Political Parties Class 10 Notes: Simplified and Explained for Easy Understanding

Embark on a journey to understand the intricate workings of political parties, the driving force behind democracies, with our comprehensive and simplified notes on Political Parties, Chapter 4 of Class 10 Political Science. Designed specifically for students preparing for the CBSE 2023-24 board exams, these notes provide a clear and concise understanding of this crucial topic, adhering to the NCERT syllabus.

Delve into the world of political parties, exploring their formation, functions, and role in the democratic process. Uncover the diverse types of political parties, their ideologies, and their impact on elections and governance. Understand the concept of party systems and their significance in shaping the political landscape.

To further enhance your learning experience, we have included a downloadable PDF version of the notes, allowing you to study anytime, anywhere. Embrace simplified political science and propel your exam preparation to new heights with our Political Parties Class 10 notes.

political parties class 10 notes

SubjectSocial Science (Political Science)
Class10
BoardCBSE and State Boards
Chapter No.4
Chapter NamePolitical Parties
TypeNotes
Session2023-24

"Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right."

- Henry Ford

Why do we need political parties?

Meaning

Political party: A political party is a group of people who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government. They agree on some policies and programs for society to promote the collective good. They try to persuade people as to why their policies are better than others and seek to implement these policies by winning popular support through elections.

The main components of political parties are:

  • The leaders
  • The active members, and
  • The followers.

Functions

Functions of a political party:

  • Parties contest elections.
  • Parties put forward different policies and programs and the voters choose from them.
  • Parties play a decisive role in making laws for a country.
  • Parties form and run governments.
  • Those parties that lose in the elections play the role of opposition to the parties in power, by voicing different views and criticizing the government for its failures or wrong policies.
  • Parties shape public opinion. They raise and highlight issues.
  • Parties provide people access to government machinery and welfare schemes implemented by governments.

Necessity

The rise of political parties is directly linked to the emergence of representative democracy

  • As societies become large and complex, they need some agency to get different views on various issues and to present this to the government.
  • They need some way to bring various representatives together so that a responsible government could be formed.
  • They need a mechanism to support or restrain the government, make policies, and justify or oppose them.
  • Political parties fulfill these needs that every representative government has. Thus, political parties are a necessary condition for democracy.

How many parties should we have?

One-Party System

  • Countries, where only one party is allowed to control and run the government are called one-party systems.
  • For example, in China, only the Communist Party is allowed to rule.
  • A one-party system is not considered a good option in a democratic system because voters are not offered any choice at the time of voting. This is not a democratic option. Any democratic system must allow at least two parties to compete in elections and provide a fair chance for the competing parties to come to power.

Two-Party System

  • Countries where only two main parties contest elections are called two-party systems.
  • For example - the United States of America and the United Kingdom are examples of a two-party system.

Multi-party system

If several parties compete for power, and more than two parties have a reasonable chance of coming to power either on their strength or in alliance with others, we call it a multiparty system.

The multi-party system evolved in India because:

  • India is blessed with tremendous social and geographical diversity. This diversity cannot be easily accommodated by two or three political parties.
  • Because of the multiparty system, a variety of interests and opinions enjoy political representation.

All the countries of the world can't have the same party system because:

  • A party system is not something any country can choose.
  • It evolves over a long time depending on the nature of society, its social and regional divisions, its history of politics, and its system of elections.
  • Each country develops a party system that is conditioned by special circumstances. No system is ideal for all countries and all situations.

National parties

National political parties are country-wide parties. They have units in various states. All these units follow the same policies, programs, and strategy that is decided at the national level.

Conditions required to be a national political party are:

  • A party that secures at least 6% of the total votes in Lok Sabha elections or Assembly elections in four states.
  • Wins at least four seats in the Lok Sabha.

All India Trinamool Congress (AITC)

  • Launched on 1 January 1998 under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee.
  • Committed to secularism and federalism.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)

  • Formed in 1984 under the leadership of Kanshi Ram.
  • Seeks to represent and secure power for the bahujan samaj which includes the dalits, adivasis, OBCs, and religious minorities.
  • Draws inspiration from the ideas and teachings of Sahu Maharaj, Mahatma Phule, Periyar Ramaswami Naicker and Babasaheb Ambedkar.
  • Stands for the cause of securing the interests and welfare of the dalits and oppressed people.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

  • Founded in 1980 by reviving the Bharatiya Jana Sangh.
  • Wants to build a strong and modern India by drawing inspiration from India’s ancient culture and values, and Deendayal Upadhyaya’s ideas of integral humanism and Antyodaya.
  • Cultural nationalism or Hindutva is an important element in its beliefs.
  • Wants a uniform civil code for all religions and a ban on religious conversions.
  • Is currently the ruling party at the center and a member of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Communist Party of India (CPI)

  • Formed in 1925.
  • Believes in Marxism-Leninism, secularism, and democracy.
  • Opposed to the forces of secessionism and communalism.
  • Accepts parliamentary democracy as a means of promoting the interests of the working class, farmers, and the poor.

Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M)

  • Founded in 1964.
  • Believes in Marxism-Leninism.
  • Supports socialism, secularism, and democracy and opposes imperialism and communalism.
  • Accepts democratic elections as a useful and helpful means for securing the objective of socioeconomic justice in India.

Indian National Congress (INC)

  • It is one of the oldest parties in the world founded in 1885.
  • A centrist party (neither rightist nor leftist) in its ideological orientation, the party espouses secularism and the welfare of weaker sections and minorities.
  • Supports new economic reforms but with a human face.
  • Is a member of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)

  • Formed in 1999 following a split in the Congress party.
  • Espouses democracy, Gandhian secularism, equity, social justice, and federalism.
  • Wants that high offices in government be confined to natural-born citizens of the country.

State parties

A regional party is a party that is present in only some states. Regional parties are commonly referred to as ‘State parties’.

Conditions required for a party to be recognized as a regional political party are:

  • A party that secures at least 6% of the total votes in an election to the Legislative Assembly of a State
  • Wins at least 2 seats in the Legislative Assembly.

Challenges to political parties

1. Lack of internal democracy within parties

  • Parties do not keep membership registers, do not hold organizational meetings, and do not conduct internal elections regularly.
  • Ordinary members of the party do not get sufficient information on what happens inside the party.
  • They do not have the means or the connections needed to influence the decisions. As a result, the leaders assume greater power to make decisions in the name of the party.
  • Since one or few leaders exercise paramount power in the party, those who disagree with the leadership find it difficult to continue in the party.
  • More than loyalty to party principles and policies, personal loyalty to the leader becomes more important.

2. The challenge of dynastic succession

  • Most parties do not practice open and transparent procedures, hence, there are very few opportunities for an ordinary worker to rise to the top in a party.
  • Top leaders favor people close to them or even their family members. In many parties, the top positions are always controlled by members of one family.
  • This practice is unfair to other members of that party and is also bad for democracy since people who do not have adequate experience or popular support come to occupy positions of power.

3. The growing role of money and muscle power in parties, especially during elections

  • Since parties are focused only on winning elections, they tend to use shortcuts to win elections.
  • They tend to nominate those candidates who have or can raise lots of money.
  • Rich people and companies who give funds to the parties tend to influence the policies and decisions of the party.
  • In some cases, parties support criminals who can win elections.
  • Democrats all over the world are worried about the increasing role of rich people and big companies in democratic politics.

4. Parties do not seem to offer a meaningful choice to the voters.

  • In recent years there has been a decline in the ideological differences among parties in most parts of the world.
  • They agree on more fundamental aspects but differ only in details on how policies are to be framed and implemented.
  • Those who want different policies have no option available to them.
  • Sometimes people cannot even elect very different leaders either, because the same set of leaders keeps shifting from one party to another.

How can parties be reformed?

Some of the recent efforts in India to reform political parties and their leaders are:

  • The constitution was amended to prevent elected MLAs and MPs from changing parties. This was done because many elected representatives were indulging in defection to become ministers or for cash rewards. Now the law says that if any MLA or MP changes parties, he/she will lose the seat in the legislature.
  • The Supreme Court passed an order to reduce the influence of money and criminals. Now, it is mandatory for every candidate who contests elections to file an affidavit giving details of his property and criminal cases pending against them.
  • The Election Commission passed an order making it necessary for political parties to hold their organizational elections and file their income tax returns.

Suggestions to reform political parties in India:

  • Regulation of party’s internal affairs: A law should be made to regulate the internal affairs of political parties. It should be made compulsory for political parties to maintain a register of their members, to follow their constitution, to have an independent authority, etc.
  • Ensure women's participation: It should be made mandatory for political parties to give a minimum number of tickets, about one-third, to women candidates.
  • State funding: There should be state funding of elections. The government should give money to parties to support their election expenses to avoid corruption.
  • The pressure of public opinion: Political parties can be reformed if people put pressure on them. This can be done through petitions, propaganda, and agitations. Pressure groups and media play an important role in this.
  • Public participation: Political parties can improve if those who want this join political parties. The quality of democracy depends on the degree of public participation.

Important Keywords

PartisanA person who is strongly committed to a party, group, or faction. Partisanship is marked by a tendency to take a side and an inability to take a balanced view on an issue.
DefectionChanging party allegiance from the party on which a person got elected (to a legislative body) to a different party.
AffidavitA signed document submitted to an officer, where a person makes a sworn statement regarding her personal information.
Must Read: Political Parties Class 10 Important Questions & Answers
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