[Marxism] Details about Indian Parliamentary system

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sun Oct 14 16:16:29 MDT 2007

(Thanks to Marla for this information on the Indian parliamentary
system. I'd written and she responded offlist, but this will be
of interest to everyone following this very important subject.)d

From: Marla Vijaya kumar <marlavk at yahoo.com>
Sent: Oct 14, 2007 1:07 PM
To: walterlx at earthlink.net
Subject: Details about Indian Parliamentary system


There is some information on the subject, as you desired. I suspect,
the numbers I cited may not be very acuurate, but will do the job.

In the Indian parliament now, no single political party wields a
majority (a representation above 50% out of 542 seats).

In the general elections held in 2004, the Ruling United Progressive
alliance could gather only about 230 members belonging the Indian
National Congress Party (about 128 members) and other smaller parties
opposed to the BJP together adding up the number to 230 or so. The
UPA is short of a majority in the house and needed the support of
Communists (all the 4 Communist Parties together have a strength of
61 members). 

The right-wing BJP has notched up about 180 seats along
with its allies under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). There
is still a possibility that it could attract some of the smaller
centrist parties to gather the required numbers and challenge the
present UPA government. There are about 70 members belonging to
various regional parties, who are neither willing to support the
Congress nor the BJP. At least 50 members of that group (they call
their group UNPA) would like to sail with the Left. By any stretch of
imagination, we can not suspect them of harboring any leftist views,
except that they are in principle opposed to the Hindu extremism
espoused by BJP. This might be due to the electoral compulsions of
retaining a sizeable Muslim votes, which they hold.

To keep BJP out of power, the communists had agreed to extend outside
support to the UPA and helped them form a government. The support is
conditional, because the UPA had penned a pro-poor mutually agreed
Common Minimum Program (CMP) and the support will last as long as the
ruling alliance sticks to the CMP. The ruling UPA is supposed to
consult and take the consent of the Communists on all major policy

This had not happened in the case of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal.

There is no question of the Indian Communists toeing the line of the
ruling Congress Party as they had stayed out of power so as to exert
pressure on the government not to deviate from the CMP. This has
given them good leverage to put up a fight against all the anti-poor,
pro-rich moves of the Congress-led government. They were also able to
occupy the opposition space and wedge out the BJP from the center of
political battles on many important issues.

Walter, I hope this will give you a fair idea of the Indian political

Please visit the sites referred below to get a better idea of the Indian political structure:
The Indian parliament (LOK SABHA)
The Indian Ploitical Sysyem

Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
writer - photographer - activist

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