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Role of Political Parties-Focus on Congress

Role of Political Parties-Focus on Congress

  • Since the formal model of the polity, based on a written and bulky Constitution is well‑ known, we try to capture the essentials of the real polity model as it has evolved over the past few decades.
  • It operates basically by means of competitive electoral politics with various political parties as the major players. It has all along been influenced in a variety of ways by the global and geopolitical factors.
  • We have both nation-wide and regional political parties; some with a wide social base and organizational network and others, not excluding the seasonally mushrooming ones, with narrow social constituencies.
  • This politics has all along been dominated by the Indian National Congress (INC); the main organized component of the freedom movement which inherited the political power in the course of the negotiated transfer of power from the British.
  • After 1967, with sonic spurts of resurgence, the INC has seen steady erosion of its power as also of its great and glorious legacy.
  • That to varying extents nearly all the other political parties had their roots in or drawn their leadership from the INC may be taken to indicate its broad national character. This may also partly explain why the congress political culture is so ubiquitous.
  • The INC, despite its powerful spell of charismatic leadership, was until recently a democratic political organization.
  • It combined its broad social base fairly deftly with accommodation of the multiple dominance of the powerful socioeconomic classes and groups in civil society.
  • The tragedy is that, in course of time, it lost its democratic and broad national character to a small coterie of political bosses. Though the process had its small origins earlier, it burst into the open after the death of Jawaharlal Nehru.    Role of Political Parties-Focus on Congress
  • The ill-famed syndicate Raj, trying to work under a nominal figure-head Prime Minister was its first major exposure to the public eye.
  • Before we attempt to see how such a degeneration came about, it may be noted that the non-INC political parties remained virtually ineffective and without a direct share in power until 1967.
  • Despite periodic, almost regular organizational elections, the INC slipped into the hands of some power-brokers who were well-entrenched in the party organization and administrative structure in various states and to some extent at the Union level as well.
  • The state patronage, power and discretionary authority was used for feather­bedding; it was strengthened by centralized final selection of party candidates for elections.
  • Despite complaints and other systemic indications, for a variety of reasons, including the need to maintain an effective and well- oiled election machinery, as the support base of the INC, showed signs of volatility, the misdemeanours and malfeasance at various levels in administration by party members were tolerated.
  • Such elements made a mockery of organisational elections through bogus members and selective showering of administrative favour. As a result, the party units at State and local levels became nearly defunct for non-electoral purposes.      Role of Political Parties-Focus on Congress



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