NCERT Class 10 Political Science Chapter 6: Political Parties YouTube Lecture Handouts

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  • Role of political parties in rise of democracies, formation of constitutional designs, in electoral politics and in the making and working of governments.

  • Political parties as vehicles of federal sharing of political power and as negotiators of social divisions in the arena of democratic politics.

Need for Political Parties?

  • For common man, democracy is equal to political parties

  • Some are critical and blame parties for all that is wrong

  • 100 years ago, only few had political party and now only few don’t have it

  • Political party is a group of people who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government. They agree on some policies and programs for the society with a view to promote the collective good

  • Parties persuade people why there policies are better than others

  • They win popular support by elections

  • Parties reflect political division in society, they are about part of society and involve partisanship (strongly committed to a party)

  • Known by which part it stands for, which policies it supports and whose interests it upholds

  • Political party includes leaders, active members and followers

Functions of Political Parties

  • Parties contest elections: In USA, members and supporters choose candidates while in India top party leaders choose candidates

  • Parties put programs and policies and voters choose – each party has its own ideology and opinions. Government bases its policies on line of ruling party

  • Parties take decisive role in making laws – then debated and passed in legislature

  • Parties form and run government – decision taken by political executives that come to power from political parties

  • Those parties that loose elections play role of opposition to the parties in power by voicing the views and criticizing government

  • Parties shape public opinions – raise and highlight issues & launch movement for resolution of problems faced by people

  • Parties provide access to government machinery and welfare schemes – parties must be responsive to people’s needs and demands

Why Political Parties Are Required?

  • Elected representatives will be accountable to their constituency for what they do in the locality. But no one will be responsible for how the country will be run.

  • If all are independent candidates, no one will be able to make major policy changes

  • Similar to non-party elections as at panchayat level

  • It is linked to the emergence of representative democracies

  • Large societies need some agency to gather views on issues of government

  • Mechanism to support or restrain the government, make policies, justify or oppose them.

How Many Parties Should We Have?

  • More than 750 registered parties under Election Commission of India

  • Some nations have one party systems

  • Any 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

  • Two party system – mainly 2 main parties have the chance to win seats to form government as in USA & UK

  • Multiparty system – several parties compete to form government or come together to form coalition – it leads to alliance or front. This system appears messy but allows variety of interests and opinions

  • In India 3 major alliance in 2004 – National Democratic Alliance, the United Progressive Alliance and the Left Front

  • Party system evolves over a long time, depending on the nature of society, its social and regional divisions, its history of politics and its system of elections. These cannot be changed very quickly. India has multiparty system due to social and geographical diversity

Participation in Political Parties (Based on Survey Findings)

  • Political parties do not enjoy much trust among people in South Asia

  • Least trusted institutions in the world

  • Participation is very high in India as compared to other nations

  • Proportion of members of political parties have gone up

  • Proportion of those feeling they are close to political parties have gone up

National Political Parties

Present at national level, follow same policy, strategy and programs – present in all states

Must register with Election Commission of India – bigger parties receive special facilities

Given unique symbol and it can be used only by the official member of the society – they are recognized and hence called as recognized political parties

Election Commission has laid down detailed criteria of the proportion of votes and seats that a party must get in order to be a recognized party.

  • A party that secures at least 6% of the total votes in an election to the Legislative Assembly of a State and wins at least two seats is recognized as a State party.

  • A party that secures at least 6% of the total votes in Lok Sabha elections or Assembly elections in four States and wins at least four seats in the Lok Sabha is recognized as a national party

Criteria for National Party

  • The party wins 2% of seats in the Lok Sabha (as of 2014, 11 seats) from at least 3 different States.

  • At a General Election to Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly, the party polls 6% of votes in four States and in addition it wins 4 Lok Sabha seats.

  • A party gets recognition as a State Party in four or more states.

