Political Parties: Class 10 Political Science Chapter Notes

Political Parties: Class 10 Civics Chapter Notes: Chapter notes are one of the best ways to prepare for any exams. The Civics Notes of Class 10 Pol Science Chapter ‘Political Parties’ given here would help in understanding and also ultimate source of revision before exams.

Political Parties-Functions and Necessity

What is the function and necessity of the party system in a democracy?

Political parties

  • A political party is a group of individuals who work together to contest elections and occupy positions of authority in government.
  • The parties represent a society’s fundamental political divisions. Parties speak for a certain part of society and thus involve ‘partisanship’.
  • Thus, a party is defined by the part it represents, the policies it promotes and the values it defends.

Components of political parties

A political party is a way in which people may talk to the government and have a voice in the politics of any region. Any political party must therefore have three main components.

Leaders: The top leaders of the parties choose the candidates to field in elections, form the government if they win elections, and make decisions and policies for the country.

Active members: These are people who work for the party at the ground level, create public opinion and are a link between the party and the people.

Followers: They are the common people who believe in the same principles as those espoused by the party.

Types of party systems

There are three types of party systems.

  • One-party system: There is no rivalry in a one-party system. The single-party nominates all the candidates, and people decide to vote for one of the candidates or not to vote at all.
  • Two-party system: In a two-party system, two dominant parties compete for power. To win elections, a party has to get the highest number of votes or seats.
  • Multi-party system: A multi-party system is the third and most prevalent form of democracy. In such a structure, there are three or more parties that have the potential to take control of the government independently or in a coalition.

Role of political parties

Each political party has many roles to play.

  • Political parties contest elections.
  • They initiate different policies and programmes.
  • Parties form and run the government.
  • Parties that lose the election work as the opposition to demand accountability from the government.
  • Political parties have the power to shape public opinion.
  • Political parties provide people access to government machinery and welfare schemes.

Importance of political parties

  • There can be no democratic government without a political party.
  • If there were no political parties:
  • Each candidate in an election would be an independent candidate.
  • No particular candidate would have the power to promise any significant policy reform to voters.
  • No one would be answerable for the way the government is run.
  • Representative democracy endures in the long term when there are political parties and not only independent candidates.
  • Political parties are agencies that bring together diverse viewpoints on different topics and introduce them to the legislature.

National and State Political Parties

What are the different national and state-level political parties in India?

National parties

  • A party that receives 6% of the total votes cast in Lok Sabha elections or in the Legislative Assembly elections of four states and wins at least four seats in the Lok Sabha is recognised as a national party.
  • A national party can influence the entire country.
  • It seeks to resolve national as well as foreign affairs problems of a country.
  • National parties in India include BJP, CPI(M), INC, BSP, AITC, CPI, NCP.

National parties of India

1. All India Trinamool Congress (AITC)

  • AITC was launched on 1 January 1998 by Mamata Banerjee.
  • In 2016, the party was recognised as a national party.
  • The party’s symbol is flowers and grass.
  • Secularism and federalism are the party’s values.
  • Since 2011, it has been in power in West Bengal, with a presence in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Tripura.
  • It received 3.84 per cent of the vote in the 2014 general elections and won 34 seats, making it the fourth-largest party in the Lok Sabha.

2. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)

  • Kanshi Ram was the driving force behind the formation of the party in 1984.
  • Bahujan Samaj includes backward communities, adivasis, OBCs and religious minorities. BSP seeks to represent them and secure power for their welfare.
  • BSP supports the cause of ensuring the rights and welfare of marginalised people.
  • The Party is based in Uttar Pradesh, but also has a significant presence in neighbouring states such as Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, and Punjab.
  • It has formed the Uttar Pradesh state government several times by enlisting the support of different political parties at different times.

3. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

  • Syama Prasad Mukherjee established the Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1951, which was revived in 1980 under the name of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
  • It aspires to create a powerful and modern India by taking inspiration from India’s ancient culture and values.
  • It upholds Deendayal Upadhyaya’s ideas of integral humanism and Antyodaya.
  • The party’s support had previously been limited to the north and west and urban areas, but it has now extended to the south, east, north-east, and rural areas.
  • In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it emerged as the largest party, with 282 members and lead the ruling NDA government at the Centre.

4. Communist Party of India (CPI)

  • The party was established in 1925 and is based on the ideology of Marxism-Leninism, secularism, and democracy.
  • It opposes secessionist and communal forces.
  • CPI accepts parliamentary democracy as a means of advancing the interests of workers, farmers and the poor.
  • The party has a significant presence in Kerala, West Bengal, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.
  • Its support base had gradually declined over the years and in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the party received less than 1% of the vote and secured 2 seats.
  • CPI advocates the coming together of all left parties to build a strong left front.

