India ​: The parties

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Last night we all read about India’s party system. India has two major parties, the INC and the BJP, in addition to smaller communist and regional parties which are connected to ethnic and religious identities¹. The INC was pro-national independence and follows a social democracy ideology and also dominated the political system for a long time. The BJP party supported a pro-Hindu national identity along with neo-liberal economics.¹ In recent times the legislature has been mostly consisted of BJP members. The smaller parties are able to form coalition governments in order to find a voice in the legislature.¹

Recently the leader of the NCP, Sharad Pawar,  spoke out about the necessity of small parties forming coalitions in order to compete effectively with the BJP.  Pawar stresses the necessity for local level coalitions. In this recent article, published by Hindustan Times, Pawar expresses that he will try to “mend differences between the Congress and its rival political parties for a broad-based alliance to remove the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from power in 2019” ².

With a large diverse country, such as India, is it possible to represent all people?

The BJP accounts for a majority of the current legislature (52%).¹ Modi, the groups leader, has been known for only supporting Hindus. Hindus account for a large portion of the Indian population; however, certainly not all. To better represent all of India’s many religions and ethnic identities, their government has adopted a system of asymmetric federalism.¹ Regional governments are able to represent the regional differences, while smaller political parties can help represent different ethnic identities. With two major parties, often in control, the voice of smaller groups sometimes goes unrecognized.

¹    Patrick H. O’Neil, Karl Fields, Don Share, “Cases In Comparative Politics”, 6th ed. W.W. Norton &      Company (2018) 475-484.

   ²HT Correspondent. “Sharad Pawar Looks to Mend Differences between Congress, Other Parties.” alliance-says-sharad-pawar/story-Mpmxu6C9ods7r3aAMVAcDL.html.

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