As per 2018, we had 7 national parties

Image shows 6 Indian National parties

Image Shows 6 Indian National Parties

Image shows 6 Indian National parties

  • Indian National Congress (INC): Oldest party founded in 1885, role in independence, ruled many years after 1947. Under JL Nehru planned to build modern secular democratic republic in India. Secularism, welfare of weaker sections & minorities and supported economic reforms

  • Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP): Founded in 1980 by reviving the erstwhile Bharatiya Jana Sangh. Focused on cultural nationalism or Hindutva, want full territorial integration of J&K with India, uniform civil code and ban religious conversions. Support base increased after 1990s from NW and urban areas to south, east and NE areas. Came in power in 1998 as leader of NDA

  • All India Trinamool Congress (AITC): Founded in 1998 by Mamta Banerjee with party symbol of flower and glass.

  • Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP): Formed in 1984 under the leadership of Kanshi Ram. Seeks to represent and secure power for the bahujan samaj which includes the dalits, adivasis, OBCs and religious minorities. Draws inspiration from the ideas and teachings of Sahu Maharaj, Mahatma Phule, Periyar Ramaswami Naicker and Babasaheb Ambedkar. Has its main base in UP.

  • Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M): Founded in 1964. Believes in Marxism- Leninism. Supports socialism, secularism and democracy and opposes imperialism and communalism. Support in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura. Support from poor, factory workers, farmers and labourers.

  • Communist Party of India (CPI): Formed in 1925. Believes in Marxism-Leninism, secularism and democracy. Opposed to forces of secessionism and communalism. Accepts parliamentary democracy as a means of promoting interests of the working class, farmers and the poor. Became weak after the split in the party in 1964 that led to the formation of the CPI(M). Significant presence in Kerala, West Bengal, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

  • Nationalist Congress Party (NCP): Formed in 1999 following a split in the Congress party. Espouses democracy, Gandhian secularism, equity, social justice and federalism. Major party in Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Manipur and Assam.

State Party

Fulfill any of the following conditions for recognition as a State Party:

  • A party should win minimum 3% of total number of seats or a minimum of three seats in Legislative Assembly.

  • A party should win at least one seat in the Lok Sabha for every 25 seats or any fraction thereof allotted to that State at a general election to the Lok Sabha.

  • A political party should secure at least 6% of the total valid votes polled during general election to a Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly and should win at least one Lok Sabha, and two Legislative Assembly seats in that election

  • Under the liberalized criteria, one more clause that it will be eligible for recognition as State Party if it secures 8% or more of the total valid votes polled in the State in addition to one seat in any state

  • Biju Janata Dal, Sikkim Democratic Front and Mizo National Front are conscious about their State identity

  • Since 1996, state parties have got chance to represent at national level coalition government – strengthens federalism and democracy

Image of Regional Parties in India

Image of Regional Parties in India

Image of Regional Parties in India

Challenges to Political Parties

Berlusconi was the Prime Minister of Italy. He is also one of the top businessmen in Italy. He is the leader of the Forza Italia founded in 1993. His company owns TV channels, the most important publishing company, a football club (AC Milan) and a bank

  • People express dissatisfaction with failure of political parties to perform their functions well

  • Lack of internal democracy within the parties – concentration of powers in top hands. Parties do not keep membership registers, do not hold organizational meetings, and do not conduct internal elections regularly. Ordinary people cannot connect within the parties.

  • Dynastic succession as parties are not open and transparent for their functioning. Leaders favor people close to them or their family members.

  • Money and muscle power in politics. Parties sometimes support criminals who can win the elections

  • Parties don’t offer meaningful choice to the voters. For example, difference between Labor Party and Conservative Party in Britain is very little. They agree on more fundamental aspects but differ only in details on how policies are to be framed and implemented

Reforming the Parties

  • Constitution was amended to prevent elected MLAs and MPs from changing parties. This was done because many elected representatives were indulging in Defection in order to become ministers or for cash rewards

  • Defection – Changing party allegiance from the party on which a person got elected (to a legislative body) to a different party

  • Law on regulating internal affairs of the political parties - maintain a register of its members, to follow its own constitution, to have an independent authority, to act as a judge in case of party disputes, to hold open elections to the highest posts

  • Make mandatory one-third women representation in party

  • State funding of elections to support expenses

Overregulation can be harmful

  • Political parties will not agree to pass a law that they don’t like

  • Force parties to find ways to cheat the law

People can pressurize political parties for reforms by petitions, regulations and agitations

Political parties can improve if those who want this join the party – quality depends on degree of public participation

Problem of bad politics can be solved by more and better politics

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