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Indian Political System

0digg inShare Delicious According to our Constitution, India is a "Sovereign, Secular, Socialist, Democratic Republic." It has 28 States and 7 Union Territories. With a population of approximately 1.2 Billion, India happens to be the largest democracy and second most populous country in the world. Indian polity is a multi-party democracy, based on the adult franchise system of voting. That is any Indian citizen of age 18 and above, who is not debarred by law, can vote in the Indian elections, at national, state and local levels. India is a parliamentary democracy and a federal parliamentary representative democratic republic, where the Prime Minister is the head of government. He or she should be chosen by the MPs (Member of Parliaments) of the ruling party or the coalition that comes to power, and is the focal point of Political System in India. However, The Prime Minister of India is formally appointed by The President of India. Presently Manmohan Singh is The Prime Minister of India.

Indian President: A Titular Head In Indian Political System


Indian President is the head of the state and the first citizen of the country, and also the supreme commander of the armed forces. Though in theory he/she holds considerable power, but in reality he/she is a Titular Head in Indian Political System, whose role is similar to that of the Constitutional Monarch in the UK. The President of India is elected by members of an Electoral College, consisting of elected members of both Houses of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies of the states, with suitable weightage given to each vote. The election uses single transferable voting method of proportional representation. The President's term of office is 5 years, and can be re-elected to his/her office. Among his/her important powers on paper, The President of India can proclaim an emergency in the country if he/she is satisfied that the security of the country or of any part of its territory is threatened whether by war or external aggression or armed rebellion. When there is a failure of the constitutional machinery in a state, he/she can assume to himself/herself all or any of the functions of the government of that state. However, in reality, the Indian polity entails that most of the political authority excluding few exceptions, and their execution, rests with The Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister of India, which comprises of The Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State (Independent Charge) and Ministers of State, whose suggestions President is bound to oblige. In the Indian Political System, The Union Government (the Council of Ministers, headed by The Prime Minister of India) executes its administrative powers in the name of The Indian President, whose post is largely ceremonial. Besides the formal appointment of The Prime

Minister, The President of India is also responsible for making many important appointments such as of the Council of Ministers in the Union Government (on the 'advice' of the Prime Minister, which he/she is supposed to adhere to anyway), The Chief Justice and other judges of the Supreme Court of India and High Courts, Governors and Attorney General among others. Srimati Pratibha Patil is the twelfth President of India, and also the first woman to become the President of India. The President of India can also be removed before his/her term through impeachment. A resolution to impeach the President of India has to be passed by a two-thirds majority of the total members of the house of the Parliament, which originates such a motion. It is then sent to the other house. The other house investigates the charges that have been made. During this process, the President has the right to defend himself/herself through an authorized counsel. If the second house also approves the charges made by two-thirds majority again, The President stands impeached and has to vacate his/her office. The President of India is assisted in his duties by The Vice President. The Vice President is also elected by the members of an Electoral College consisting of members of both Houses of Parliament, that is The Lok Sabha and The Rajya Sabha, in accordance with the system of proportional representation, by means of a single transferable vote. He holds the office for five years, and can be reelected. The Vice President of India has to temporarily assume the role of Indian President in the event of the death, resignation, or removal of The President of India, until a new President is chosen by the electoral college. The Vice President of India may also act temporarily as President, during the absence or illness of the President. The Vice President of India is also the Ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. Mohammad Hamid Ansari is the present Vice President of India.

The Executive, Legislative & Judiciary - The Three Arms Of Indian Governance
With the Union Government and State Governments wrest The Executive Power, while the legislative power is vested on the Union Government and the two houses of Indian Parliament The Lok Sabha and The Rajya Sabha - and also The State Government and Two State Legislatures - Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Parishad. However, here it deserves a mention that only five of India's 28 states have Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council, which is also known as the upper house of state legislatures, along with The Vidhan Sabha. The rest of the states don't have bicameral legislatures, and only have Vidhan Sabha or Legislative Assembly. Each state also has a Governor, who is formally appointed by The President of India. The role of the Governor is somewhat similar to that of President in the national level; he is also a titular head of the state in normal circumstances, but can exercise some powers when directed by The Union Government. The judiciary is the third arm of the Indian Governance, which is independent of The Executive and The Legislature. The Constitution has designated The Supreme Court, The High Court and The Lower Courts to resolve disputes among people, and also disputes between people and

