The various functions political parties perform in a democracy are:
→ Candidates are put forward by political parties to contest in elections. These candidates may be chosen by the top leaders, or by members of the party.
→ Parties put forward their policies and programmes for voters to chose from them.
→ Political parties play a major role in making laws for the country. No law can become a bill unless majority parties support it.
→ Political parties form and run governments.
→ Parties that lose election play the role of opposition.to the party in power.
→ Parties shape public opinion.
→ Political parties form an important link between the government and the people. It is easy for the public to approach their local leader than a government official.The local leader has to listen to the public demand, otherwise he will lose the next election.
The various challenges faced by political parties are:
→ Lack of Internal democracy:
• Every member of the party does not have a chance to take part in decision-making process.
• Every member is not consulted before taking a decision.
• There is no proper organisation or registration of members.
• Power remains in the hands of a few top leaders, who do not consult ordinary members.
• Ordinary members have no information about the internal working of the party.
→ Dynastic Succession: With power in the hands of a few top leaders, all party positions go to their family members. These members may not be qualified or have the ability to hold their positions.
→ Money and Muscle Power:
• Money is needed to organise demonstrations, public meetings and speeches to publicise the image of the party. Parties choose those candidates who can raise money for the party and win elections with their money.
• Sometimes parties also support criminals candidates because they can win elections.
→ Meaningful choice to others: Most of the political parties have same fundamental and ideological issues. Voters do not have a meaningful choice. Even leaders keep changing parties, thus confusing the voter.
Suggest some reforms to strengthen parties so that they perform their functions well?
Some reforms to strengthen parties are:
→ A law should be made to regulate the internal affairs of political parties.
→ It should be mandatory for political parties to give a minimum number of tickets, about 1/3rd to the women candidates.
→ There should be state funding of elections. The government should give parties money to support the election expenses.
A political party is a group of people who follow an ideology and thus come together to contest elections and hold power in the government.
Characteristics of a political party are:
→ A political party has members who agree on some policies and programmes for the society
with a view to promote common good.
→ It seeks to implement the policies by winning popular support through elections.
→ The presence of a leader, the party workers and supporters.
→ It is a group of people who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government.