Political Parties in India

Political Parties in India

Political parties in India are organized groups of individuals sharing similar political views, striving to gain power through constitutional means and working towards promoting national interests. The Election Commission of India registers political parties for electoral purposes and grants them recognition as either National or State parties based on their performance in elections. Parties not meeting these criteria are categorized as registered-unrecognized parties.

Recognition by the Election Commission entitles political parties to certain privileges, including allocation of party symbols and access to electoral rolls. Each National party is allocated a symbol reserved exclusively for use across the country, while State parties are allotted symbols exclusively for use within their respective states. Registered-unrecognized parties choose symbols from a list of available options.

National Political Parties in India

A party is recognized as a National party if it fulfills the following criteria:

  1. Secures six percent of valid votes polled in four or more states during a general election to the Lok Sabha or state legislative assembly, along with winning at least four seats in the Lok Sabha from any state or states; or
  2. Wins two percent of Lok Sabha seats during a general election, with elected candidates coming from at least three states; or
  3. Is recognized as a state party in at least four states.

India currently has eight National political parties:

1. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP):

Bharatiya Janata Party

  • Formed in 1980 after the split of the Janata Party.
  • Ideologically aligned with Hindu nationalism.
  • Symbol: Lotus.
  • Current ruling party of India, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

2. Indian National Congress (INC):

Indian National Congress
  • Established in 1885, led India’s first modern nationalist movement.
  • Emphasizes Gandhian principles of Sarvodaya and planned economic development.
  • Symbol: Image of a right hand with its palm facing forward, superimposed on a tricolour Indian flag.
  • Dominated Indian politics for much of the post-independence era, with leaders including Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, and Manmohan Singh.

3. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)

Aam Aadmi Party

  • Founded on November 26, 2012, by Arvind Kejriwal and his associates at the time, in the wake of the 2011 Indian anti-corruption movement targeting the government led by the Indian National Congress.
  • Symbol: Broom
  • AAP is currently the governing party in the Indian state of Punjab and the union territory of Delhi.

4. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)

Bahujan Samaj Party

  • Founded on April 14, 1984, by Kanshi Ram.
  • Represents and seeks power for the Bahujan Samaj, including Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Castes, and religious minorities.
  • Symbol: Elephant.
  • Led by Mayawati, with a strong presence in Uttar Pradesh, where it was the second-largest party in the 2019 General Election.
  • Inspired by the philosophies of Gautama Buddha, B.R. Ambedkar, and Narayana Guru, with an ideology focused on social transformation and economic emancipation of the Bahujan Samaj.

5. National Congress Party (NCP)

National Congress Party
  • Formed in 1999 as a split from the Indian National Congress.
  • Founders: Sharad Pawar, P.A. Sangma, and Tariq Anwar.
  • Symbol: Clock.
  • Principles include strengthening nationalism, maintaining unity and integrity through federalism, and promoting economic growth with an emphasis on equality and social justice.
  • Mainly based in Maharashtra, known for high levels of dynastic politics, with Sharad Pawar and his family members holding prominent positions.

6. Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M))

Communist Party of India

  • Emerged from a split from the Communist Party of India in 1964.
  • Founded by E.M.S. Namboodiripad, A.K. Gopalan, among others.
  • Symbol: Hammer, Sickle, and Star.
  • Holds power in the state government of Kerala since 2018.
  • Faced electoral setbacks, winning only three seats out of 65 contested in the 2019 General Election.
  • Emphasizes a united front from below, focusing on alliances with peasants and workers, and is characterized as a radical democratic party with a commitment to preserving democratic institutions.

7. All India Trinamool Congress (AITC)

All India Trinamool Congress

  • Primarily active in West Bengal, AITC emerged as the 5th largest political party in the Lok Sabha, securing 22 seats in the 2019 General Election.
  • Founded in 1998 by Mamata Banerjee.
  • Symbol: Flowers and grass.
  • Slogan: “Ma Mati Manush” (Mother, Motherland, and People), gaining popularity in West Bengal during the 2011 Assembly elections.
  • After receiving 6% of votes from five different states in the 2014 Indian General Election, AITC was granted national party status in 2016. However, its national party status is currently under review by the Election Commission of India following the 2019 General Election.