the government. The Constitution, through its articles relating to the judicial system, provides a way to question the laws of the government, if the common man finds the laws as unsuitable for any community in India. The Constitution of India has distributed Legislative Powers between Parliament and State Legislatures as per the lists of entries in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. The Constitution of India has demarcated the subjects under which each tier of the government will have executive and legislative powers. Some subjects fall under The Union List, some under The State List, while some subjects fall under the category of Concurrent List. The Union Government has the powers to enact laws on subjects under the Union List of the Constitution, while The State Governments have the powers to enact laws on subjects that fall under the purview of The State List. Both the Central as well as the State Governments can enact laws on subjects under The Concurrent List, however, in case of conflict between the two legislations, the laws enacted by the Union Government under The Concurrent List overrides the laws enacted by The State Government.

Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha - Two Houses In Indian Politics


Parliament is the legislative arm of the Union Government. Indian bicameral politics consists of two houses - i.e. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Lok Sabha is the lower house of the Parliament and it comprises of the elected representatives of the people. They come to Lok Sabha after winning their elections, in which eligible electorates (any Indian citizen of 18 years and above, who is not debarred by law is entitled to vote) cast their votes through the system of universal adult franchise. Each Lok Sabha is constituted for a five year term, after which it is automatically dissolved, unless extended by a Proclamation of Emergency. In such a case, its term may be extended with one year increments. Unless it experiences premature dissolution, a given Lok Sabha is expected to run a 5 year term. From independence to 2011, India has seen 15 Lok Sabha terms. The 15th Lok Sabha was formed in May 2009. According to the Constitution of India, Lok Sabha can have 552 Members, with 530 Members representing States of India, and 20 Members representing the Union Territories. 2 Members are represented by the Anglo-Indian community if the President feels the community doesn't have adequate representation in the house. In fact, this is one of the few 'real' powers of the President that is ordained by the Constitution of India. The membership of Lok Sabha is distributed among the states and union territories so as to ensure proper representation of the population of the States and Union Territories. The members of the Lok Sabha elects a Speaker of the house, who is responsible for the conducting of business, and maintaining the decorum of the house, and also a Deputy Speaker. The later preside over the proceedings in the absence of the Speaker. Rajya Sabha or the Council of States is the upper house of the Parliament. Its members are not directly elected by people. Members of the Rajya Sabha from each state are elected by the members of the State Legislature or the Legislative Assembly of that state by means of proportional representation, through the single transferable vote system. The representatives of the Union Territories for the Rajya Sabha are chosen in such manner as may be decided or prescribed by the Parliament from time to time.

According to the Constitution, Rajya Sabha can have maximum 250 Members, that is 238 Members representing the States, and 12 Members nominated by the President, for their expertise in specific fields of Art, Literature, Science, and Social Services. Rajya Sabha is a permanent body and is not subject to dissolution. However, one third of the members retire every second year, and are replaced by newly elected members. Each member is elected for a term of 6 years, however like Lok Sabha, the members can be reelected. Though both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha share the union legislative powers, and have the right to initiate, pass and amend ordinary bills of law, but Lok Sabha has an edge over the upper house of the Parliament. Under the Constitution, The Council of Ministers are only accountable to the Lok Sabha and not Rajya Sabha, and money bills can only be introduced in Lok Sabha. Rajya Sabha can neither delay the money bills for more than fourteen days, nor can amend it without the consent of the Lok Sabha. If it does so, the bill will be deemed to be passed by both houses of the Parliament, and will be send to the President for formal assent. Moreover, if there is a conflict in legislation, which cannot be resolved even by the joint committee of both houses, it is then passed to the joint session of the Parliament, where eventually Lok Sabha's views would generally prevail as it has more than twice the numbers than that of the Rajya Sabha.

