Chapter 6 Political Parties Class 10 Social Science Notes
Students should read Chapter 6 Political Parties Class 10 Social Science Notes provided below. These notes have been prepared based on the latest syllabus and books issued by NCERT, CBSE and KVS. These important revision notes will be really useful for students to understand the important topics given in the chapter Political Parties in Class 10 Social Science. We have provided class 10 Social Science notes for all chapters.
Revision Notes Chapter 6 Political Parties Class 10 Social Science
Chapter 6 Political Parties is an important chapter in Class 10 Social Science. The following notes will help you to understand and easily learn all important points to help you score more marks.
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 programmes for the society with a view to promote the collective good. Parties reflect fundamental political divisions in a society. Thus, a party is known by which part it stands for, which policies it supports and whose interests it upholds. A political party has three components:
• The leaders
• The active members
• The followers
Functions of Political Parties
Political parties fill political offices and exercise political power. Parties do so by performing a series of functions mentioned below:
1. Parties contest elections.
2. Parties put forward different policies and programmes and the voters choose from them.
3. Parties play a decisive role in making laws for a country.
4. Parties form and run governments.
5. Those parties that lose in the elections play the role of opposition to the parties in power, by voicing different views and criticising the government for its failures or wrong policies.
6. Parties shape public opinion.
7. Parties provide people access to government machinery and welfare schemes implemented by governments.
The Necessity of Political Parties
We need political parties because they perform all the functions, which are mentioned above. Apart from this, political parties help in representing different views on various issues to the government.
They bring various representatives together so that a responsible government could be formed. They work as a mechanism to support or restrain the government, make policies, justify or oppose them.
Political parties fulfil the needs that every representative government has.
How Many Parties Should We Have?
In a democracy, any group of citizens is free to form a political party. More than 750 parties are registered with the Election Commission of India. However, not all these parties are serious contenders in the elections. So the question then is: how many major or effective parties are good for democracy?
In some countries, only one party is allowed to control and run the government. These are called oneparty systems. This system is not considered as a good option for democracy.
In some countries, power usually changes between the two main parties. Such a party system is called a two-party system. Eg: The United States of America and the United Kingdom.
If several parties compete for power, and more than two parties have a reasonable chance of coming to power either on their own strength or in alliance with others, it is called a multiparty system. Eg:
When several parties in a multi-party system join hands for the purpose of contesting elections and winning power, it is called an alliance or a front.
Every party in the country has to register with the Election Commission. It offers some special facilities for large and established parties. The Election Commission has laid down detailed criteria of the proportion of votes and seats that a party must get in order to be a recognised party.
1. A party that secures at least 6% of the total votes in an election to the Legislative Assembly of a State and wins at least 2 seats is recognised as a State Party.
2. A party that secures at least 6% of the total votes in Lok Sabha elections or Assembly elections in 4 States and wins at least 4 seats in the Lok Sabha is recognised as a National Party.
Major National Parties in India
There were 7 recognised national parties in the country in 2018. Here are the details of these parties:
1) All India Trinamool Congress (AITC)
• Launched on 1 January 1998 under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee.
• Recognised as a national party in 2016.
• The party’s symbol is flowers and grass.
• Committed to secularism and federalism.
• Has been in power in West Bengal since 2011 and has a presence in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Tripura.
• In the General Elections held in 2014, it got 3.84% votes and won 34 seats, making it the fourthlargest
party in the Lok Sabha.
2) 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.
• Stands for the cause of securing the interests and welfare of the Dalits and oppressed people.
• It has its main base in the state of Uttar Pradesh and substantial presence in neighbouring states like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Punjab.
• Formed government in UP several times by taking the support of different parties at different times.
3) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
• Founded in 1980, formed by Syama Prasad Mukherjee in 1951.
• 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 conception of Indian nationhood and politics.
• Earlier limited to north and west and to urban areas, the party expanded its support in the south, east, and thenortheast and to rural areas.
• Emerged as the largest party with 282 members in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
4) 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.
• Significant presence in the states of Kerala, West Bengal, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
• It secured less than 1 per cent votes and 1 seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
5) 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.
• Enjoys strong support in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura.
• The party was in power in West Bengal without a break for 34 years.
