Characteristics of Indian Party System


1.      Multi Party System-Indian political party system happens to be a Multi Party System. At present there are more than 30 national and regional political parties. In 1952, the number of small and national political parties was 52. Since, the formation of political parties in India is highly personalised it is commented that, there are as many political parties in India as there are political leaders.
2.      Single Party Dominant System- The functioning of Indian political party system displays the dominance of one party amongst multitudes of political parties operating in the system.
3.      Existence of Communal parties and Caste based Parties-  In the Indian political scene, there has been in existence parties based on caste and religion. For example, Akali Dal, Hindu Mahasabha, Muslim League, Shiv Sena etc. Also, we find that certain parties  are organised on the basis of the support of certain caste groups. As a consequence, the general  public interest is undermined and the sectional, communal and caste interest prevails over the party. Also, it has generated animosity among different castes and communities.
4.      Importance of Regional Parties- India is a land of diverse cultures and traditions. In the midst of national parties having reach over different regions, there are regional parties which have wide support in their respective regions. Telgu Desam in Andhra Pradesh, DMK and AIDMk in Tamil Nadu, AGP in Assam etc are the examples of some of the regional parties. The regional parties are more pronounced in the South India and the North Eastern part of the country. Usually, their operation and influence is confined to regional politics but in 1990s, these parties  have got a foothold in the national politics also. The increasing role and influence of regional parties in the national politics underlines a new trend in the party system of India.
5.      Factionalism, Defection and Split- Almost all the political parties are suffering or have suffered from factionalism, defections and splits in the course of time. The problem of defection has been sought to be dealt with by 52nd  and 91st amendments to the Constitution of India.
6.      Weak Opposition Parties and Lack of Unity among Opposition Parties- to a great extent, the success of Parliamentary  democracy depends upon the role of responsible opposition parties, which check and ensure the accountability of the ruling party. But, in India, the opposition parties have been weal and fragile due to multitudes of political parties and lack of unity among political parties.
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