Major National Parties
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) founded by Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee is today the most prominent member of the family of organisations 'Sangh Parivar'. BJP is the successor party of the BJS (Bharatiya Jana Sangh), which merged itself into the Janata Party in 1977. The BJP was formed as a separate party in 1980 after internal differences in the Janata Party resulted in the collapse of its government in 1979. Emerged as the single-largest party in the September 1999 Lok Sabha elections. Shri Rajnath Singh is the president of the BJP Party.
The party holds power in the states of Gujarat, Jharkand, Goa, Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Haryana. Popularly viewed as the party of the northern upper caste and trading communities, the BJP has made strong inroads into the lower caste vote bank in recent national and state assembly elections. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is forging ahead because of its excellent organisation, superb leadership and patriotic people's policies.
Indian National Congress
Many groups broke away from the Congress. It is currently the main opposition party at the Center and also has formed the government in a majority of Indian states. Its current leader is Sonia Gandhi, a political new comer and wife of the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. It has firmed up tie-ups with parties in Tamil Nadu (DMK), Maharashtra (NCP), Bihar (RJD), and others in Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) founded by Kanshi Ram, who has remained party leader ever since, is a relatively new entrant in the field of politics. Formed in 1984, BSP aim at taking up the rights of the oppressed sections of Dalit society. Mayawati is the General Secretary of the party. The party is more effective in the northern states of Punjab, Uttar Pardesh, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. BSP joined hands with Samajwadi Party (SP) representing the backward castes to make it a 'bahujan samaj'.
Despite its diminutive size, the party played a pivotal role in the downfall of the Congress government in 1995. BSP is recognised as a national party by the Election Commission but claims only a handful of seats in Parliament. As a party, BSP's weakness lies in its caste's credentials, in its strict adherence to only Dalit causes, which limit its scope of growth.
Communist Party of India
Communist Party of India was founded by a few young patriots inspired by the Great October Socialist Revolution on December 26, 1925 and started functioning legally from 1942 when the ban on the party was lifted. Differs from the CPM in its policy matters the CPI traditionally has strongholds in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura. The party prefers to stick to its ideologies, which is evident from its anti-BJP stand despite shift in relations vis-à-vis other parties.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] was formed in 1964 after a split in the Communist Party of India. The Party is guided by the philosophy and principles of Marxism-Leninism and keeps high the banner of proletarian internationalism. CPI(M) is the revolutionary vanguard of the working class of India. Jyoti Basu has proved himself as the most popular leader of the CPM.
As the leading Left party, CPI(M) is committed to build a Left and democratic front which can present a real alternative to the existing bourgeois-landlord policies. Prakash Karat the general secretary of the party. CPM has stronghold in Kerala, West Bengal, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh and Assam.
Shri Sharad Pawar the present president of the National Congress party, PA Sangma and Tariq Anwar broke away from their own party Indian National Congress and formed The Nationalist Congress party in May 1999. They were expelled from the Congress (I) Party when they questioned the leadership of the party president Sonia Gandhi and her foreign origins. Now NCP has formed an alliance with the Indian National congress after a poor performance in the last parliamentary elections. The party has a strong presence in Maharashtra.