While analyzing the nature of the party system in India, elucidate the various phases of evolution of political party system in India in the Post-independence era.

Before independence the Indian national congress was the most dominant political party in India with assimilation of diverse interests into what is called the Congress System. After the First Word War, India saw the rise of Muslim League claiming to represent the interest of Indian Muslims. On the other hand parties representing diverse interests such as Dalits, regional identities as in South India started to take roots. These stated that Congress was unable to secure the interest of their respective constituencies and hence would like to deal directly with the British Raj. This time also saw the rise of left parties in India. Thus at the time of independence India has a plethora of political parties. But the INC was the most dominant, both at the centre and the states.
Gradually due to over-centralization within the Congress system, diverse interests which earlier had got accommodated within the Congress started drifting away. Many leftist left the Congress due to moderation in Congress socialist program. Regional parties also became stronger. In 1977 a coalition of multiple parties came to power with Morarji Desai and Prime Minister. The junta movement led birth to many powerful parties later on. Dalit parties such as BSP became very strong with support of upper backwards.
Congress started losing grip over states. South India saw emergence of language based parties such as DMK. Communalism in Punjab led to emergence of Akali Dal. 
The era of 1990s was the coaltion era. Mandal commission recommendations strengthened the backward class politics. 
Nature of party system in India:

  1. opportunistic instead of ideological
  2. strong centralising tendencies around few personalities
  3. party factionalism
  4. clientelism
  5. frequent mergers and splits for political gains instead of ideology
  6. defections
  7. coalation politics
  8. communal and caste based parties
  9. regionalism
  10. weak opposition, lack of unity among opposition parties
Question for UPSC Mains:
While analyzing the nature of the party system in India, elucidate the various phases of evolution of political party system in India in the Post-independence era. {Source: No particular link, inspired with this news}

Published: December 24, 2016 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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