India’s Party consists of two major parties–the INC and the BJP– as well as smaller left-leaning communist parties and regional parties tied to ethnic and religious identities. The INC dominated the political system for a long time, similar to Mexico’s PRI, and was pro-national independence had a social democracy ideology. The BJP party supports a pro-Hindu national identity as well as neo-liberal economics and in recent years had gained a majority in the legislature. The smaller parties of India can be found creating coalition governments with either the INC or BJP to gain power over the legislature.1
Unlike the United States Supreme Court which only hears around 70 cases a year, the Indian Supreme Court can hear up to 700 cases a day. Due to India’s large and growing population and the youth of their democracy which consists of many ethnic and religious divides India’s court often has difficulty in reaching a decision. Similar to the judicial branch, India’s parliament also can often be found in argument rather than agreement. The people have become fed up with the government’s inability to reach conclusions causing them to fail to provide many basic services.2
With two major parties dominating Indian politics, are the rights of minorities really being both represented and protected and do the political parties help or hurt the government’s struggle to reach agreements?
In order to represent all of India’s many religious and ethnic identities, the government has a system of asymmetric federalism. Along with local governments that represent the regional differences of India’s population, India’s smaller political parties serve to represent these different identities. However, with two major parties which are in support of national independence and Hinduism consistently dominating parliament the smaller religions and ethnicities struggle to find their voice in politics. The INC and BJP parties need to take into recognition that their campaigns may not be representing the entirety of the population and seek to address this concern in the future.
- Patrick H. O’Neil, Karl Fields, Don Share, “Cases In Comparative Politics”, 6th ed. W.W. Norton & Company (2018) 475-484.
- “Hundreds of Cases a Day and a Flair for Drama: India’s Crusading Supreme Court” The Economist. (Sept. 27, 2018) https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/27/world/asia/india-supreme-court-modi.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fasia&action=click&contentCollection=asia®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=search&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront