NATIONAL POLITICAL PARTIES
1. National parties are country wide parties which have their units in various state and all these units follow the same policies, programs and strategy that holds significance at national level. These parties are bound to be register with the Election commission and the commission treating them equally. The large and established parties enjoys special facilities offered through election commission.
These parties are given unique symbol that is used by official candidate of the party as election symbol.
Election Commission lays down detailed criteria of a proportion of votes and seats that a political party must get in order to be termed as a recognized party. A political party is recognized as state party when it secures at least 6 per cent of the total votes in an elections to the legislative assembly of a state and wins at least two seats in the legislative assembly of a state.
A political party is recognized as national party when it secures at least 6 per cent of the total votes in Lok Sabha election or Assembly elections in four states and wins at least four seats in the Lok Sabha. In year 2006, there were six national recognized parties in the countries and they are as follows:
1. INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS (INC): It’s popularly known as congress party and is one of the oldest political parties of the world. It was founded in the year 1885 and has played significant role in Indian politics at the national and state level for decades after India’s independence. Congress party ruled at the centre till 1977 and then from 1980 to 1989, its support declined at the centre but it remained omnipresent throughout the country. Congress party ideological orientation is that of a contrast party as it supports secularism and works for the weaker sections and minorities.
It emerged as the largest political party with 145 members in the Lok Sabha elections held in the year 2004. It presently leads the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition government at the centre.
2. BHARTIYA JANTA PARTY (BJP): It was founded in 1980. It came out as revival from Bhartiya Jan Sangh and its important element in its conception of nationhood was cultural nationalism or Hindutva, BJP demands full territorial and political integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India. It was against a religious conversions while it support base increased substantially in 1990’s BJP was earlier limited to north and western states and to its urban areas but its support extended substantially on the South, East, North East and to the rural areas. It came to power in 1998 as the leaders of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) including several state and regional parties. It lost elections in 2004 and is the principal opposition party in the Lok Sabha.
3. BAHUJAN SAMAJ PARTY ( BSP) Kanshi Ram founded BSP in the year 1984.Its aim was to secure and represent power for the Bahujan Samaj that included Dalits Adiasis, OBC ‘s and religious minorities. BSP draws inspiration from the ideologies of B.R. Ambedkar, Sahu Maharaj, Mahatma Phule, Periyar Ramaswami Naicker and Babasaheb Ambedkar. It’s main presence and base is in the state of UP and has substantial presence in states like MP, Chattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Punjab. In 2004, Lok Sabha Elections. It paralleled about 5 per cent ad secured 19 seats in the Lok Sabha.
4. COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA-MARXIST ( CPI – M): CPI (M) believed in the ideologies of Marxism – Leninism and was founded in 1964. It strongly supports socialism, secularism, democracy and opposes imperialism and communalism. It enjoy strong support in West Bengal, Kerala, Tripura and is popular among factory workers, farmers, agriculture laborers and the intelligentsia. CPI – M has been in power for a long 30 years without a break in West Bengal. In 2004 elections, it won 6 per cent of votes and 43 seats in the Lok Sabha. It currently supports UPA government from outside without participating in the government.
5. COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (CPI): CPI was formed in 1925 and believes in Marxism – Lenninsm. It lays stress on secularism and democracy and opposes the force of secessionism and communalism. It faced setback after the split in 1964 that led to the formation of CPI (M). It works on the means of promoting the interests of working class, farmers etc. It’s presence is significant in the states of Kerala, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. It scared about 1.4 per cent votes and 10 seats in the left parties in forming a strong left front. It supports UPA government from outside.
6. NATIONALIST CONGRESS PARTY (NCP): It was formed in 1990 following a split in the Congress Party. It supports Gandhian secularism, democracy, equity, social justice and federalism. It supports the fact that high offices in government should be confined to the natural born citizens of the country. It is a reliable Coalition partner in the state of Maharshtra in alliance with Congress Party. NCP is a member of a UPA (United Progressive Alliance) Government since 2004.
7. STATE PARTIES: Election Commission of India has referred major parties other than these six parties as “ State Parties “ as some of them are present in all India while some of them are restricted to few seats. For last three decades, the strength and number of these parties has expanded and have made parliament of India politically more and more diverse. They form significant role in forming coalition government when no national party secure majority in Lok Sabha. Examples: Samajwadi Party, Samata party, Rashtriya Janta Dal – at national level.
Biju Janta Dal, Sikkim Democratic Front Mizo National front – State level.
NATIONAL POLITICAL PARTIES