chapter  4
31 Pages

Shifting Perspectives About Political Parties and Political Leaders

WithRobert C. Oberst, Yogendra K. Malik, Charles H. Kennedy, Ashok Kapur, Mahendra Lawoti, Syedur Rahman, Ahrar Ahmad

The Indian National Congress dominated the political scene of pre-independence India, even though some parties and political factions were present in colonial India. The first generation of Indian leaders originated in the politically conscious stratum of Indian society and shared the experience of the freedom movement. All political parties tend to be factionalized. Although the parties have built organizational structures, they rely heavily on charismatic and powerful personalities or community and religious leaders. In order to maintain unity, party leaders must constantly try to balance the interests of different factions. The following parties are classified as all-India parties: the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India, the Bahujan Samaj Party, and the Nationalist Congress Party. The Congress system emerged after India attained independence. Non-Congress centrist parties constitute an important segment of India's polarized multiparty system.