Indian Political System

Politics in India take place within the framework of its constitution, because India is a federal parliamentary democratic republic, in which the President of India is the head of state and the Prime Minister of India is the head of the central government. India follows the dual polity system, a double government which consists of the central authority at the center and states at the periphery. The constitution defines the organization powers and limitations of both central and state governments, and it is well-recognized, rigid and considered supreme; laws of the nation must conform to it.

There is a provision for a bicameral legislature consisting of an Upper House, Rajya Sabha, which represents the states of the Indian federation and a lower house i.e. Lok Sabha, which represents the people of India as a whole. The Indian constitution provides for an independent judiciary, which is headed by the Supreme Court. The court's mandate is to protect the constitution, to settle disputes between the central government and the states, to settle inter-state disputes, to nullify any central or state laws that go against the constitution, and to protect the fundamental rights of citizens, issuing writs for their enforcement in cases of violation.

Political Parties in India

The Indian political parties are categorized into two main types. National level parties and state level parties. National parties are political parties which, participate in different elections all over India. For example, Indian National Congress, Bhartiya Janata Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and some other parties. State parties or regional parties are political parties which, participate in different elections but only within one state. For example Shiv Sena participates only in Maharashtra, Telegu Desam in Andra Pradesh, Akali Dal in Punjab, Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK) in Tamil Nadu and there are other such state parties. There are some small communist parties who participate only within one state. Some states have more than one state party. For example in Tamil Nadu another important state party is All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (AIADMK). Because of these long party names many party names are abbreviated to their initials.

Some the political parties have their origin from before India's independence, for example, Indian National Congress, Forward Bloc, Akali Dal, National Conference and some other parties. Some of these parties were either social or political organization before India's independence and they became political parties after India's independence. But many of the present parties were established after India's independence. Members, who split from larger parties, established some of these parties. For example in the 1960s, Lok Dal was established by people who split from the Indian National Congress. Communist Party of India (Marxist) was established after the split in Communist Party of India and there are other such examples.

India - with a population of a billion and a quarter and an electorate of 814 million (2014) - is the world's largest democracy and, for all its faults and flaws, this democratic system stands in marked contrast to the democratic failures of Pakistan and Bangladesh which were part of India until 1947. the Indian political system is a much more recent construct dating from India's independence from Britain in 1947.