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Politics of India

Political Institutions & Parties

Politics of India
Political Institutions & Parties

Politics of India
Political Institutions & Parties

Politics of India
Political Institutions & Parties

Republic of India
A federal republic with a parliamentary system of government capital: New Delhi

A federal system
26 states and 6 centrally administered Union Territories
2 states are partially claimed by Pakistan and China

Federal system
Relatively centralized federal government controls the most essential government functions
defense foreign policy taxation public expenditures economic (industrial) planning

Federal system
state governments formally control
agriculture education law and order within states dependent on central government for funds

Federal system
Balance of power between central and state governments
varies by time and place state power was constrained
during the rule of Nehru and Indira Gandhi

state governments have more room to maneuver


when central government is weak since 1998

Federal system
considerable center-state conflict when ruling political party in a state is different from national ruling party

Parallel state structure


Formal political structure of the states parallels that of the national government national state President Governor Prime Minister Chief Minister Parliament Assembly Supreme Court High Court

The legislature
Parliamentary system of government
the executive authority is responsible to the Parliament

The legislature
bicameral Parliament
Rajya Sabha (Council of States) Lok Sabha (House of the People)

Rajya Sabha (Council of States)


The Upper House

Upper House
Rajya Sabha (Council of States) not more than 250 members
12 are nominated by the President of India the rest are indirectly elected
by state Legislative Assemblies

The Council of States can not be dissolved


members have terms of 6 years 1/3 members retire at end of every 2nd year

Lok Sabha
House of the People

Lower House
Lok Sabha (House of the People) 545 members
2 are appointed by the President of India the rest are directly elected from singlemember districts

5-year terms unless dissolved Lok Sabha elects its presiding officer
the Speaker

Lok Sabha
Elections held at least every 5 years Prime Minister may call elections earlier 543 single-member districts of roughly equal population party nomination 1st-past-the-post
winner-take-all

womens share

Elections to Lok Sabha


Vote share of 3 major political parties

Current composition
43 parties in the 13th Lok Sabha (1999) 39 parties in the 14th Lok Sabha (2004) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 184 138 Indian National Congress (INC) 109 145 Communist Party of India (M) 34 43 other political parties 218 217 total 545 543

Indian National Congress


Indias oldest political party
since 1885

Indias premier political party


until 1990s

in 1960s many regional parties started challenging INCs monopoly on power

Indian National Congress


Indira Gandhi
created a top-down structure party leaders appoint party officials some limited party elections

left-of-center, pro-poor political platform

Indian National Congress


INC moved toward the ideological center
Beginning in 1984

INC today tilts right-of-center


economic efficiency business interests limited government spending

Indian National Congress


INC has always attracted support from diverse social groups in the 1990s INC has lost some of its traditional constituencies among the poor and Muslims

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)


The major political party in India today right-leaning, Hindu-nationalist party
first major party to mobilize explicitly on the basis of religious identity

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)


better organized than INC
disciplined party members carefully selected party cadres clear and respected authority line within the party

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)


Traditional supporters
urban, lower-middle-class groups

base of support widened since mid-1980s


Hindu nationalism north-central India decline of Indian National Congress Muslims as convenient scapegoat for frustration

BJPs rapid rise to power


electoral success from 1989 to 1999
difficulty in forming alliance with other parties

break with past traditions


relatively moderate, centrist position

BJP formed governing coalition in 1998


collapsed in 1999

BJP formed a new coalition in 1999


more broadly based than previous coalition

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)


economic liberalization and stability privilege the interests of the Hindu majority

Prime Minister
Leader of the majority party leader in Lok Sabha becomes the prime minister prime minister nominates a cabinet
members of Parliament in the ruling coalition Council of Ministers

effective power is concentrated in the office of the prime minister


where most of the important policies originate

Prime Ministers of India


38 years in the Nehru-Gandhi family more and more rapid turnover

The President of India


Head of the State Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces elected by an electoral college
national Parliament state legislature

5-year terms can be reelected

The President of India


Ceremonial office
symbolize national unity supposedly above partisan politics

mostly acts on the advice of the prime minister President plays a significant role when the selection of a prime minister is complex
in 1998 President requested BJP to form govt.

The Judiciary
Fundamental contradiction in constitution
principle of parliamentary sovereignty principle of judicial review

The Judiciary
judiciary tries to preserve the constitutions basic structure to ensure that legislation conforms with the intent of the constitution parliament tries to assert its right to amend the constitution