• In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it won about 3% of votes and 9 seats.
6) Indian National Congress (INC):
• Popularly known as the Congress Party. One of the oldest parties of the world. Founded in 1885 and has experienced many splits.
• Under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, the party sought to build a modern secular democratic republic in India.
• The ruling party at the centre until 1977 and then from 1980 to 1989. After 1989, its support declined, but it continues to be present throughout the country.
• The party’s main idea is to promote secularism and welfare of weaker sections and minorities.
7) Nationalist Congress Party (NCP):
• Formed in 1999 following a split in the Congress party.
• Supports democracy, Gandhian secularism, equity, social justice and federalism.
• A major party in Maharashtra and has a significant presence in Meghalaya, Manipur and Assam.
• A coalition partner in the state of Maharashtra in alliance with the Congress. Since 2004, a member of the United Progressive Alliance.
The Election Commission has classified some of the major parties of the country as “State parties”.
These are also referred to as regional parties. Some of these parties are:
• Biju Janata Dal
• Sikkim Democratic Front
• Mizo National Front
• Telangana Rashtra Samithi
The Map below shows the Regional Parties in India (as on 13 April 2018):
Challenges to Political Parties
Popular dissatisfaction and criticism have focused on 4 problem areas in the working of political parties. These are:
1. Lack of internal democracy within parties. Parties do not keep membership registers, do not hold organisational meetings, and do not conduct internal elections regularly.
2. Most political parties do not practice open and transparent procedures for their functioning, so there are very few ways for an ordinary worker to rise to the top in a party. In many parties, members of one family always control the top positions.
3. The third challenge is about 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 short cuts to win elections. In some cases, parties support criminals who can win elections.
4. People do not find parties to be a meaningful choice for their votes. Sometimes people cannot even elect very different leaders either, because the same set of leaders keep shifting from one party to another.
How can Parties be reformed?
Have a look at some of the recent efforts and suggestions to reform political parties and its leaders in India. Some efforts are listed below:
1. The Constitution was amended to prevent elected MLAs and MPs from changing parties.
2. 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 him.
3. The Election Commission passed an order making it necessary for political parties to hold their organisational elections and file their income tax returns
Besides these, many suggestions are made to reform political parties. Political parties have not yet accepted these suggestions.
1. A law should be made to regulate the internal affairs of political parties.
2. It should be made mandatory for political parties to give a minimum number of tickets, about one-third, to women candidates. Similarly, there should be a quota for women in the decisionmaking bodies of the party.
3. There should be state funding of elections. The government should give parties money to support their election expenses.
Political parties can be reformed in two other ways.
1. People can put pressure on political parties. This can be done through petitions, publicity and agitations.
2. Political parties can improve if people who want change can join political parties. It is difficult to reform politics if ordinary citizens do not take part in it and simply criticise it from the outside.
Source Based Question
Question. Read the source given below and answer the questions that follows-
Democracies that follow a federal system all over the world tend to have two kinds of political parties:
parties that are present in only one of the federal units and parties that are present in several or all units of the federation. This is the case in India as well. There are some countrywide parties, which are called ‘national parties. These parties have their units in various states. However,largely, all these units follow the same policies, programmers and strategy that is decided at the national level. Every party in the country has to register with the Election Commission. While the Commission treats all parties equally, it offers some special facilities to large and established parties. These parties are given a unique symbol only the official candidates of that party can use that election symbol. Parties that get this privilege and some other special facilities are ‘recognised’ by the Election Commission for this purpose. That is why; these parties are called ‘recognised political parties’. The Election Commission has laid down detailed criteria of the proportion of votes and seats that a party must get in order to be a recognised party. A party that secures at least six per cent of the total votes in an election to the Legislative Assembly of a State and wins at least two seats is recognised as a State party. A party that secures at least six per cent of the total votes in Lok Sabha ellections or Assembly elections in four States and wins at least four seats in the Lok Sabha is recognised as a national party.
(i) Who issues symbols to the political parties?
Answer : The Election Commission of India issues symbols to the political parties.
(ii) Which parties are called as recognised political parties?
Answer : The parties, which are given a unique symbol le only the official candidates of that party can use that election symbol, are called recognised political parties.