Vidhan Sabha & Vidhan Parishad - Two State Legislatures of Indian Politics
State Legislatures are the legislative arm of the State Governments, which comprise of Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Parishad (in case of 5 states only). Presently only Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Jammu & Kashmir have Vidhan Parishads, which is again a permanent house and can't be dissolved. Every member of Legislative Council serves a term of 6 years. Like Lok Sabha, the members of Vidhan Sabha or the Legislative Assembly are also directly elected by the people of their respective states. The members of Vidhan Sabha also elect a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker, whose roles are similar to that of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker in Lok Sabha. The Vidhan Sabha shares state legislative powers with the Vidhan Parishad (wherever it is there), however in case of money bills Vidhan Sabha has the absolute power. In case of conflicts in state legislations, Vidhan Sabha would generally prevail over Vidhan Parishad, by the sheer strength of its numbers. According to the Constitution, Vidhan Sabha can have up to 500 Members, whereas the size of the Vidhan Parishad cannot exceed more than one-third of the membership of the given state's Vidhan Sabha. Moreover, a motion of no confidence against the state government can only be introduced in the Vidhan Sabha. If it is passed by a majority vote, then The Chief Minister and his/her Council of Ministers must collectively resign, and regarding this Vidhan Parishad's views doesn't have any constitutional muscle.

Power Of Amendment In Constitution Framework Of Indan Polity

Though the Constitution of India lays down the framework on which Indian Polity is supposed to run, the Parliament can amend the Constitution if it feels the need to do so. The amendments in the Constitution Framework of Indian Politics can be done in various ways : Firstly, it can be done through a simple majority of the Parliament, which entails a simple majority of members of the houses present and voting before sending for the President's assent. Amendments can also be done through a special majority of the Parliament, where two conditions apply. The said bill should be passed by at least two-thirds of the members of each house of the Parliament present and voting. Furthermore, the members present and voting in each house should not be less than half the total membership in the house. Thirdly the Constitution can also be amended through a ratification of at least half of The State Legislatures by special majority, after it has been passed through a special majority in the Parliament. All amendments need an assent by the President, which normally is nothing more than a formality. All these methods of amendments pertain to specific articles of the Constitution. For amending different articles of the Constitution, different methods of amendments are employed. Till today, the Constitution has seen 94 Amendments, which clearly shows the prevalence of legislature over other branches of Indian Constitution.

Decentralized & Multi-Party Governance - The Panchayati Raj System


Over the last decade, the governance in Indian Political System has become somewhat decentralized and has assumed a local face, with The Panchyati Raj System gaining in currency. The 73rd Amendment of the Constitution in 1993 gave constitutional sanctity to the Panchayat Raj Institutions. The Act aims to provide a 3 Tier System of Panchayati Raj for all states having population of over 2 million. They are to hold Panchayat Elections regularly every 5 years, to provide reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Women in Panchayats, to appoint State Finance Commission for making recommendations regarding the financial powers of the Panchayats, and to constitute District Planning Committee for chalking out the draft development plan for the district. As stated before, Indian Polity has a multi-party system with several National and State Parties, other recognised parties represented in the Lok Sabha, and also registered unrecognised parties. In Indian Politics, state level regional parties have lots of say. Only those parties which are politically recognised in four or more states can be accorded the status of national parties by the Election Commission of India. At present there are six national parties in India. They are the Indian National Congress (INC), led by Sonia Gandhi, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), led by Sharad Pawar, the Communist Party of India (CPI), led by A.B.Burdan, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI (M), led by Prakash Karat, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Rajnath Singh and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), led by Mayawati. Parties that have received certain amount of votes or seats in a state can be recognized as a state party by the

Election Commission. Presently we are having a coalition government. The UPA or United Progressive Alliance is the name of this coalition, which is led by the Indian National Congress

Politics of India
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Republic of India

Part of the series Politics and Government of India Union Government[show] Elections[show] Political parties[show] Local and state govt.[show]

Government of India Portal

t e

The politics of India (Hindi: ) takes place within the framework of a federal Westminster-style Parliamentary democratic constitutional republic, in which the President of India is head of state and the Prime Minister of India is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the President and is independent of the legislature. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of the Parliament of India, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Federal and state elections generally take place within a multi-party system, although this is not enshrined in law. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature, the highest national court being the Supreme Court of India. India is the world's largest democracy in terms of citizenry.

