, there are several political parties that stand for the election. The presence of the political party is actually a healthy situation for the nation. It gives people a choice to make a more evolved and effective decision. Moreover, it drives the other political parties to get better than their competitors to win elections and rule the nation. So, this is the basic backdrop of political parties. But what is a political party? Why do we need a political party? Let’s find out.
Introduction to Political Party
A political party basically, is a group of people. These people come together to contest elections in order to hold power in the government. It is a way to mobilize voters to support common sets of interests, concerns, and goals. The primary role of the political party is to fix the political agenda and policies. So, each party tries to persuade people by claiming their policies are better than those of other parties.
In a broader perspective, a political party is a means via which the people can speak to the government and have a say in the governance of any country. So, every political party must have three key components:
- Active Members
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Functions of a Political Party
Every political party has a number of functions to perform. Here we have listed some of them.
- A political party contests elections by putting up candidates.
- In countries like the USA, the candidates are selected by members and supporters of a party.
- On the other hand, in countries like India, the candidates are chosen by top party leaders.
- Every party has different policies and programmes. Voters make a choice in accordance with the policies and programmes liked by them.
- In a democratic country, a large group of people that has certain similar opinions group together and form a party. Then then, give a direction to the policies adopted by the government.
- Those parties which lose elections form the opposition. They voice different views and criticise the government for their failures and mobilize opposition to the government.
- Political parties shape public opinion. With the help of the pressure groups, the parties launch movements for solving problems faced by the people.
- Parties even offer access to government machinery and welfare schemes. The local party leader serves as a link between the citizen and the government officer.
Importance of Political Parties
A democracy cannot exist without the presence of a political party. This is clear from the function performed by the political parties. In case, there are no political parties then:
- Every candidate in the election would be an independent candidate. Any individual candidate does not have the efficiency to promise any major policy change to the people. In such a scenario, no one will be responsible for how the country is run.
- In the long run, only a representative democracy can survive. Political parties are the agencies that gather different views on various issues and present them to the government.
There are three types of party systems:
- One-Party System
- Two-Party System
- Multi-Party System
In a one-party system, there is no competition in this system. Here, the lone party nominates the candidates and the voters have only two choices i.e.
- Not to vote at all or
- write ‘yes’ or ‘no’ against the name of the candidates nominated by the party
Such a political system has been prominent in authoritarian regimes and communist countries such as China, North Korea, and Cuba. Before the collapse of communism, this system was also prevalent in USSR.
In a two-party system, the power shifts between two major, dominant parties. So, for winning the elections, the winner will have to get the maximum number of votes. However, please know that maximum number of votes is not equivalent to a majority of votes.
So, the smaller parties tend to merge with the bigger parties or they drop out of elections. Such a parliamentary system prevails in Canada and Great Britain, in which there are two parties holding the maximum numbers of seats.
The third and the most common form of government is the multi-party system. In such a system, there are three or more parties which have the capacity to gain control of the government separately or in a coalition.
In case, no party achieves a clear majority of the legislative seats, then several parties join forces and form a coalition government. Countries like India, follow a multi-party system. Some people are of the view, that a multi-party system often leads to political instability in a country.
Solved Example for you
Q1: Who among the following is the founder of the Bahujan Samaj Party?
- Kanshi Ram
- Sahu Maharaj
- B.R. Ambedkar
- Jotiba Phule
Sol: The correct answer is the option ”a”. Kanshi Ram is the founder of the Bahujan Samaj Party