Political parties are the voluntary associations of individuals with broad ideological identity who agree on some policies,formulate an agenda and programme for the society.Political parties seek to implement thier policies by winning people’s support through election.Parties vary in size and in the ways they organize themselves as well as in the ways they organize themselves as well as in their policies.Any political party has three basic components
• the leader
• the active members
• the followers
Importance of political parties
Political parties are the backbone of democracy.Parties are not part of the formal arrangement of a government but they are essential elements to form the government.They formulate public opinion.They serve as intermediaries between the citizen and the policy makers.
A party is recognized if
• it has been engaged in political activity for five years
• its candidates secure at least six percent of total votes in the last general election.
Characteristics of Political parties
• consist a group of persons of common goals and shaved values.
• have its own ideology and programme.
• capture power only by constitutional means.
• endeavour to promote the national interest and national welfare.
Types of Party system
There are three major types of Party system.
Single party system:
a system in which a single political party has the right to form the government.Single party is existed in the communist countries such as China.North Korea and Cuba.
In Bi – Party system the power is usually shared between two parties.Of the two parties one becomes the ruling party and the other becoms opposition.eg Bi – Party system can be seen in U.K.(the labour and the conservative party) and in U.S.A(the Republican party and the Democratic party)
Multi – party system:
When the competition for power is among three or more parties,the system is known as multi party system.This type of party system is in existence in India, France, Sweeden and Norway etc.
Party system in India
Countries that follow a federal system have two kinds of parties.India’s party system originated in the late 19th century.In fact India has the largest number of political parties in the world.In India we find the existence of political parties at three levels.They are National parties, Regional parties,and Registered but unrecognised parties (independent candidates). Every party in the country has to register with Election Commission.
Criteria for Recognition
The election Commission of India has some criteria for the recognition of political parties in India.
Parties that fulfill these criteria are called recognized parties.They are given a unique symbol by the Election Commission.A registered but unrecognized political party cannot contest election on its own symbol.Thia party has to choose one symbol form free symbol ‘poll panel’ announced by the Election Commission.
The political party whose number of candidates elected is more than the others is called the majority party.The Majority party forms and runs the government.They select and appoint their ministers to run the government.They play a decisive role in making laws for the country.
Those with lesser number of elected candidates are called the minority party.
The party which gets second largest number of seats next to the majority party in the election is called the Opposition party.An effective opposition of the democracy.They are as important as that of ruling party.They check the autocratic tendencies of the ruling party.They critically examine the policies and bills introduced by the government.They raise their voice on the failures and wrong policies.They highlight important issues which are not acted upon the Government.The leader of the Opposition party enjoys the rank of Cabinet Minister.
In a Muliparty system a single party sometimes may not secure the majority required to form the government.In such a case,some parties join together to form the government.Such government is called Coalition Government.
Electoral symbols and its importance
An electoral symbol is a standardized symbol allocated to a political party.They paly an important role in elections.They can be easily identified, understood, remembered and recognized by the voters.The election Commission has stopped allocating are the lion and the elephant.The only exceptions are the lion and the elephant.The symbol of nationally recognized parties is standard throughout India.That symbol will not be allocated to any other party or individual.state parties are allocated to certain symbols that no other party to certain symbols that no other party can use the symbol in that particular state but which different parties in different states can use the same symbol.(e.g.Shiv sena in Maharashtra and Jharkhand Mukti Morsha in Jharkhand use bow and arrow as their symbol).Both National and Regional parties trigger the growth of the nation and work for the welfare of the people.