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Role of State Parties in India

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A political party is a group of people who join forces to run for office and take control of the government.Every political party has policies and programmes aimed at advancing society’s common benefit.They try to persuade people that their policies are better than other people’s. They want to implement their policies through gaining popular support in elections.Political parties reflect the fundamental political differences in a society.All of the parties support a specific segment of society, resulting in collaboration.A party is defined by the constituency it represents, the policies it supports, and the interests it defends.A political party consists of three elements. 

  • Those who make decisions
  • Participants who are active
  • The believers 

Types of Political Parties

In all federal democracies around the world, there are two types of political parties: State Parties and Federal Unit Parties.National Parties are those that have representation in many or all of the federation’s units.There are both national and state parties in India.The Election Commission requires every political party in the country to register. 

National Parties

A National Party is defined as a political party that receives at least 6% of the total vote in Lok Sabha or Assembly elections in four states and wins at least four seats in the Lok Sabha.The commission treats all parties equally, although large and established parties are given extra consideration.These events are given their own emblem. That party’s official candidates can only use that election symbol. Due to unique advantages and facilities offered by the Election Commission, these parties are referred to as recognised political parties. 

India’s National Political Parties
In 2018, the country had seven recognised national political parties.These include:

  1. The Indian National Congress (INC), sometimes known as the Congress Party, is one of the world’s oldest political parties, having been founded in 1885.It promotes secularism and the welfare of marginalised groups and minorities.
  2. It was created in 1925 by the Communist Party of India (CPI).It is a Marxist-Leninist, secularist, and democratic organisation.It fights against secessionist and communist groups.Kerala, West Bengal, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu all have substantial representation. 
  3. It was created in 1964 by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).It is a Marxist-Leninist organisation.It opposes imperialism and communalism and advocates socialism, secularism, and democracy.West Bengal, Tripura, and Kerala are among its strongest supporters.
  4. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was created in 1980 after the Bharatiya Jana Sangh was revived.The party’s goal is to inspire people to establish a strong and contemporary India by relying on India’s historic culture and values.It became the leader of the National Democratic Alliance, which included many state and regional parties, in 1998. 
  5. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was created in 1984, with Kanshi Ram as its leader.It aims to represent the Bahujan Samaj, which comprises Dalits, Adivasis, OBCs, and religious minorities, and to secure power for them.It has a strong presence in Uttar Pradesh, as well as Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, and Punjab.
  6. The All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) was founded on January 1, 1998, under Mamta Banerjee’s leadership. In 2016, this party was designated as a National Party. Flowers and grass are the party’s symbols. West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Tripura are among the states where it operates.
  7. Following a split in the Congress Party, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) was formed in 1999. It is committed to democracy, Gandhian secularism, equity, social justice, and federalism. Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Manipur, and Assam are among the states where it is well-represented.

State Parties

A State Party is defined as a political party that receives at least 6% of the total votes in a state’s Legislative Assembly election and wins at least two seats. Regional parties are the term for these groups. Some regional parties that are all-India parties have only had success in a few states. Nationally organised political parties like the Samajwadi Party, the Samata Party, and the Rashtriya Janata Dal have units in various states. Biju Janata Dal, Sikkim Democratic Front, and Mino National Front are among the parties that are aware of their state’s identity. 

Status of State Parties

These parties have grown in number and strength during the previous three decades. As a result, India’s Parliament has become increasingly diverse politically.No national party can win a majority in the Lok Sabha on its own. The result of which was national parties were forced to establish alliances with state-level parties.  Since 1996, practically every state party has had the chance to participate in one or more national coalition governments. This has aided in the strengthening of our country’s federalism and democracy. 

Criteria for joining the State Party

A political party must meet at least one of the following criteria in order to become a state party:

  • For every 25 seats (or fraction thereof) assigned to that State, a party must win at least one Lok Sabha seat.
  • A party must gain at least 3% of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly or three seats.
  • In a given election, the party must receive at least 6% of the total vote, as well as one Lok Sabha and two Assembly seats. 
  • Even if a party does not win any seats in the State’s Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly in a general election, it can still be recognised as a State Party if it receives 8% or more of the total valid votes cast in the State.

Role of State Parties in elections

The role of State Parties in India is highlighted by the following points:

  • They provide better governance and a stable government at the state level. 
  • They offer a threat to the country’s dominating one-party system, which has resulted in the one-influence party’s waning.
  • The state parties have an important role in center-state interactions.
  • The body in the centre pays greater attention to the interests of regional actors due to the areas of conflict in centre-state relations and the demand for greater autonomy. 
  • They make politics more competitive and increase popular participation in the political process at the grassroots level.
  • In both parliamentary and local elections, they give voters greater choices. Voters can back a political party that supports the interests of the state or region.
  • They increase people’s political awareness and enthusiasm for politics
  • They bring to light local or regional issues that attract the public’s interest right away.
  • They provide a viable alternative to the government’s authoritarian impulses.
  • They oppose the ruling party at the centre on specific issues, compelling the dominant party to be more reasonable in its dispute resolution method.
  • They make a vital contribution to the smooth functioning of parliamentary democracy.
  • In a parliamentary democracy, the minority must have a say and the majority must have its way. Regional parties have effectively served as ruling parties in some states and opposition parties at the national level. 
  • They were successful in revealing the Governors’ partisan role in the nomination and removal of the Chief Minister, as well as the issue of ordinances and the reserve of measures for the President’s approval.
  • Since the dawn of coalition politics, regional parties have become increasingly significant in national politics. 
  • They once again joined the centre-right coalition governments, sharing power with the national parties.

Difference between National Parties and State Parties

The following points show the differences between national and state parties:

  • State parties’ strength is limited to a single region or state; they only debate the issues and needs of that region, whereas national parties are powerful across the country and deal with national issues.
  • State parties’ operations are limited to the country or state in which they operate, focusing mostly on local issues; while, national parties’ actions prioritise national matters over regional issues. 
  • To become a regional party and win at least two seats in the legislature, a state party must receive at least 6% of the total votes cast in the legislative election, whereas a national party must receive at least 6% of the total votes cast in Lok sabha or assembly elections in four states to become a national party and win at least four seats in the legislature.
  • Anta Dal, Manipur People Party, Assam United Democratic Front, and others are examples of state parties, while the BJP, Congress, and BSP are examples of national parties.

Sample Questions

Question 1: In a democracy, what is the role of the opposing party?


In a democracy, the opposition party plays an important function as a pressure group. It helps to mobilise the government. It maintains an eye on the ruling party’s activities. It represents a variety of viewpoints in Parliament and criticises the administration for mistakes or bad policies. It keeps an eye on the ruling party to ensure that it does not become dictatorial and that its powers are limited. It also has the authority to audit government expenditures. Outside the legislature, opposition parties get media attention and publish criticism of government policy through newspapers.

Question 2: What are political parties’ functions?


Political parties’ functions:

  •  Elections for contests 
  • Introduce public welfare programmes and policies 
  •  Make legislative decisions and carry them out legally

Question 3: Do you have any suggestions about how to improve political parties so that they can better perform their functions?


The following reforms can be implemented by a political party:

  • A provision for internal conflict resolution inside a political party.
  • Women candidates should receive 1/3 of the party’s total vote.
  • Candidates with criminal reports shouldn’t be supported.
  • State funding should be promoted during elections so that candidates from low-income backgrounds have an equal chance of winning.

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Last Updated : 27 May, 2022
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