Baffling rise in number of political parties

Baffling rise in number of political parties
Highlights

Baffling rise in number of political parties. The number of registered political parties in the polls had increased to 1687. Since the first elections fought in 1952, it had an increase of over 30 times.

From 53 parties in the first elections in 1952, the number of parties has risen to 1687 in 2014


The number of registered political parties in the polls had increased to 1687. Since the first elections fought in 1952, it had an increase of over 30 times. According to the statistics released by the Election Commission there were 53 parties that had contested in 1952. In 2009 elections the figure rose to 363 which have now surged to 1687. In 1962, only six national parties and 11 regional parties took part in the general elections out of 27 registered political parties.

Along with new players on the political map — Jaganmohan Reddy's YSR Congress, BS Yeddyurappa's Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP), Keshubhai Patel's Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP), PA Sangma's National People's Party (NPP), Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) — there were many many more parties which tried their luck in the 2014 general elections.

Until 1960s, Congress was the single dominant force in the Indian political scenario. However, the party’s dominance substantially fell after Jawaharlal Nehru’s demise in 1964.

After that, various regional parties started mushrooming. The boom in political parties has partly to do with India’s immense diversity. Our country portrays diversity in every aspect. Be it the language, culture, caste, our country has variety of these things. The difference between people of two states is too large. This is one of the dominant reasons for regional parties to emerge.

The nation has come a long way as far as the structure of party competition is concerned. From one-party domination to a competitive multi-party system, the number of relevant parties at the national and state levels has enormously increased.

It is surprising to note that in a country where political parties did not find a place either in the Constitution or the statutes untill two decades after Independence, now have started burgeoning and flourishing.

India, acclaimed as the largest democracy of the world, is also a nation with a very large number of parties and also has very large parties with huge memberships. Not only that, we have bewildering varieties of parties – secular, nationalist, socialist, conservative, radical, communist, regional, religious, tribal, caste-based, etc., are a few on our finger tips.

Another reason for the rise in the political parties is the ‘rise’ of regional parties. Indeed, it has become a standard trope of Indian political analysis to deluge voters with excited descriptions of India’s fragmented party system and the multiplicity of local parties that appear to crop up like weeds after a monsoon rain. The rise of regional parties has indisputably transformed the very nature of politics in India.

This trend became so popular that many newly formed parties arrived at a position of serious power brokers in a short span of time. This literally gave impetus to others to form and contest in elections. Forming of regional parties has become an influence peddler. Some people form parties just to raise money.

The trend is surely not healthy. The earlier the Election Commission gives a serious thought to this and curbs the burgeoning of parties, the better it is.

This election there were 58 candidates in a single constituency in Andhra Pradesh. This not only puts stress on the EVMs, but also confuses the voters. If this trend was not checked there would be 100 candidates in some constituencies next time.

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