In a modern democratic political system of India, with governments based on Parliamentary model, political parties are central to the working of the political system.
Political parties in Indian Democracy grow up the as spokesman of organized interests. Thus, a Political party system in India is an organization of like minded people based together either to preserve and promote group interests or to promote a particular ideology. Usually every party seeks to promote some particular interest and ideology. The political party constantly seeks to capture governmental powers to secure its ends. In a democracy, the party gets into power through elections.
In a Parliamentary system such of India, the political party winning the majority of seats in the Lower House of the Parliament forms the Government, while the Party or Parties failing to get the majority constitutes the opposition. Thus the Parliamentary government is always a Party government. It may be the government of a single party or it may be the government of a coalition of parties.
The existence of different political parties has many advantages. The citizens of our country can experiment with the different parties alternately. They give chance to one party with a set of programs. They can see whether these political parties are doing good work for the country. After some times they try another party with another set of programs and see how far these are superior to their predecessors.
The nature of political party system in India was characterized by Morris Jhones as a dominant one party system. It means that India basically has a multi-party system but one among the many parties is dominant party and monopolizes governmental power. Since independence up to the 4th general election in 1947 this was precisely the picture. The Congress party was in power during all the twenty years from 1947-67 both at the centre and in the states with a brief exception in Kerala in 1958. The 1967 elections saw the fall of the Congress monopoly in several states where unstable coalitions were established. The sixth General Election in 1977 witnessed the fall of the Congress at the centre. The Janata Government was established. But the Janata experiment soon failed. For Janata was in reality an unstable coalition. The Congress gained back its power in 1980. Then there was a B.J.P. coalition government at the centre and in few states. Then, Congress remained in power from 2004 to 2014.
In the election of 2014, B.J.P got the majority and formed the central Government under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modi.
On the basis of their influence and aspirations, parties in India fall into two categories:
- All India politicalparties and
- Regional political parties.
Thus the Congress (I) or the Jananta Dal or the Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P) are truly All India parties having some sort of influence throughout India and having All India aspirations.
There are some other political parties which are professedly All India parties but their influence is limited to particular regions. They may be classed us regional parties with All India aspirations. The Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India, the Forward Block, the Revolutionary Socialist Party (R.S.P), Trinamool Congress etc. fall into this category. The influence of the C.P.I. (M) for example is concentrated in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura.
The regional political parties are those which are frankly regional in their aspirations emphasizing their ethnic or linguistic identities. The D.M.K. or the A.I.A.D.M.K. in Tamil Nadu, the Telugu Desham in Andhra, and the A.G.P. in Assam or the National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir fall into this category.
On the basis of ideology, there is existence of various types of political parties in India such as conservative, liberal democratic and revolutionary parties.