India’s Political Parties

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Political parties in India represent different regions and sections among the Indian society. Core values play a major role in Indian politics. India has a bicameral parliamentary system with both the executive and legislative branch of the governments are run by representatives of political parties who are elected by the people. Since India has a multi-party system there is a range of regional and national parties. Regional Parties in India are aligned to the ideologies of a certain region such as common languages, culture and the history of the regions they represent, limited to that area. The National Party, on the other hand, are all Indian political party that is officially recognized as national parties if they get national support and has influence all over the country.

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The nature of India’s political system was characterized as one dominant political system after India’s independence in 1947 giving the power to The Congress System. After India’s independence, the Congress party under Nehru was in power for twenty years from 1947 to 1967 as the center of Indian politics. Politics under the Congress part seem to have leaned on the left spectrum, in terms with policies for the poor and minorities such as equality and civil liberties. However, they have also made sure to satisfy the elite classes in India. In 1962, India lost to China which left the country with humiliation, there were also various corruption cases, and an economic crisis that ended up tarnishing the image of the Congress System. After the death of Nehru, the 1967 election was very different as multi-party system erupted in India among different castes, communities and religious minorities and the Congress system started to lose its predominated position on both a national and the state levels. From 1977-present, under Indira Gandhi, The Congress developed a new system and became known as Indira Congress or Congress (I). Its highlights a political culture that openly flaunts the dominance of a single Congress Party leader who controls the power of patronage, the party’s treasury and the power to nominate loyalists to ministerial and party posts and election as members of parliament (Oberst 89). Indira Gandhi was later killed in 1984 and Rajiv Gandhi became the new Prime Minister.

Non- Congress parties were also an important part of India’s polarized multi-party system. These groups included jats, the peasant proprietors of western Uttar Pradesh, the Yadavs, the Kurmis, other backward castes (OBCs) of Hindus, and Muslim minorities. Their supporters ranged from the very poor to well-educated citizens. All these groups shared a dissatisfaction with the Congress Party and BJP party. In 1977, the Janata Party came into existence with the emergence of socialists and other various groups to remove Indira Gandhi dominated the Congress Party from power. The Janata Party eventually succeeded by winning several state governments, especially in northern India. However, lacking a common program, a grassroots organization, and any sense of unity, this coalition of diverse factional leaders would not survive for long (Oberst 98).

The Bharatiya Janata Party is a right-wing Hindu nationalist party, that emerged as the second largest in the 1991 election, and again in 1996-1997. It virtually eliminated the Congress Party in Hindi-speaking states of North India. The BJP poses a major challenge to secularism political ideology and to the Congress and other centrist parties that have ruled India since independence in 1947 (Oberst 99). Till this day, the BJP remains to be the national challenger against the Congress. The BJP ideology is that India’s national identity should be rooted in Hindu culture because of the Hindu majority population in India. According to this view, minorities must reconcile themselves to the political reality of Hinduism and its social values, as well as its centrality in the formation of India’s national identity (Oberst 99). BJP is a party rooted from an organization called the RSS. This organization is filled with millions of extreme Hindu nationalists, promoting racism and Islamophobia in India. Yet Modi isn’t as uninhibited as Yogi Adityanath, who says he wants a Hindu idol installed in every mosque, and who has encouraged his followers to kill Muslims if any Hindu is attacked (Class slides). There are many cases in India, where minorities like Muslims are discriminated against and taken away their right to practice their religion. For example, Muslims are not allowed to eat cow meat in many parts of India, and also Muslims are allowed to use their Islamic traditional practice in matters like divorce. After the Indian Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that this practice wasn’t essential to Islam, a law in 2018 criminalized the practice (Class Slides). Another issue that has arisen is the genocide of Muslims in Rohingya, where the government is deporting more than 4 million Muslims calling them illegal immigrants. Under the BJP party, minorities, especially are discriminated which if compared to the Nehru-Gandhi era, actually gave equal rights to minorities.

In terms of India’s economy, India is doing very good under the BJP party compared to the Nehru- Gandhi era. It has the IMF’s highest projected growth among major countries for 2018 and 2019 (Class Notes). India is also doing very good with its foreign affairs as they have fixed their relationship with the US.

Works Cited

Oberst, Robert C., et al. Government and Politics in South Asia. Westview Press, a Member of the Perseus Books Group, 2016.

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India's Political parties. (2019, Jul 19). Retrieved August 9, 2022 , from
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