Pranab Mukherjee played a central role in the implementation of the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement. India is a nation that is characterized as a "sovereign socialist secular democratic republic". Like the United States, India has had a federal form of government since it adopted its constitution. However, the central government in India has greater power in relation to its states, and its central government is patterned after the British parliamentary system. The national government has the power to dismiss state governments under specific constitutional clauses or in case no majority party or coalition is able to form a government. The central government can also impose direct federal rule known as president's rule (or central rule). Locally, the Panchayati Raj system has several administrative functions. For most of the years since independence, the federal government has been guided by the Indian National Congress (INC).[1] The two largest political parties have been the INC and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Although the two parties have dominated Indian politics, regional parties also exist. From 1950 to 1990, barring two brief periods, the INC enjoyed a parliamentary majority. The INC was out of power between 1977 and 1980, when the Janata Party won the election due to public discontent with the corruption (promulgation of Emergency with stringent forces) of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In 1989, a Janata Dal-led National Front coalition, in alliance with the Left Front coalition, won the elections but managed to stay in power for only two years.[2]

As the 1991 elections gave no political party a majority, the INC formed a minority government under Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and was able to complete its five-year term.[3] The years 19961998 were a period of turmoil in the federal government with several short-lived alliances holding sway. The BJP formed a government briefly in 1996, followed by the United Front coalition that excluded both the BJP and the INC. In 1998, the BJP formed the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) with several other parties and became the first non-Congress government to complete a full five-year term.[4] In the 2004 elections, the INC won the largest number of Lok Sabha seats and formed a government with a coalition called the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), supported by various parties.[5] In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the INC more than 200 seats, a majority. Indian democracy has been suspended once.[6] Nevertheless, Indian politics is often described as chaotic. More than a fifth of parliament members face criminal charges.[6]

Contents

1 Central and State Governments o 1.1 Legislative branch


o o

1.2 State Government 1.3 Judicial branch

2 Political parties and elections 3 Local governance 4 Role of political parties 5 Political issues
o o o

5.1 Social issues 5.2 Economic issues 5.3 Law and order

6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links

Central and State Governments

The central government exercises its broad administrative powers in the name of the President, whose duties are largely ceremonial. The president and vice president are elected indirectly for 5-year terms by a special electoral college. The vice president assumes the office of president in case of the death or resignation of the incumbent president. The constitution designates the governance of India under two branches, namely: the executive branch and the legislative branch. Real national executive power is centered in the Council of Ministers, led by the Prime Minister of India. The President appoints the Prime Minister, who is designated by legislators of the political party or coalition commanding a parliamentary majority. The President then appoints subordinate ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister. In reality, the President has no discretion on the question of whom to appoint as Prime Minister except when no political party or coalition of parties gains a majority in the Lok Sabha. Once the Prime Minister has been appointed, the President has no discretion on any other matter whatsoever, including the appointment of ministers. But all Central Government decisions are nominally taken in his/her name.

Legislative branch
The constitution designates the Parliament of India as the legislative branch to oversee the operation of the government. India's bicameral parliament consists of the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the Lok Sabha (House of the People or Council of Ministers). ....

State Government
States in India have their own elected governments, whereas Union Territories are governed by an administrator appointed by the president. Some of the state legislatures are bicameral, patterned after the two houses of the national parliament. The states' chief ministers are responsible to the legislatures in the same way the prime minister is responsible to parliament. Each state has a presidentially appointed governor who may assume certain broad powers when directed by the central government. The central government exerts greater control over the union territories than over the States, although some territories have gained more power to administer their own affairs. Local state governments in India have less autonomy compared to their counterparts in the United States, Africa and Australia.,

Judicial branch
India's independent judicial system began under the British, and its concepts and procedures resemble those of Common Law countries. The constitution designates the Supreme Court, the High Courts and the lower courts as the authority to resolve disputes among the people as well as the disputes related to the people and the government. The constitution through its articles relating to the judicial system provides a way to question the laws of the government, if the common man finds the laws as unsuitable for any community in India.

Political parties and elections

For other political parties see List of political parties in India. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in India. Main article: Indian general election, 2009
ed

Summary of the 2009 April/May Lok Sabha election results of India Sources: [1][2] [3] [4] [5]

Alliances

Party

Seats Change won

Popular Vote % Vote

Swing

United Progressive Alliance Seats: 262 Seat Change: +80 Popular Vote: 153,482,356 Popular Vote %: 37.22% Swing: +3.96%

Indian National Congress

206

+61 119,110,776 28.55% +2.02%

All India Trinamool Congress

19

+17

13,355,986

3.20% +1.13%

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

18

+2

7,625,397

1.83% +0.02%

Nationalist Congress Party

8,521,349

2.04% +0.24%

National Conference

+1

498,374

0.55% +0.42%

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha

1,665,173

0.40% -0.07%

Indian Union Muslim League

+1

877,503

0.21% +0.01%

Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi

+1

735,847

0.18% +0.18%

Kerala Congress (Mani)

