Indian Polity & Constitution
Context: Democratizing Political Parties
- At last count, there were 2,858 parties registered with the Election Commission of India. Of these, eight are national parties, 54 are state parties and 2,797 are unrecognised parties.
- The internal functioning and structures of an overwhelming number of these political parties are opaque and ossified
- The roots of the most pertinent challenges faced by Indian politics today can be traced to the lack of intra-party democracy
Need for Democracy in Political Parties
- The absence of intra-party democracy has contributed to political parties becoming closed autocratic structures.
- To avoid factionalism and division of parties
- A democratic party will be accountable to its party members
- A transparent party structure with transparent processes will allow proper ticket distribution and candidate selection.
- Lack of democracy has led to problem of candidates with criminal backgrounds contesting elections.
Factors responsible for lack of democracy
- Dynasty politics: The lack of intra-party democracy has also contributed to the growing nepotism in political parties.
- Personality cult: There is a tendency of hero worship in people and many times a leader takes over the party
- Centralized structure of Political Parties
- ECI’s power to require parties to hold regular internal elections for office bearers, and candidate selection is compromised in the absence of any penal provisions – Under Section 16-A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 to either suspend or withdraw recognition to a political party as a national or state party.
- Law to Compulsify Elections: The political party shall hold elections of national and State levels in the presence of the observers to be nominated by the ECI.
- Empowering ECI: appointment of external election monitors and other innovative mechanisms that the internal democratic processes of all political parties play out in a just, fair and credible manner.
- Seats in Party can be reserved for women and members of the backward community including minorities.
Source: Indian Express
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