Chapter 2 Era of One party Dominance Class 12 Political Science Notes

Chapter 2 Era of One party Dominance Revision Notes for Class 12 Political Science that can boost preparation level of the students and recall information with more precision and faster. A student will enjoy the revising process and make themselves capable of retaining more information so they can excel in the exams. NCERT Solutions for Chapter 2 Era of One party Dominance that will ensure that remembering and retaining the syllabus more easy.

Chapter 2 Era of One party Dominance Class 12 Political Science Notes

Chapter 2 Era of One party Dominance Class 12 Political Science Notes


Challenge of building democracy

• After independence, Indian leaders were conscious of the critical role of politics in any democracy. They did not see politics as a problem but they saw it as a way of solving the problems.

• The Constitution was adopted on 26 November 1949 and signed on 24 January 1950 and it came into
effect on 26 January 1950. At that time the country was being ruled by an interim government.

• The Election Commission of India came into existence in January 1950. Sukumar Sen became first the Chief Election Commissioner of India. The country’s first general elections were expected sometime in 1950 itself.

• The Election Commission discovered that it was not going to be easy to hold a free and  fair election in a country of India’s size. This commission required the drawing of the boundaries of electoral constituencies,  electoral roll consisting eligible voters to hold free and fair elections.

• The first general election was also the first big test of democracy in a poor and illiterate country. Till then democracy had existed only in the prosperous countries, mainly in Europe and North America, where nearly everyone was literate.

• The elections had to be postponed twice and finally held from October 1951 to February 1952. But this election is referred to as the 1952 election since most parts of the country voted in January 1952. It took six months for the campaigning, polling and counting to be completed.

• India’s general election of 1952 became a landmark in the history of democracy all over the world.

Congress dominance in the first three general elections

• The results of the first general election did not surprise anyone as the Congress party, as it was popularly known, had inherited the legacy of the national movement. It was the only party then to have an organisation spread all over the country.

• The party won 364 of the 489 seats in the first Lok Sabha followed by The Communist Party of India with only 16 seats.

• The state elections were held with the Lok Sabha elections in which the Congress scored big victory in those elections as well. It won a majority of seats in all the states except Travancore-Cochin (part of today’s Kerala), Madras and Orissa.

• In the second and the third general elections, held in 1957 and 1962 respectively, the Congress maintained the same position in the Lok Sabha by winning three-fourth of the seats.

Communist victory in Kerala

• In the assembly elections held in March 1957, the Communist Party won the largest number of seats in the Kerala legislature. The party won 60 of the 126 seats and had the support of five independents.

• On losing power in the State, the Congress party began a ‘liberation struggle’ against the elected government.

• In 1959 the Congress government at the Centre dismissed the Communist government in Kerala under Article 356 of the Constitution. This decision was first instance of the misuse of constitutional emergency powers.

Nature of Congress Dominance

• India is not the only country to have experienced the dominance of one party. Many other parties around the world are examples of one party dominance. But there is a crucial difference between these and the Indian experience.

• In the rest of the cases, the dominance of one party was ensured by compromising democracy. But in India one party dominated under democratic conditions.

• Many parties contested elections in conditions of free and fair elections and yet the Congress managed to win election after election.

• The roots of this extraordinary success of the Congress Party go back to the legacy of the freedom struggle as Congress was seen as inheritor of the national movement.

• By the time of Independence, the Congress was transformed into a rainbow-like social coalition broadly representing India’s diversity in terms of classes and castes, religions and languages and various interests.

Tolerance and Management of Factions

• The coalition-like character of the Congress gave it an unusual strength. Firstly, a coalition accommodates all those who join it. Therefore, it has to avoid any extreme position and strike a balance on almost all issues.

• Secondly, in a party that has the nature of a coalition, there is a greater tolerance of internal differences and ambitions of various groups and leaders are accommodated.

• Even if a group was not happy with the position of the party or with its share of power, it would remain inside the party and fight the other groups rather than leaving the party and becoming an ‘opposition’. These groups inside the party are called factions.

• The factions took different ideological positions making the Congress appear as a grand centrist party.

• The other parties primarily attempted to influence these factions and thereby indirectly  influenced policy and decision-making from the ‘margins’. Therefore, political competitions took place within the Congress.

Emergence of Opposition Parties

• The roots of almost all the non-Congress parties can be traced to one or the other of the opposition parties of the 1950s.

• These parties offered a sustained and often principled criticism of the policies a practices of the Congress Party. This kept the ruling party under check and often changed the balance of power within the Congress.

• In the early years there was lots of mutual respect between the leaders of the Congress and those of the opposition. Thus, this first phase of democratic politics in India was quite unique.

• As the ability of the Congress to accommodate all interests and all aspirants for political power steadily declined, other political parties started gaining greater importance. Thus, Congress dominance constitutes only one phase in the politics of the country.

Socialist Party

• The Congress Socialist Party (CSP) was formed within the Congress in 1934 by a group of young leaders who wanted a more radical and egalitarian Congress.

• In 1948, the Congress amended its Constitution to prevent its members from having a dual party membership. This forced the socialists to form a separate socialist party in 1948.

• They criticised the Congress for favouring capitalists and landlords and for ignoring the workers and peasants.

• The Socialist Party went through many splits and reunions leading to the formation of many socialist parties which included the Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party, the Praja Socialist Party and Samyukta Socialist Party.

The Communist Party of India (CPI)

• In the early 1920s communist groups emerged in different parts of India taking inspiration from the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.

• In 1951 the communist party abandoned the path of violent revolution and decided to participate in the approaching general elections.

• AK Gopalan, SA Dange, EMS Namboodripad; PC Joshi, Ajay Ghosh and P Sundarraya were among the notable leaders of the CPI.

• The Party went through a major split in 1964 following the ideological rift between Soviet Union and China. The pro-Soviet faction remained as the CPI, while the opponents formed the CPI(M).

Bhartiya Jana Sangh (BJS)

• The Bhartiya Jana Sangh was formed in 1951 with Shyama Prasad Mukherjee as its founder President.

• It emphasised the idea of one country, one culture and one nation and believed that the country could become modem, progressive and strong on the basis of Indian culture and traditions.

• The Bharatiya Janata Party traces its roots to the Bharatiya Jana Sangh.

Swatantra Party

• Swatantra party was formed in August in 1959. The party was led by old Congressmen like C. Rajgopalachari, KM Munshi, NG Ranga and Minoo Masani.

• The party was critical of the development strategy of state intervention in the economy, centralised planning, nationalisation and the public sector. It instead favoured expansion of a free private sector.
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