8. National People’s Party (NPP)

National People’s Party

  • Holds influence in the state of Meghalaya.
  • Founded by P.A. Sangma on January 6, 2013, following a split from the Nationalist Congress Party.
  • Symbol: Book, reflecting the party’s belief in the empowerment of marginalized sections of society through literacy and education.
  • Recognized as the 8th National Party by the Election Commission of India, NPP is the first regional party from the Northeast to achieve this status.
  • Attained national party status on January 7, 2019, after securing 16.55% of valid votes in the General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Arunachal Pradesh and winning 5 seats in the Legislative Assembly.

              State Political Party in India

For recognition as a state party in India, a party must meet one of the following conditions:

  1. Secure 6% of valid votes polled in the state legislative assembly election, along with winning 2 seats in the assembly.
  2. Secure 6% of valid votes polled in the state during Lok Sabha elections, along with winning 1 Lok Sabha seat.
  3. Win 3% of seats in the state legislative assembly or 3 seats, whichever is higher.
  4. Win 1 Lok Sabha seat for every 25 seats or any fraction thereof allotted to the state.
  5. Secure 8% of total valid votes polled in the state during Lok Sabha or state legislative assembly elections, added in 2011.

There are 57 State Recognized Parties in India. Here’s a table listing all the State Recognized Parties in India:

NameAbbreviationFoundation YearStates/UTs
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra KazhagamAIADMK1972Puducherry, Tamil Nadu
All India Forward BlocAIFB1939West Bengal
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul MuslimeenAIMIM1927Telangana
All India N.R. CongressAINRC2011Puducherry
All India United Democratic FrontAIUDF2004Assam
All Jharkhand Students UnionAJSU1986Jharkhand
Asom Gana ParishadAGP1985Assam
Biju Janata DalBJD1997Odisha
Bodoland People’s FrontBPF1985Assam
Desiya Murpokku Dravida KazhagamDMDK2005Tamil Nadu
Dravida Munnetra KazhagamDMK1949Puducherry, Tamil Nadu
Hill State People’s Democratic PartyHSPDP1968Meghalaya
Indian National Lok DalINLD1999Haryana
Indian Union Muslim LeagueIUML1948Kerala
Jammu & Kashmir National ConferenceJKNC1932Jammu & Kashmir
Jammu & Kashmir National Panthers PartyJKNPP1982Jammu & Kashmir
Jammu & Kashmir People’s Democratic PartyJKPDP1998Jammu & Kashmir
Janata Dal (Secular)JD(S)1999Karnataka, Kerala
Janata Dal (United)JD(U)1999Bihar
Jharkhand Mukti MorchaJMM1972Jharkhand
People’s Democratic FrontPDF2017Meghalaya
Kerala Congress (M)KC(M)1979Kerala
Lok Janshakti PartyLJP2000Bihar
Maharashtra Navnirman SenaMNS2006Maharashtra
Maharashtrawadi Gomantak PartyMGP1963Goa
United People’s Party LiberalUPPL2015Assam
Mizo National FrontMNF1959Mizoram
Mizoram People’s ConferenceMPC1972Mizoram
Naga People’s FrontNPF2002Manipur, Nagaland
Nationalist Democratic Progressive PartyNDPP2017Nagaland
Pattali Makkal KatchiPMK1989Puducherry, Tamil Nadu
People’s Party of ArunachalPPA1987Arunachal Pradesh
People’s Democratic AlliancePDA2012Manipur
Rashtriya Janata DalRJD1997Bihar, Jharkhand
Rashtriya Lok DalRLD1996Uttar Pradesh
Rashtriya Loktantrik PartyRLP2020Rajasthan
Zoram Nationalist PartyZNP1997Mizoram
Revolutionary Socialist PartyRSP1940Kerala, West Bengal
Samajwadi PartySP1992Uttar Pradesh
Shiromani Akali DalSAD1920Punjab
Shiv SenaSS1966Maharashtra
Sikkim Democratic FrontSDF1993Sikkim
Sikkim Krantikari MorchaSKM2013Sikkim
Telangana Rashtra SamithiTRS2001Telangana
Telugu Desam PartyTDP1982Andhra Pradesh, Telangana
United Democratic PartyUDP1972Meghalaya
YSR Congress PartyYSRCP2011Andhra Pradesh, Telangana
Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) LiberationCPI (ML)L1974Bihar
Goa Forward PartyGFP2016Goa
Indigenous People’s Front of TripuraIPFT2009Tripura
Janta Congress ChhattisgarhJCC2016Chhattisgarh
Jan Nayak Janta PartyJJP2018Haryana

This table includes the name of the party, its abbreviation, foundation year, and the states or union territories where it operates.

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