+1

404,962

0.10% +0.05%

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen

308,061

0.07% -0.04%

Republican Party of India (Athvale)

378,928

0.09%

National Democratic Bharatiya Janata Party Alliance Seats: 159 Seat Change: 17 Janata Dal (United) Popular Vote: 102,689,312 Popular Vote %: 24.63% Shiv Sena Swing: -4.88% Rashtriya Lok Dal

116

22

78,435,538 18.80% -3.36%

20

+12

6,331,079

1.52% -0.83%

11

6,454,850

1.55% -0.26%

+2

1,821,054

0.44% -0.19%

Shiromani Akali Dal

4,004,789

0.96% +0.06%

Telangana Rashtra Samithi

2,582,326

0.62% -0.01%

Asom Gana Parishad

1,773,103

0.43% -0.10%

Indian National Lok Dal

1,286,573

0.31% -0.19%

Third Front Seats: 79 Seat Change: 30 Popular Vote: 88,174,229 Popular Vote %: 21.15% Swing: -1.06%

Communist Party of India (Marxist)

16

27

22,219,111

5.33% -0.33%

Communist Party of India

5,951,888

1.43% +0.02%

Revolutionary Socialist

-1

1,573,650

0.37% -0.06%

Party

All India Forward Bloc

-1

1,345,803

0.32% -0.03%

Bahujan Samaj Party

21

+2

25,728,889

6.17% +0.84%

Biju Janata Dal

14

+3

6,612,552

1.59% +0.29%

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

+9

6,953,591

1.67% -0.52%

Telugu Desam Party

+1

10,481,348

2.51% -0.53%

Janata Dal (Secular)

3,434,082

0.82% -0.65%

Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

1,112,908

0.27% -0.16%

Haryana Janhit Congress

+1

816,395

0.20% +0.20%

Pattali Makkal Katchi

1,944,619

0.47% -0.09%

Fourth Front Seats: 27 Seat Change: -37 Popular Vote: 21,456,117 Popular Vote %: 5.14% Swing: -2.30%

Samajwadi Party

23

13

14,284,638

3.42% -0.90%

Rashtriya Janata Dal

20

5,279,059

1.27% -1.14%

Lok Janshakti Party

1,892,420

0.45% -0.26%

Other Parties and Independents Seats: 16 Seat Change: +9 Popular Vote: 27,146,939 Popular Vote %: 6.51% Swing: +2.04%

Assam United Democratic Front

+1

2,184,556

0.52% +0.52%

Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik)

+1

963,274

0.23% +0.23%

Nagaland People's Front

832,224

0.20% +0.02%

Bodoland People's Front

+1

656,430

0.16% +0.16%

Swabhimani Paksha

+1

481,025

0.12% +0.12%

Bahujan Vikas Aaghadi

+1

223,234

0.05% +0.05%

Sikkim Democratic Front

159,351

0.04%

Independents

+4

21,646,845

5.19% +0.94%

Total

364 Political Parties

543

417,156,494

Notes * Gave unconditional external support to the UPA-led government after the election Note: Seat change for an alliance and popular vote swing is calculated as the sum of the individual seat changes and vote % respectively for its constituent parties as given here. Note: Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) joined the NDA after voting took place in Andhra Pradesh, but before the votes were counted and results were in. Due to this change, some list TRS under their former alliance, the Third Front, rather than NDA, under pre-poll alliances.

Local governance

Main article: Panchayati Raj On April 24, 1993, the Constitutional (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 came into force to provide constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj institutions. This Act was extended to Panchayats in the tribal areas of eight States, namely Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Rajasthan from 24 December 1996. The Act aims to provide 3-tier system of Panchayati Raj for all States having population of over 2 million, to hold Panchayat elections regularly every 5 years, to provide reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Women, to appoint State Finance Commission to make recommendations as regards the financial powers of the Panchayats and to constitute District Planning Committee to prepare draft development plan for the district.

Role of political parties


For other political parties see List of political parties in India. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in India. As with any other democracy, political parties represent different sections among the Indian society and regions, and their core values play a major role in the politics of India. Both the executive branch and the legislative branch of the government are run by the representatives of the political parties who have been elected through the elections. Through the electoral process, the people of India choose which representative and which political party should run the government. Through the elections any party may gain simple majority in the lower house. Coalitions are formed by the political parties, in case no single party gains a simple majority in the lower house. Unless a party or a coalition have a majority in the lower house, a government cannot be formed by that party or the coalition.

