A Comparison between British and Indian Political Party Systems

It is a cardinal reality that party system has now become an inseparable a half of the political tradition of any country. But due to the differences in notion, values, outlook, beliefs, culture, celebration system varies from nation to country. Thus, some international locations are dominated by a single party, some others have developed a two-party system, however nonetheless others have developed a multi-party one.

Of course a comparison between India and Britain will make the difficulty crystal clear. India had been under the British rule of practically two centuries and, therefore, it was legitimately expected that they’d have some fundamental similarities in political system and structure.

But, as a matter of reality, their political system has engendered queer dissimilarities in practical politics.

            First, British tradition has taught the politicians the value of tolerance and cooperation. So the Opposition agrees that the Government, as a end result of its majority support, rules the nation and the Government, in its flip, admit that the Opposition has the inherent proper to criticize it.

This inter-play between the Government and the Opposition is the life-blood of the British politics. “If the Opposition continually obstructed and the Government consistently voted it down, the dictatorship of the bulk would soon be established” (Jennings, 88). In this sense, he writes that the Opposition is an essential a part of the political system. Sir William Harcourt had, nevertheless, pointed out that “The operate of the Opposition is to oppose the Government” (p. 78).

But Sir Jennings has aptly proven the folly of such rivalry. According to him, the actual operate of the opposition is to oppose the wrong policy of the Government and to assist its helpful actions.

This is why typically the Prime Minister and the opposition leader meet together and focus on the issues of public importance. They even try to formulate common policy and draft the Bills on the basis of an settlement. In this connection, Sir Jennings observes, “Many proposals of the Government are not opposed, as a end result of there is common agreement” (p. 89).

During two World Wars, two main events sunk their variations and worked collectively through the War-Cabinet. Even through the peace time, they arrive nearer to have the ability to struggle out national disaster. Thus, when in 1931, the Labor Prime Minister, Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, “…intended to resign due to a split in his party, the cupboard was saved by the Conservative Party which joined it in order to avert a constitutional disaster (Majumder, p. 375).

This ‘National Government’ functioned until 1936 with none internal crisis and it clearly indicates that the political tradition of Britain has taught the leaders to unite together throughout any nationwide disaster. Sometimes, the point of view of two completely different political parties was opposite. But the Prime Minister allowed the Conservative Ministers to specific their own view. This is called ‘Agreement to Differ’.

            But political system in India is quite different. The Government hardly listens to the Opposition and the later, in its flip, is never pleasant to it. While the previous depends upon it brute majority, the later is depended upon a policy of obstruction. The discussions in the Parliament, thus, usually turn into a “worse than a primary-school debate” (Sikri, p. 184). The opposition leaders are typically arrested or abused or humiliated in an unseemly method. In fact, politics of power in India has thrown the Government and the opposition to two hostile camps and nothing appears to be unjust in such tussle. For instance, in 1999, the Central Government was ousted by one vote in an unsightly method.

But the events in the opposition which united collectively so as to topple the Cabinet, could not tie up for forming a brand new one. Similarly, the Central Government of every political colour has lavishly used Art 356 of the constitution with a view to dismissing the state governments formed by the opponents. Thus, between 1950 and 1996, such President’s Rule was promulgated 93 instances for political reasons (Source: Lok-Sabha Secretariat, India). In this sense, it can be held that the central weapon has been extra abused than used. In other words, a constitutional, lacuna has typically been exploited by the facility mongers at the Center in order to let the opponents down.

Secondly, the British political system has also satisfied the leaders to provide extra significance to public service than to party curiosity or personal positive aspects. Thus, in 1923, Bonar Law, the Prime Minister, resigned on grounds of health. But in India, the leaders are extra concerned with energy – they’re ready to retain or snatch it by means, foul or truthful.

If they can seize power, they try to stick with it till death or defeat. It is to be remembered that in 1834, Lord Melbourne, the British Prime Minister suffered a setback due to a cut up in his get together. He then asked the King, William IV, whether or not or not he would stay in his office. Acting upon the royal advice, he actually stepped down. But in India, neither a Prime Minister nor a Chief Minister quits his workplace on this method. It too suggests that political system in India is quite totally different.

Thirdly, Britain has a two-party system. However, Ogg admits that, “…besides the Conservative celebration and the Labor Party, there are also the Liberals” (p. 552). But, in fact, the liberals pale out in the course of the nineteen thirties. But, in India is a multi-party system. In 1991, 445 parties registered their names with the Election Commission. True that, initially, the Congress dominated the political scene and, consequently G. Austin held that, “The Congress was India and India was the Congress” (p. 8).

Truly, India had “one-dominant party-system” (Morris-Jones, p. 174). But steadily, various events based mostly on religion, region, localism, language, caste, creed and personal ambition got here up in speedy progress. In reality, the “…diversities of inhabitants have now created a pluralistic society and this mushroom development of political parties has affected Indian unity in an alarming way” (Rout, p. 200).