5. Communist Party of India – Marxist (CPI-M):

  • The party was established in 1964 and believes in Marxism-Leninism.
  • It opposes imperialism and communalism.
  • It supports socialism, secularism and democracy.
  • CPI-M accepts democratic elections as a useful and beneficial tool for achieving India’s goal of socioeconomic justice.
  • In West Bengal, Kerala, and Tripura, CPI – M has good support.
  • The party ruled West Bengal for 34 years without a break.
  • It received about 1.75% of the vote and 3 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

6. Indian National Congress (INC)

  • The Congress Party is one of the world’s oldest parties. It was founded in 1885 and has gone through several splits.
  • The party sought to establish a modern secular democratic republic in newly independent India under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • From freedom to 1977, INC was the ruling party at the centre and again from 1980 to 1989. Its popularity declined after 1989, but it still has support across the country.
  • The main goal of the party is to promote the welfare of marginalised groups and minorities and secularism.
  • INC is a centrist party (neither rightist nor leftist) in its ideology.

7. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)

  • Following a split in the Congress Party, the party was formed in 1999.
  • Democracy, Gandhian secularism, equity, social justice, and federalism are the values it espouses.
  • It is a major party in Maharashtra with a significant presence in Meghalaya, Manipur and Assam.
  • In Maharashtra, the NCP is in alliance with Congress as its coalition partner.
  • It has been a member of the United Progressive Alliance at the centre since 2004.

State or regional parties

  • A regional party is described as a political party that receives at least 6% of the total vote in state assembly elections and two seats.
  • A regional party influences a specific region or state.
  • A regional group must win at least two states’ seats. A national party, on the other hand, must gain seats in at least four states.
  • Regional parties include the AAP in Delhi, DMK in Tamil Nadu and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.
  • National parties often form alliances with regional parties.
  • Regional parties contribute to the strengthening of federalism and democracy in our country.

Challenges and Reforms for Political Parties in India

What are the significant challenges faced by political parties?

Challenges to political parties

  • People worldwide express their frustration with political parties’ inability to perform their duties and suggest reforms.
  • These reforms focus on four areas where political parties must face and overcome challenges to remain competitive democratic instruments.

Lack of internal democracy

  • Political parties do not maintain membership records, hold organisational meetings or conduct internal elections.
  • There is the concentration of power in the hands of one or a few leaders at the top.
  • Ordinary members have little access to information. As a result, they have no impact on decisions.
  • Disagreements with the leadership can result in expulsion from the party.

Dynastic succession

  • Dynastic succession weakens internal democracy.
  • Dynastic succession shows in choosing the party’s leader, nominating candidates for elections and giving prominent cabinet positions.
  • Leaders in positions of power favour their family members or close associates.
  • In many parties, top roles are held by members of one family.
  • As a result, those with insufficient experience or without public support assume positions of authority, rendering the whole system non-democratic.

Money and muscle power

  • Rich candidates finance political parties and campaigns during elections.
  • This lets the candidates influence the party’s decisions and policies.
  • Muscle power plays a big role in electoral politics to intimidate voters and influence the elections.
  • In some cases, parties support criminals who can win elections.

Meaningful choice

  • Because ideological differences between parties have shrunk, voters no longer have meaningful alternatives.
  • Those who desire policies that are truly unique do not have a choice in this regard.
  • People are sometimes unable to elect very different leaders because leaders move from one political party to another.

How can the political parties in India be reformed?

Anti-Defection Law and orders from Supreme Court and Election Commission

  • An amendment to the Constitution was made to prohibit elected MLAs and MPs from changing parties after elections.
  • This meant that MPs and MLAs would not be able to switch parties for positions of power or cash rewards.
  • The Supreme Court issued an order to limit the power of money and criminals by requiring candidates to file an affidavit giving details of the candidate’s assets and of any criminal proceedings pending against that candidate.
  • The Election Commission ordered political parties to conduct organisational elections and file income tax returns to promote greater internal democracy in political parties.

Suggestions for reform of political parties:

  • A law should be enacted to regulate political parties’ internal affairs.
  • To promote internal democracy, political parties should be required to keep a registry of their members, organise open elections for the top positions and other procedures.
  • Political parties should be required to allocate a minimum number of tickets, roughly one-third, to female candidates.
  • A quota for women in the party’s decision-making bodies should be created.
  • Government should fund elections to pay political parties’ election expenses in order to reduce the influence of money from external sources.
  • People can exert pressure on political parties through petitions, public awareness campaigns, agitations, and active participation to make the parties function more responsibly.

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