Democratic Politics (NTSE/Olympiad)
2. Political Parties
Challenges To Political Parties
Challenges To Political Parties
(i) Lack of internal democracy within parties. All over the world there is a tendency in political parties towards the concentration of power in one or few leaders at the top Parties do not have open list of its members, do not hold its routine organisational meetings, fail to conduct its internal elections regularly and refuse to share information. Ordinary members of the party do not get sufficient information on what happens inside the party. They do not have the means or the connections needed to influence the decisions. As a result the leaders assume greater power to make decisions in the name of the party. Since one a few leaders exercise paramount power in the party, those who disagree with leadership find it difficult to continue in the party. More than loyalty to party principles and policies, personal loyalty to the leader becomes more important.
(ii) Challenge of Dynastic succession relates to the first one. Since most political parties do not practice open and transparent procedures for their functioning, there are very few ways for an ordinary worker to rise to the top in a party. Those who happen to be the leaders are in a position of unfair advantage to favour people close to them or even their family members. In many parties, the top positions are always controlled by members of the one family. This is unfair to other members of that party. This is also bad for democracy, since people who do not have adequate experience or popular support come to occupy positions of power. This tendency is present in some measure all over the world. But its effect is stronger in India and its neighbouring democracies.
(iii) The growing role of money and muscle power in parties especially during elections. Since parties are focussed only on winning elections, they tend to use short-cuts to win elections. They tend to nominate those candidates who have or can raise lots of money. Rich people and companies who given funds to the parties tend to have influence on the policies and decisions of the party. In some cases parties support criminals who can win elections. Democrats all over the world are worried about the increasing role of rich people and big companies in democratic politics.
(iv) Very often parties do not seem to offer a meaningful choice to the voters. In order to offer meaningful choice, parties must be significantly different. In recent years there has been a decline in the ideological differences among parties in most parts of the world.
For example, the difference between the Labour Party and the Conservative Party in Britain is very little. They agree on more fundamental aspects but differ only in details on how policies are to be framed and implemented. In our country too, the differences among all the major parties on the economic policies have reduced. Those who want really different policies have no option available to them. Some times people can not even elect very different leaders either, because the same set of leaders keep shifting from one party to another.