Did the prevalence of a ‘one party dominant system’ affect adversely the democratic nature of Indian politics?

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Whether the prevalence of one-party dominant system affected the democratic nature of Indian polity remains a highly debatable issue and can be widely contested.

a. Though the critics argue that the dominant position of the Congress did not allow any other political party to flourish, it rather contributed in a weak opposition that could not challenge its dominant position.

b. It is also argued that the kind of party system that developed in India during the years of Congress’ dominance was mutually incompatible with democratic ideals and traditions. However, we may question the above arguments on the following grounds and would rather argue that the prevalence of one party strengthened the democratic nature of Indian polity.

i. The Congress was seen synonymous with the nation; it was like a movement that instilled a great amount of faith in people.

ii. India established a multi-party system after independence, allowing for free and fair participation of all political parties to contest in elections and to offer choice to the people. It was the absence of a weak political alternative or weak opposition that contributed in Congress’ position.

iii. The Congress party was never accused of encouraging malpractices or having involved in rigged elections so as to retain its position.

iv. The party represented a vast ideological and social spectrum that reflected the country. The representative and accommodative nature of the party made it highly democratic as it represented the people of the country; it mirrored the nation.

v. The party comprised various factions with different ideological positions that pressurised, criticised, censured and influenced the Congress in its decision making.

vi. The Congress emerged as a party of consensus and pressure.

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