Whip is an official appointed to maintain discipline among, secure attendance of, and give necessary information to, members of his party. The other functions are as follows:
- Serve as channel of communication between party and its members
- Gauge the opinion of the members and communicate it to party leaders.
There are three types of whip viz. one-line, two-line or three-line, depending on the number of times the text is underlined, reflecting the urgency and importance of the whip.
Whip in India
In India, the party whip directs the party members to stick to the party’s stand on certain issues and directs them to vote as per the direction of senior party members. Whip cannot be used in all cases. For example, Political parties cannot issue any direction or whip to members to vote or not in Presidential poll. The implication of a not to follow a Whip on Member’s part is to risk losing their seat in Parliament on account of defection.
Issuing whips is an age-old practice in several mature democracies and their functions are almost same in all of them.
Whip in US
In United States, Whip gauges the number of legislators against or in support of a bill and to the extent possible; persuade them to vote according to the party line on the issue.
Whip in UK
In United Kingdom, violation of a three-line whip is taken seriously. Many a times, it can result in expulsion of the member from the party. However, unlike India, it does not amount to defection in UK. A member expelled from the party can continue in Parliament as an independent until the party admits the member back into the party.