(iii) What is the criteria laid down by the Election Commission to be recognised as a state party?
Answer : The criteria laid down by the Election Commission to be recognised as a state party are:
I.It must secure at least 6% of the total votes in an election to the Legislative Assembly of a state.
II. It should win at least two seats
Very Short Answer Questions
Question. What is a recognised political party?
Answer :A recognised political party is a party, recognised by the ‘Election Commission’ with all the privileges and facilities.
Question. What are the three main components of a political party?
Answer : 1. The leaders;
2. The active members; and
3. The followers
Question. How many parties are needed in any democratic system to compete in elections and provide a fair chance for the competing parties to come to power?
Answer : At least two parties.
Question. Why did India adopt multi-party system? Give reasons.
Answer : India adopted multi-party system because:
• India is a large country and has social and geographical diversities.
• It is easy to absorb different diversities in a multi-party system.
Question. What does Universal Adult Suffrage stand for?
Answer : Universal Adult suffrage stands for the ‘Right to Vote’.
Question. Mention the ideology of Indian National Congress.
Answer : Under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, the Indian National Congress sought to build a modern secular democratic republic in India. The party propagates secularism and welfare of the weaker sections and minorities of society. It supports new economic reforms but with a human face.
Question. Name the national political party, which draws inspiration from the teachings of Sahu Maharaj, Mahatma Phule, Naicker and Babasaheb Ambedkar.
Answer : Bahujan Samaj Party.
Question. What is meant by a political party?
Answer : Political party is a group of people who come together to contest elections and to hold power in the government. They agree on some policies to promote collective good. They seek to implement those policies by winning popular support through elections. Thus, political parties tend to fill political offices and exercise political power.
Question. What is the guiding philosophy of Bhartiya Janata Party?
Answer :The source of inspiration of Bharatiya Janata Party is the ancient Indian culture and values.
Cultural nationalism (Hindutva) is an important element in its conception of Indian nationhood and politics.
Question. What is the source of inspiration of the ‘Bhartiya Janata Party’?
Answer : The source of inspiration of the Bhartiya Janata Party or the BJP is ancient Indian culture and values.
Question. Name any one political party that has national level political organisation but not recognised as a national political party.
Answer : State parties like the Samajwadi Party, Samata Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal have national level political organisations with units in several states but are not recognised as national parties.
Question. Given one point of difference between a pressure group and a political party.
Answer : A pressure group is an organized or unorganized body that seeks to promote its interests while a political party is a body that seeks to attain political power by contesting elections.
Question. Why do political parties involve partisanship?
Answer : Partisanship is marked by a tendency to take a side and inability to take a balanced view on an issue. Parties reflect fundamental political divisions in a society. Parties are a part of the society and they involve partisanship.
Question. Which special privilege is given to recognised political parties by the Election Commission?
Answer : RPP are given a special election symbol. Only official candidates of that party can use the election symbol.
Short Answer Questions
Question.“Dynastic succession is one of the most serious challenges before the political parties.”Analyse the statement.
Answer : Most political parties do not practise open and transparent procedures for their functioning.
Therefore, there are very few ways for an ordinary worker to rise to the top in a party. Those who happen to be the leaders are in a position of unfair advantage as they favour people close to them or even their family members. In many parties in India, we see a trend of dynastic succession. Members of a particular family, which is unfair to other members of the party, and bad for democracy, always control the top positions. This is so because people who do not have adequate experience or popular support come to occupy positions of power.
More than loyalty to party principles and policies, personal loyalty to the leader becomes more important. This tendency is seen all over the world, even in older democracies.
Question. Describe the three components of a political party.
Answer : Components of a political party are:
1. The leaders,
2. active members and
3. The followers.
• The leaders are recruited and trained by parties. They are made ministers to run the government. The political executives that come from the political parties take the big policy decisions.
• Parties have lakhs of members and activists spread over the country. Many of the pressure groups are the extensions of political parties among different sections of society. However,
since most of the members belong to a party, they go by the direction of the party leadership, irrespective of their personal opinion.
• The followers are the ordinary citizens, who believe in the policies of their respective party and give popular support through elections. Often the opinion of the followers crystallise on the lines parties take.