Indian state governments led by various political parties as of March 2009.

India has a multi-party system, where there are a number of national as well as regional parties. A regional party may gain a majority and rule a particular state. If a party represents more than 4 states then such parties are considered as national parties. In the 64 years since India's independence, India has been ruled by the Indian National Congress (INC) for 51 of those years. The party enjoyed a parliamentary majority barring two brief periods during the 1970s and late 1980s. This rule was interrupted between 1977 to 1980, when the Janata Party coalition won the election owing to public discontent with the controversial state of emergency declared by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The Janata Dal won elections in 1989, but its government managed to hold on to power for only two years. Between 1996 and 1998, there was a period of political flux with the government being formed first by the right-wing nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) followed by a left-leaning United Front coalition. In 1998, the BJP formed the National Democratic Alliance with smaller regional parties, and became the first non-INC and coalition government to complete a full five-year term. The 2004 Indian elections saw the INC winning the largest number of seats to form a government leading the United Progressive Alliance, and supported by left-parties and those opposed to the BJP. On 22 May 2004, Manmohan Singh was appointed the Prime Minister of India following the victory of the INC & the left front in the 2004 Lok Sabha election. The UPA now rules India without the support of the left front. Previously, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had taken office in October 1999 after a general election in which a BJP-led coalition of 13 parties called the National Democratic Alliance emerged with a majority. Formation of coalition governments reflects the transition in Indian politics away from the national parties toward smaller, more narrowly based regional parties. Some regional parties, especially in South India, are deeply aligned to the ideologies of the region unlike the national parties and thus the relationship between the central government and the state government in various states has not always been free of rancor. Disparity between the ideologies of the political parties ruling the centre and the state leads to severely skewed allocation of resources between the states.

Political issues
Main article: Socio-economic issues in India See also: Corruption in India

Social issues
The lack of homogeneity in the Indian population causes division between different sections of the people based on religion, region, language, caste and race. This has led to the rise of political parties with agendas catering to one or a mix of these groups. Some parties openly profess their focus on a particular group; for example, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's focus on the

Dravidian population, and the Shiv Sena's pro-Marathi agenda. Some other parties claim to be universal in nature, but tend to draw support from particular sections of the population. For example, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (translated as National People's Party) has a vote bank among the Yadav and Muslim population of Bihar and the All India Trinamool Congress does not have any significant support outside West Bengal. The Bharatiya Janata Party, the party with the second largest number of MPs in the 15th Lok Sabha, has an image of being pro-Hindu. Such support from particular sections of the population affects the agenda and policies of such parties, and call into question their claims of being universal representatives. The Congress may be viewed as the most secular party with a national agenda; however, it also practices votebank politics to gain the support of minorities, especially Muslims, through appeasement and pseudo-secularist strategies. Many political parties are involved in caste-, religion- or language-based politics, which effects India's growth and progress. The narrow focus and votebank politics of most parties, even in the central government and central legislature, sidelines national issues such as economic welfare and national security. Moreover, internal security is also threatened as incidences of political parties instigating and leading violence between two opposing groups of people is a frequent occurrence.

Economic issues
Economic issues like poverty, unemployment, development are main issues that influence politics. Garibi hatao (eradicate poverty) has been a slogan of the Indian National Congress for a long time. The well known Bharatiya Janata Party encourages a free market economy. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) vehemently supports left-wing politics like land-for-all, right to work and strongly opposes neo-liberal policies such as globalization, capitalism and privatization. As a noteworthy case, the manifesto of the Samajwadi Party, the third largest party in the 15th Lok Sabha, for the 2009 general elections promised to reduce the use of computers upon being elected.

Law and order


Terrorism, Naxalism, religious violence and caste-related violence are important issues that affect the political environment of the Indian nation. Stringent anti-terror legislation such as TADA, POTA and MCOCA have received much political attention, both in favour and opposed. Law and order issues such as action against organized crime are not issues that affect the outcomes of elections. On the other hand, there is a criminalpolitician nexus. Many elected legislators have criminal cases against them. In July 2008, the Washington Times reported that nearly a fourth of the 540 Indian Parliament members faced criminal charges, "including human trafficking, immigration rackets, embezzlement, rape and even murder".[7]