Question: How can a party be recognized as the national / state level party?
- A party that secures at-least six percent 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 six percent of total votes in Lok Sabha elections or assembly elections four seats in the Lok Sabha is recognized as national party.
Question: What are the criteria set by the Election Commission of India for Political Parties?
Answer: The Election Commission of India has set certain criteria for Political Parties. National parties must secure at least 6% of the vote in the Lok Sabha elections or 6% of the vote in the election to at least 4 different state assemblies. They must win at least 4 seats in the Lok Sabha.
State parties must secure at least 6% of the vote in an assembly election. They must win at least two seats in the assembly election.
Question: Write a brief note on the Indian national congress.
Answer: The Indian National Congress was started in 1885. It was the dominant party of Indian politics at the national level and to a large extent at the state level for a long time. Since 1989 its influence has declined, but it still maintains a presence across the entire country. The party has seen many splits over the years.
Ideologically, the party is centrist. It is neither leftist nor rightist. It supports secularism and economic growth with a human face, especially towards the weaker sections of the society.
Question: Explain the functions performed by political parties?
Answer: Political parties perform an important task in government. They bring people together to achieve control of the government, develop policies favourable to their interests or the groups that support them, and organise and persuade voters to elect their candidates to office. Although very much involved in the operation of government at all levels, political parties are not the government itself, and the Constitution makes no mention of them.
The basic purpose of political parties is to nominate candidates for public office and to get as many of them elected as possible. Once elected, these officials try to achieve the goals of their party through legislation and program initiatives. Although many people do not think of it this way, registering as a Democrat or Republican makes them members of a political party. Political parties want as many people involved as possible. Most members take a fairly passive role, simply voting for their party’s candidates at election time. Some become more active and work as officials in the party or volunteer to persuade people to vote. The most ambitious members may decide to run for office themselves.
Question: What are state parties?
- Other than these six parties most of the major parties of the country are classified by the Election commission as state parties. These are commonly referred to as regional parties.
- Some of these parties are all India parties that happen to have succeeded only in some states. Parties like the Samajwadi Party, Samata Party and Rashtriya Tanata Dal have national level political organisations with units in several states.
Question: How can parties be reformed?
- The 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 to for cash rewards. Now the law says that if any MLA or MP changes parties, he or she will lose the seat in the legislature. This new law has helped bring defection down. At the same time this has made any dissent even more difficult. MPs and MLAs have to accept whatever the party leaders decide.
- The Supreme Court passed an order to reduce the influence of money and criminals. Now it is mandatory for every candidate who contests elections to fill an affidavit giving details of his property and criminal cases pending against him. The new system has made a lot of information available to the public. But there is no system of check if the information given by the candidates is true. As yet we do not know if it has led to decline in the influence of the rich and the criminals.
- Hold organisational election and file their income tax return. The election commission passed an order making it necessary for political parties to hold their organisation elections and file their income tax returns. The parties have started doing so, sometimes only in formality. It is not clear if this step has led to greater internal democracy in political parties.