• Democracies that follow a federal system all over the world tend to have two kinds of political parties: parties that are present in only one of the federal units and parties that are present in several or all units of the federation .
    Example- BJP is present in center government as well as in state government- Gujarat.
    AAP is present in Punjab (state government).

  • There are some country-wide parties, which are called ‘national parties. These parties have their units in various states. But by and large, all these units follow the same policies, programs, and strategies that are decided at the national level.
    Example: Indian National Congress

  • Every party in the country has to register with the Election Commission.

  • It offers some special facilities to large and established parties.

  • The Election Commission has laid down detailed criteria for the proportion of votes and seats that a party must get to be a recognized party.
    1. A p arty that secures at least six percent of the total votes in an election to the Legislative Assembly of a State and wins at least two seats is recognized as a State party.
    2. A party that secures at least six percent of the total votes in four states and wins at least four seats in the Lok Sabha is recognized as a national party.

Same procedure for choosing parties is done after an interval of time.

According to the classification, there were seven recognized national parties in our country in 2018. These are:

(1) All India Trinamool Congress (AITC)

  • Launched on 1 January 1998 under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee.
  • Recognized as a national party in 2016.
  • The party’s symbol is flowers and grass.
  • Committed to secularism and federalism.
  • Has been in power in West Bengal since 2011 and has a presence in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Tripura.
  • In the General Elections held in 2014, it got 3.84% of votes and won 34 seats, making it the fourth-largest party in the Lok Sabha.

(2) Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP):

  • Formed in 1984 under the leadership of Kanshi Ram.
  • Seeks to represent and secure power for the Bahujan samaj which includes the Dalits, Adivasis, OBCs, and religious minorities.
  • Stands for the cause of securing the interests and welfare of the Dalits and oppressed people.
  • It has its main base in the state of Uttar Pradesh and a substantial presence in neighboring states like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, and Punjab.
  • Formed government in UP several times by taking the support of different parties at different times.

(3) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

  • Founded in 1980, was formed by Syama Prasad Mukherjee in 1951.
  • Wants to build a strong and modern India by drawing inspiration from India’s ancient culture and values and Deendayal Upadhyaya’s ideas of integral humanism and Antyodaya.
  • Cultural nationalism (or ‘Hindutva’) is an important element in its conception of Indian nationhood and politics.
  • Earlier limited to north and west and urban areas, the party expanded its support in the south, east, northeast, and rural areas.
  • Emerged as the largest party with 282 members in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

(4) Communist Party of India (CPI):

  • Formed in 1925. Believes in Marxism-Leninism, secularism, and democracy.
  • Opposed to the forces of secessionism and communalism.
  • Accepts parliamentary democracy as a means of promoting the interests of the working class, farmers, and the poor.
  • Significant presence in the states of Kerala, West Bengal, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.
  • It secured less than 1 percent votes and 1 seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
  • Advocates the coming together of all left parties to build a strong left front.

(5) Communist Party of India – Marxist (CPI-M):

  • Founded in 1964 . Believes in Marxism-Leninism. Supports socialism, secularism, and democracy and opposes imperialism and communalism.
  • Accepts democratic elections as a useful and helpful means for securing the objective of socio-economic justice in India.
  • Enjoys strong support in West Bengal, Kerala, and Tripura.
  • The party was in power in West Bengal without a break for 34 years .
  • In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it won about 3% of the votes and 9 seats.

(6) Indian National Congress (INC):

  • Popularly known as the Congress Party. One of the oldest parties in the world. Founded in 1885 and has experienced many splits.
  • Under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru , the party sought to build a modern secular democratic republic in India.
  • The ruling party was at the center till 1977 and then from 1980 to 1989. 
  • After 1989, its support declined, but it continues to be present throughout the country.
  • The party’s main idea is to promote secularism and the welfare of weaker sections and minorities.

(7) Nationalist Congress Party (NCP):

  • Formed in 1999 following a split in the Congress party.
  • Supports democracy, Gandhian secularism, equity, social justice, and federalism.
  • A major party in Maharashtra and has a significant presence in Meghalaya, Manipur, and Assam.
  • A coalition partner in the state of Maharashtra in alliance with the Congress. Since 2004, a member of the United Progressive Alliance.
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Davneet Singh

Davneet Singh has done his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 14 years. He provides courses for Maths, Science, Social Science, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science at Teachoo.