India: Political forces at a glance
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- Country Data and Maps
- Economist Intelligence Unit
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- Politics, Summary, Background, Political forces at a glance
- Political Geography
Political outlook: Political forces at a glance
India's constitution came into effect in 1950, underpinning the country's democratic system of governance. The state is technically secular, giving no preference to any of the manifold religious or social groups. India's democracy is well entrenched and elections for the national and state parliaments have been held for decades. The country's two major political parties are the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the dominant component party of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and the Indian National Congress, which governed the country for decades, often in coalition with smaller regional parties. Regional parties are prominent in many state assemblies, enabling them to wield significant influence on national politics through the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of parliament). The BJP holds a majority in the Lok Sabha (the lower house) and governs with the support of smaller parties in the NDA. The BJP currently falls short of a majority in Rajya Sabha, but we expect it to secure enough seats to attain a majority in this chamber before the end of 2020.
The BJP's ideological approach leans towards Hindu nationalism, mixing social conservatism with a more aggressive foreign and security policy. Its growing dominance of national and state governments has thus challenged India's secular tradition. The party has moved recently to extend its vote base beyond its roots in the urban middle class by adopting more rural-focused policies. Congress has a more centre-left ideological approach to socio-economic issues.
Parliamentary forces, August 2020 (no. of seats in the Lok Sabha a) National Democratic Alliance 354 Bharatiya Janata Party 303 Shiv Sena 18 Janata Dal (United) 15 Lok Jan Shakti Party 6 Apna Dal 2 Shiromani Akali Dal 2 All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) 1 All Jharkhand Students Union 1 Mizo National Front 1 Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party 1 National People's Party 1 Rashtriya Loktantrik Party 1 Sikkim Krantikari Morcha 1 Other 1 United Progressive Alliance 95 Indian National Congress 52 Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 24 National Congress Party 5 Indian Union Muslim League 3 Jammu & Kashmir National Conference 3 Janata Dal (Secular) 1 Jharkhand Mukti Morcha 1 Kerala Congress (M) 1 Revolutionary Socialist Party 1 Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi 1 Others 2 Regional parties, other parties & independents 93 Vacant seats 1 Total b 543 aThe lower house. bIncluding two representatives of Anglo-Indians appointed by the president. Source: Lok Sabha.
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