Question.“Nearly every one of the state parties wants to get an opportunity to be a part of one or the other national level coalition.” Support the statement with arguments.
Answer : The state parties also referred to as regional parties are not necessarily regional in ideology.
Some of these parties are all India parties that happen to have succeeded only in some states. Over the last three decades, the number and strength of these parties has expanded. Before the general elections, one national party was able to secure on its own a majority in the Lok Sabha.
As a result, the national parties were compelled to form alliances with state parties.
Since 1996, nearly every one of the state parties got an opportunity to be a part of one or the other national level coalition government. This contributed to the strengthening of federalism and mdemocracy. Example of state parties having national level political organisation with units in several states are Samajwadi Party (SP), Rashtriya Janata Dal, and Samata Party.
Question. What is a multi-party system? Why has India adopted a multi-party system? Explain.
How has multi-party system strengthened democracy in India.
Answer : Multi-party system. In this system, various parties coming together in a coalition form the government. When several parties in a multi-party system join hands for the purpose of contesting elections and winning power, it is called an alliance or a front.
For example, in India there were three major alliances in 2004 parliamentary elections—the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the Left Front. This system on one-hand leads to political instability but at the same time, allows for a variety of interests and opinions to enjoy political representation.
Each country develops a party system that is suitable for its special circumstances. India has evolved as a multi-party system because two or three parties cannot absorb its social and geographical diversity.
Thus, such representation strengthens democracy. Multi-party system facilitates representation of regional and geographical diversities. In India, several regional parties are in power at the State level such as the DMK in Tamil Nadu, Akali Dal in Punjab the BSP in Uttar Pradesh.
Question. What is meant by a ‘national political party’? State the conditions required to be a national political party.
Answer : National political parties have their units in various states. Largely all these units follow the same policies, programmes and strategy that is decided at the national level.
Conditions required being a national political party:
• A party that secures at least 6% of the total votes in general elections of Lok Sabha or assembly elections in four states.
• A party that wins at least 4 seats in the Lok Sabha.
Question. “No party system is ideal for all countries and in all situations.” Justify the statementwith five arguments.
Answer : Parties are a necessary condition for a democracy. The rise of political parties is directly linked to the emergence of representative democracies. Party system is not something any country can choose. It evolves depending on the nature of society, its social and regional divisions, its history of politics and system of elections.
For example, India has evolved a multi-party system, because of its social and geographical diversity, which cannot be easily absorbed by two or three parties.
Political parties make policies to promote collective good and there can be different views on what is good for all. Therefore, no system is ideal for all countries and situations.
Question. What is meant by regional political party? State the conditions required to be recognised as a ‘regional political party’.
Answer : A regional party is a party that is present in only some states. Regional parties or State parties
need not be regional in their ideology. They have state identity, as they are present only in some states.
Some of these parties are all India parties that happen to have succeeded only in states. Example,Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janta Dal.
Conditions required a party to be recognized as a regional political party:
• A party that secures atleast six percent of the total votes in an election to the legislative assembly of a state.
• Wins atleast two seats in the legislative assembly.
Question. Name the national political party, which gets inspiration from India’s ancient culture and values. Mention four features of that party,
Answer : Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) founded in 1980 draws inspiration from India’s ancient culture and values.
1. Cultural Nationalism (Hindutva) is an important element in its conception of Indian nationhood and politics.
2. Wants full territorial and political integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India.
3. A uniform civil code for all people living in the country irrespective of religion and ban on religious conversions.
4. Earlier limited to north and west and to urban areas, the party expanded support in the south, east, and thenortheast and rural areas.
Question.“Lack of internal democracy within parties is the major challenge to political parties all over the world”. Analyse the statement.
Answer : 1. Most political parties do not practise open and transparent procedures for their functioning like maintaining membership registers, holding organisational meetings or conducting internal elections regularly. Thus, ordinary members of the party do not get sufficient information on the happenings in the party and have no means to influence the decisions.
2. Also, there are very few chances for an ordinary worker to rise to the top in a party. Since one or, at the most, a few leaders exercise paramount power in the party, those who disagree with the leadership, find it difficult to continue in the party.
