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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Party Competition in the Context of New Political Party by Arvind kejrival

It is very sad to read such a short sighted and out of place argument having little understanding of how party system evolve in Indian democracy. The domain of political parties in India has undergone amazing transformation since the time the country became a democratic republic. Parties played an immense role as mediating agencies in bringing about democratic transformation in a relatively peaceful manner (compared to several other former colonial countries), in a short span of time, and under conditions that were considered not very conducive to democratic development.
While the success of parties gives us some satisfaction, their shortcomings cause disquiet. The very success of parties in establishing and working out democracy in the spirit of nationalism, secularism, and socialism gave birth to tensions that parties find difficult to manage or resolve.Most parties have become centred around one leader who exercises absolute control over the party. The puzzle is that while parties have been instrumental in democratising state and society, they have tended to become internally less democratic.

By the time the country became independent it had several parties competing with each other although the Indian National Congress had an imposing presence. The Justice Party was formed in 1917 with a view to mobilise non-Brahman sections of the then Madras Presidency; the Shiromani Akali Dal was formed in 1921 to establish Sikh control over gurudwaras; the Hindu Maha Sabha in 1925 to protect the rights of the Hindus; National Conference in 1932 to promote the rights of Kashmiri Muslims; Unionist Party was formed in Punjab in 1936; the Communist Party of India was formed in 1925; the Congress Socialist Party in 1935; the Forward Bloc in 1939; the Revolutionary Socialist Party in 1940; the Radical Democratic Party by M.N. Roy in 1942; and the Scheduled Castes Federation in 1940s to serve the interests of the downtrodden castes. Of course the Muslim League was formed in 1905
The agitations led by Jayaprakash Narayan, the imposition of Emergency, in 1975-77 and finally the formation of the Janata party in 1977 brought far reaching changes in the structure of party competition. The Janata party itself came through the merger of different parties – Socialist Party, Bharatiya Lok Dal, Bharatiya Jan Sangh and the Congress (O) – with long-standing mutual opposition but now united in their will to defeat the Congress.
The emergence of a viable non-Congress party and its capturing of power at the Centre raised the hope of a two-party system taking shape. But this experiment soon fizzled out with leadership quarrels in the Janata party. After a gap of nine years the non-Congress parties once again came to power in 1989, under the banner of National Front. But it too collapsed within two years. The leaders of these parties, although very experienced and talented, were unable to work out a broad programme to aggregate political groups and to overcome the deep-seated party identities as they were embroiled in suicidal power intrigues. Thus, the non-Congress alliance was unable on both occasions to consolidate the significant support it received from the electorate and continue in power. However, the Janata and National Front experiments proved that it was possible to displace the Congress if the non-Congress parties could come together.
The 1980s was a period of great flux. It saw the emergence of more and more new parties. Several National and regional parties were born as the Janata party began to fall apart. Some old parties took a new avatar, such as the BJP (formed in 1980), which began to gain strength as the major opposition to the Congress at the national level and in some States. The Bahujan Samaj Party began to take shape in the North as the representative of the dalits. New regional parties sprouted, developed and captured power in States: such as the TDP (1983) in AP and the AGP (1985) in Assam. As a result of reconfiguration of politics numerous small parties began to gain strength or emerge: All India Muslim League (1948), Shiv Sena (1966), Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (1972), Manipur People’s Party, Mizo National Front (1965), J&K Panthers Party, Nagaland People’s Party, Nagaland People’s Council, Sikkim Sangrama Parishad, Indian People’s Front, etc. Due to the fragmentation of major regional parties different splinter parties of SAD, DMK (the Anna DMK in 1972), Republican Party of India and Kerala Congress began to appear.
Ofcourse Arvind Kejrival experiment is new mile stone in Indi’s democractic experiment and democratic party competition. You need not to make such a negativism. After all the political formation shows the strength of India’s political democracy and pluralist politics.Obviously the party seems an experiment is a time when India faces one of very serious problems ever since We are about to govern ourselves but no other political party dare to take charge of fighting down corruption

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