Author: Ayush Pandey
Student of Babu Banarasi Das University, Lucknow
The Constitutional design and construction of Parties is a constant activity. There are various types of party system but India has the ‘Multi-Party System’ i.e. there are n number of parties which contests elections. Political parties have achieved attainment in democracy. The addition of the Adult Suffrage and Parliamentary Privilege led to the emergence of the Legislature groups and electoral panels. The extension and emergence of political parties are related with Legislature, Democracy and Election system in India.
In the Parliamentary form of government, the party government is the real name for the Parliamentary democracy. Political parties are not only the link between the government and the people but they are instrumentalities of social change and transformation. Political parties play an important role in the setting up candidates and conducting election campaigns i.e. an electoral process. The development and growth of political parties can be traced from the days of India’s struggle for freedom.
The party system in India has been greatly influenced by cultural diversity, caste, community, religion, ethics and clashing ideologies etc. The evolution of the party system after independence presents a transformation from one-party system to a multi-party system.
POLITICAL PARTIES AND ITS COMPOSITION
A political party is a group of people who comes together with similar views to contest the elections and they try to hold the power in the government. The members of the political parties agree on some terms, policies and programmes for the society with a view to promoting the collective goods. There are various political parties at the local, State and National level. Every party is required to be registered by the Election Commission of India (ECI).
A Political party consists of three components- the leader, the active members and the followers. In modern times, there are four types of political parties: (i) Reactionary political parties, which believes in old political and socio-economic system; (ii) Conservative political parties, which believes in maintaining the status quo; (iii) Liberal parties which believes in reforming the existing system; (iv) Radical parties are those who believes in changing the existing system drastically, which includes leftist also.
India has the multi-party system and consists of the largest number of political parties all over the world. The multi-party system provides the opportunity for the regional parties to participate in national elections. The negative aspect of this system is having the coalition and unstable governments. Many political parties are popular due to their ideologies, political leaders etc.
The regional parties have a stronghold in one or more states. Many of the regional parties are in power in different states. The rise of power of regional parties has rapidly increased their roles in the formation of government at centre and in various state elections.
CONSTITUTION & LEGAL POSITION
There is no direct provision for the political parties mentioned in the Indian Constitution. However, Article 102 (2) & 191 (2) deals with the disqualification of the member of either house of Parliament or the Legislative Assembly of Legislative Council of State on the grounds of defection. These provisions are mentioned in the 10th Schedule which was added by the Constitution 52nd Amendment Act, 1985.
The Election Commission of India has the ultimate power for the recognition of the political parties. It also has the power to grant whether to register an association of body of individuals as a political party. According to Section 29-A (1) & (2) of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 it is mandatory for any association or body of individuals to get the registration as a political party by making an application to the Election Commission within 30 days from the date of its formation.
The application given to the Election Commission shall be accompanied by a copy of memorandum or rules and regulations of the association or the body of individuals and such memorandum or rules and regulations must contain a specific provision that the association or body shall bear true faith and allegiance to the Indian Constitution, and not to the principles of Socialism, Secularism and Democracy and must uphold the Sovereignty, Unity and Integrity of India.
According to Para 2 (h) of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment Order), 1968, a ‘Political Party' means an association or body of individual citizens of India registered with the ECI as a political party under Section 29-A of the Representative of Peoples Act, 1951.
PRINCIPAL FEATURES OF PARTY SYSTEM IN INDIA
1. Sole party Supremacy: The party system working in our country does not follow the two-party system of America & Britain. It is different from other party system model of nations like France and Italy because in our country some parties have obscured all others by possessing influenced political scene always since independence. In our country, the system of Congress party has appeared after India had achieved independence from the colonial rule in the year 1947. The Congress party has won the elections in the year 1947-1967, 1961-1977 etc.
2. Various Parties: Till the year 1967, India was based on Congress party which was dominant to the people of the country. But in the year 1967, the disintegration of congress party has been started and which results in the 7 national parties and 48 state or regional parties at present.
3. Absence of Opposition: India is a country which has a scarcity of well and strong opposition. It is a very important factor that the opposition must exist but not with too fewer seats in the Parliament. The main purpose of the opposition is to trace out the deficiency of the government for which the government will be answerable.
DISSENSION WITHIN THE PARTIES
In India, all political parties tend to be dissension. In Communal parties, the dissent leaders tend to be biased with a particular religion and caste who have built patriotic client relations among the people of different caste and society. The leaders have factional views for the political dominance within the party and to make one’s mind to alliances with other parties for their political benefits as well as dominance. The leaders and the parties are factional in nature they don’t have any political ideology. In other words, we can say that they can make or break the alliance for their political benefits.
USE OF MORE CONSTITUTIONAL MEANS TO POWER
The Anti-Defection Act is the Act passed by the Parliament which is applicable on both the Parliamentary members as well as Members of the State Assemblies. It is Act mentioned in the 10th Schedule of the Indian Constitution and was introduced and passed by the 52nd Constitutional Amendment Act. This Act is related to Article 101, 102 and article 191 of the Constitution of India.
Party system in India encourages the functioning of the democracy by having multiple parties, which contest elections to maintain the true spirit of democracy. Prior to 1967, India has the concept of a one-party system but after the year 1967 till the present date, India is following the concept of a multi-party system. The concept and principle of the multi-party system are very essential as well as necessary for any democratic country. The one-party system gives birth to dictatorship which is harmful to the people as well as for the nation. In this modern era, when the executive has to attend to specialized and complex problems of administration, it is preferable to have an executive of experts than politicians. This would give wide discretion to the President in the appointment of Prime Minister and discretion to the Prime Minister in choosing the other ministers. Parliament must have a check on this exercise of such discretion with its power to pass a no-confidence motion and get rid of the executive as a whole.
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