3. Those who happen to be the leaders are in a position to take undue advantage and favour people close to them or even their family members. And, in many parties, the top positions are invariably controlled by members of one family which is bad for democracy.
Question. Analyse the three components of a political party.
Answer : The three components of a political party are as follows:
• The leaders. A political party consists of leaders, who contest elections and if they win the elections, they perform the administrative jobs.
• The active members. They are the ones who work actively for the party. They are the assistants of the leaders and implement the plans and ideologies of the political party.
• The followers. They are the ardent followers of the parties and their leaders and support them in the elections.
Long Answer Questions
Question. Explain the growing role of money and muscle power in political parties.
How do money and muscle power play an important role in elections?
Answer : Political parties need to face and overcome the growing challenge of Money and Muscle power during elections in order to remain effective instruments of democracy.
Since parties are focussed only on winning elections, they tend to use shortcuts to win elections, for example, like booth-rigging, distribution of food, money, alcohol, etc. to the poor voters to get their votes. Political parties 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 have influence on the policies and decisions of the party. These days, parties are supporting criminals who can win elections. This is a major cause of concern to the democrats all over the world who are worried about the increasing role of rich people and big companies in democratic politics.
Question. Examine the role of opposition parties in a Democracy.
Answer : Opposition parties play an important role in democracies. They play both positive and negative role. Positive role,
1. They ensures political party in power does not misuse or abuse its power;
2. They expose the weaknesses of the ruling party;
3. They also keep a close vigil on the bills and expenditure of the government.
• They target the government and aim at dislodging and discrediting the government for all the ills and the troubles the people face;
• Through stalling the proceedings of the parliament, dhamas and gheravs, it curtails the progress of the country.
The opposition’s work is not to abstract the functioning of the administration but keep a close watch on the working of the party in power so that democracy becomes meaningful.
Question. Why do we need political parties? Explain.
Describe any five major functions performed by political parties.
Answer :To fill political offices and exercise political power, political parties are needed to perform a series of functions, which are the following:
1. Parties contest elections. Elections are fought mainly among candidates put up by political parties.
In India, top party leaders choose candidates for contesting elections.
2. Parties put forward different policies and programmes. Political parties in a democracy group together similar opinions, to provide a direction in which government policies can be formulated,
3. Parties make laws for a country. Laws are debated and passed in the legislature.
4. Parties that lose elections play the role of the opposition. Opposition parties voice their views by criticizing government for its failure or wrong policies.
5. Parties shape public opinion. They raise and highlight issues and resolve people’s problems.
Many pressure groups are the extensions of political parties.
6. Parties provide people access to government machinery and welfare schemes. For an ordinary citizen it is easy to approach a local party leader than a government officer.
Question. Explain any five suggestions to reform political parties in India.
Suggest and explain any five effective measures to reform political parties.
Answer : Five suggestions made to reform the political parties:
1. Law to regulate the internal affairs of political parties like maintaining a register of its members, to follow its own constitution, to have independent authority, to act as judge in case of party dispute, to hold open elections to the highest post.
2. It should be mandatory for political parties to give one-third tickets to women candidates. In addition, there should be quota for women on the decision-making bodies of the party.
3. There should be state funding of elections. The government should give money to parties to support their election expenses in kind (petrol, paper, telephone, etc.) or in cash based on votes secured by the party in the previous election.
4. The candidate should be educated, so that he can solve and understand people’s problems. His previous record should be cleared. He should be honest and there should be no criminal case against him.
5. Citizens can reform politics if they take part directly and join political parties. People can put pressure on political parties through petitions, publicity in media, agitations etc.
Question. “About hundred years ago there were few countries that had hardly any political party. Now there are few countries that do not have political parties.” Examine this statement.
Answer : We can understand the necessity of political parties by imagining a situation without parties.
Every candidate in the election will be independent. Therefore, no major policy changes will be made.
Elected representatives will be accountable to their constituency but no one will be responsible for the smooth running of the country. As societies become large and complex, they need an agency to gather views on various issues and to present them to the government. There is a need to bring various representatives together so that a responsible government can be formed.
A mechanism is needed to support or restrain the government to make policies, justify or oppose them.
Political parties fulfil the needs of a representative government and are thus a necessary condition for a democracy.