Discuss the Main Features of Political Party System in India.

Main Features of Political Party System in India:

In India there is multi Party system. And the number of political parties and groups is about 250 or more. The increase in member is because some of the leaders who get dissatisfied with the existing parties form a new party though not with an absolutely new program. Some political parties are formed around election time to have some share in political power and privileges etc.

Then another feature is that in the country even now there was single party dominant system. In spite of the fact that in the country there are many political parties, yet Congress dominates both at the center as well as in many of the states. Some states of course have non Congress governments but hold of the Congress Party over the country is very strong.

Except the period 1977-1979 before its defeat in 1989 general elections to the Lok Sabha this party had remained in power at the Center all along. But now B.J.P. forms government with the help of other parties called N.D.A. and Congress in alliance with others as U.P.A. Another feature is that members of political parties do not observe strict discipline.

There are always cases of taking disciplinary actions and expelling rebel members from the party. In disciplined members of one party are happily accepted by the other. It was because of this indiscipline that defections became quite common and Anti-Defection Act had to be passed.

In India Political parties are controlled by persons and families. Congress was controlled by Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi. Later on by Rajiv Gandhi and his wife Sonia Gandhi whose son and daughter Rahul and Priyanka also controlled it.

Following this R.J.D. is pocket party of Lalu Yadav, Samajwadi Party of Mulyam Singh Yadav, B.S.P. of Mayawati, D.M.K. of Karunanidhi and his, son, A.I.D.M.K. of Jayalalitha, National Conference of Shekh Abdullah’s family and Akali Dal of Prakash Singh Badal etc. and by families of Devi Lai. in Haryana and of Charan Singh in Western U.P. particulary in Meerut division.

In India the role of regional political parties has considerably increased. In several states regional political parties have already come to power, while in others, leadership is trying to fully exploit regional feelings. In fact after the fall of government in 1979 many political parties had predicted that era of coaltion government at the center has ushered and regional political parties will have big role to play at the Center.

As such B.J.P. formed government with the help of
regional parties called N.D.A. and Congress as U.P.A with the outside support of Communist and inside support of Lalu Prasad Yadav and D.M.K. led by Karunanidhi and other parties.

Though the Constitution of India prohibits the exploitation of religion, caste, community. During election times these feeling are very much exploited by all political parties in one form or the other. As such though the number of political parties is increasing year after year yet their program only marginally differ. On the whole the basic ideology i.e. secularism, socialism, non-alignment, federal system, etc„ remain unchanged. The choice of the voters therefore remains very limited.

Apathy of masses towards political parties and sincerity of their promises, implementation of their election manifestoes, less political consciousness in the rural areas, lack of interests in political parties by urban elites has resulted in low membership of political parties. Political parties financially are net very sound except those parties which can manage funds by underhand means etc.

In every political party there is great importance of the leader. A popular and dynamic leader can take the party to height of its glory If the Congress Party has survived and played a role in Indian political life it is because it could have the privilege of having dynamic and towering personalities like Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister.

The opposition parties remained in wilderness because these have failed to produce a national leaders, who could bring round all political parties, though now there is awareness about opposition unity which was considerably achieved during 1989 elections. Later on coalition government of N.D.A. and Congress government of U.P.A. ruled.

A disturbing features of India’s political party system is that gradually most of the political parties are keeping party interests above national interests. Thus, a political party is becoming more important than the nation. All important posts, both in the government and public sector undertaking are offered to loyal political workers, Political bosses compel civil servants to their line of action and go out of the way to help their favorites.

Thus, on the whole in India political party system is not developing healthy lines. Unless some healthy code of conduct for all political parties is prepared and implemented, the chances of improvement of the system are very remote. As in India, political parties are dominated by persons and their families.

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