After getting independence and after the rule of the kings was abolished, democratic governance has started in India with multiple party system. Political parties have emerged in the country. There are two types of political parties- national and regional. Regional parties registered with Election Commission are restricted to the respective States they are registered. National parties should register in at least four states to get recognition from the Election Commission as a national party.
Why political parties are required?
Indian Constitution does not insist on political parties to contest for elections. But because of some of the advantages a political party enjoys, political parties have emerged. Only individuals file nominations. Contestants without a political backup are called Independent candidates. Unlike an individual person, a political party forms with a specific purpose and policies which may be amended from time to time but will be made clear to the public about their goals. It will be easier to the political parties to form Government as the support from the elected members of the party is assured. For voters also it will be easier for them to go by the policy of the political party instead of by the merits of an individual unless the individual is very prominent and musters goodwill of the people.
There are also disadvantages from the political party system. All the members of the party should support each other so that the party’s strength is ensured in spite of the difference in the personal opinion on some of the issues. Joining a party makes them to follow the party blindly as their strength lies in it. As per the anti defection law passed in 1985.
The 52nd amendment to the Constitution added the Tenth Schedule in the Anti defection law that laid down the process by which the legislators may be disqualified on the grounds of defection. A Member of Parliament or State Legislature is deemed to have defected if he either voluntarily resigns from his party or disobeys the directives of the party leadership on a vote. That is, they may not vote on any issue in contravention to the party’s whip.
Independent members would be disqualified if they join a political party. Nominated members who are not members of a party can choose to join a party within six months; after that period, they will be treated as a party member or as an independent member.
That means an elected member of a party cannot voice his own opinion?
Yes a member can do it. But he cannot hold the position of an elected people’s representative as the member is voted by the voters in the elections treating the contestant as a representative of that particular party and will abide by the objects of that political party. Logically it is right. But it becomes a threat to the party’s elected member that he will lose the position of a legislator if he goes against the party. It makes the legislator to abide by the rule of the party’s high command in order to hold the position. That means an elected representative of the people loses his freedom to express his independent views. All the decisions will be taken by the Party chief and the core members in the interests of the party’s sustenance and its development but not on the welfare of the people of a constituency of an elected representative. A problem in the constituency of a legislator will be seen by the party from the view point of the party’s over all development. If justice cannot be done to the people of that particular region, the recommendations of the representative of that constituency will not be paid any attention by the party.
Party first is the policy of the political parties where as an independent candidate’s view point will be the welfare of the people he represents. The independent contestants have to bear all the expenses and risks in the elections but a candidate representing a political party can save on the publicity as it will be a common affair for all the constituencies. More over the party cadre will be of assistance for promotional activities.
Most of the political parties in India are led by a single person
Political parties mostly work on individual charisma of the party leader and sometimes some party leaders. Congress, BJP, TDP, YSRCP, TRS, Loksatta, Shivasena, DMK, Anna DMK and parties of that sort are run by a single leader or by the association of a few leaders.
Political parties increase in number due to individual pursuit of political gains
As the political parties are run by one person or a small group some members may feel it as an anarchy or oligarchy. A member who is confident of his capabilities and feels deprived of the right position in the party may like to defect the party to join other party where the recognition is promised or may float his own party to have a total control on it.
This is one of the main reasons for the number of political parties on the increase year by year in addition to the regional interests to be represented. Every time a new party is formed the people of India look forward to the new party to deliver unlike old ones. It needs a strong and prominent person to take the lead.
That is the reason why some of the political parties floated by the film actors could gather public support. They are also used by the existing political parties to gain attention of the public and to cash in on the support of the fans of those film artistes. NTR, MGR, Chiranjeevi started their own parties. Balakrishna, Roja, Jr.NTR, Pawan Kalyan and others supported the existing parties they wished to support. Actors like Vyjayanthi Mala, Jamuna, Krishna, Krishnam Raju, Rajesh Khanna, Jaya Sudha, Jaya Prada, Vijaya Shanti supported parties by joining them and participating in the elections by getting party tickets.
Political parties will have agreements either before elections or after
Political parties who do not get absolute majority may join together to form Government. This is allowed and not considered as defection. A party can also merge with other party if 2/3rd majority agrees for it like in the case of Praja Rajyam Party founded by Chiranjeevi was merged with Congress party. Sometimes political parties join together to get absolute majority. They will have seat adjustments to avoid splitting of votes in a particular constituency. The arrangement will also be announced by them so that the voters will understand it and vote accordingly. Otherwise some of the voters may think that favorite party is missing in the election contest and it may result in voting some other political party than the allied one.
All this party system is convenient to hold the elections and to form Government and also to eliminate the chances of frequent fall of Governments due to defections as defectors will be minimum due to the party’s whip armed with the Anti Defection Act.
The party system that way became associations of the likeminded politicians with a common goal of getting power.
To be continued………..
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