Fourthly, it is true that on occasions, the British leaders like Robert Peel, J. Chamberlain and W. Churchill defected from their get together. But such defection was motivated by lofty idealism and not by personal ambition and party integrity. But in India, defection has turn out to be a highly profitable enterprise. Between March and April of 1969 as many as 550 legislators crossed the floor and as some of them did it on several events, the number of such defection finally reached to more than one thousand. Some of them even modified their loyalties from times inside a month. So Dr. Kashyap has rightly observed that such “large-scale defection has typically resulted in the ups and downs of the Cabinets” (p. 6).

Sixthly, whereas public involvement in the election in Britain has made it a popular democracy, India is, in this respect, lagging far behind. In Britain, 80-90 % people solid their votes, as a outcome of they know that voting is the basis of indirect democracy. But political system in India is pathetically in any other case. In 1984, the percentage of in style participation in election in India rose to sixty four, however usually it stays below 62 and in 1962, it came right down to 55 percent. Moreover, this percentage relies upon big number of false votes. “While British polls replicate honesty and purity of purpose, elections in India have turn into a pricey furze. Capturing of booths, use of armed criminals and dacoits, manipulation within the voter-list, looting of ballot papers and so on have turn into essential parts of election” (Kapur, p. 425).

Seventhly, India has also failed to accept the idea of impartial speaker-ship which is a crucial facet of British political tradition. “He is, as close to as a human being may be, impartial” (Finer, p. 475). So, as quickly as he takes the chair, he cuts off all relationships with his celebration and acts as the non-partisan chairman of the House of Commons. But, the speakers in India stay party-men and they typically give their rulings of their political pursuits. So, Dr. Dash has rightly remarked, “We have not been capable of reach the usual of aloofness prevailing in this matter in England” (Dash, p. 262).

Last, but not the least, the British political system doesn’t, by any means, admit corruption or turpitude on the part of Ministers or Leaders. Strong public opinion has at all times condemned such affairs and, on occasions, Mr. Profumo and Mr. Parkinson should resign from the Cabinet. But in India, an individual with nearly a dozen criminal expenses may be and remain within the Cabinet. Most unusually, even the individuals of the country do not bother much with such ugly affairs.

Party, Government and the People

In fashionable times, the get together system is a vital a half of political life. However, in the dictatorial system, a particular political party monopolizes all political power, as a end result of it is essentially a one-party rule (Neumann, p. 244).

            But, in a democratic system like India and Britain, the federal government is fashioned by the folks and it’s keyed to public opinion. So, the political events sustain a link between the federal government and the citizens. In fact, they maintain the national life politically (Agarwal, p. 386). Democracy means the rule of the people and as they are guided by the political parties, political life veers across the get together system. “It is the citizens who determines the form of Government and chooses who information and dictate its affairs” (Garner, p. 495)

            But in realistic considerations, folks hardly turn out to be unanimous – there are conflicting ideas and pursuits. “It happens, as within the case of the slavery query in the United States or the Free-trade problem in England, that some paramount points divide the community” (Leacock, p. 313). Different political events mould the opinion of different teams and the elections are actually fought on the basis of such points.

            But ultimately, the bi-party system is far better than the multi celebration system in linking up the government and the individuals. In a multi get together structure, people’s votes are divided among completely different political parties, and thus, typically well-liked opinion is hardly reflected within the formation of the government. Often coalition governments come up with out the popular intention. But in a bi-party system, the folks select either of the 2 parties and, therefore, the election brings out a better coordination between the celebration and the Government.

            From this evaluation, it might maybe be amply clear that no much less than in a democracy, political life is decided by the get together system. Particularly, a bi-party system like that of England creates an in depth link between the people and the government.


Austin, G. The Indian Constitution, World Press, New Delhi, 1978, p. 8

Agarwal, R.G. Political Theory, S. Chandra Books, Allahabad, 1996, p. 386


Dash, S.C. The Constitution of India, Modern Books, Mumbai, 1984, p. 262

Finer, H. Theory and Practice of Modern Government, Royal Press, New Delhi, 1976, p. 475

Garner, J.W. Political Science and Government, World Press, New Delhi, 1991, p. 495

Jennings, I. The Queen’s Government, Pelican Books, London, 1964, p. 88

Jennings, I. ibid, pp. 88-89

Kapur, A.C. The Indian Political System, New Press Hall, New Delhi, 11th ed. p. 425

Kashyap, S.C. Politics of Defection, Old House Publishers, Chennai, 1979, p. 6

Leacock, S. Elements of Political Science, Constable & Co. London, 1939, p. 313

Majumder, B.B. Rise and Development of the English Constitution, Book Land, Calcutta,

1968, p. 375

Morris-Jones, W.H. Government and Politics in India, Prince Town Publications, Calcutta,

1978, p. 172

Ogg, A. English Government and Politics, The MacMillan Company, London, 1929, p. 552

Rout, B.C. Democratic Constitution of India, New Book Hall, New Delhi, 1979, p. 200

Sikri, S.L. Indian Government and Politics, Kalyani Publishers, Ludhiana, 1963, p. 184

The President’s Rule within the States and Union Territories, Lok Sabha Secretariat, Vol. 1,

Issue four, March 1993.

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