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Political Science Class 12 Notes Chapter 11 Era of One-Party Dominance

Challenge of Building Democracy

  • The Election Commission of India was set-up in January 1950. Sukumar Sen was the first Chief Election Commissioner.
  • India’s vast size and low literacy rate etc were some of challenges to hold general elections in 1952. Despite these challenges the election was held successfully in 1952.

Changing Methods of Voting

  • In the first general election it was decided to place inside each polling booth a box for each candidate with the election symbol of that candidate.
  • By 2004 the entire country had shifted to the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

First Three General Elections

  • The Congress dominated in the first three general elections. It had many popular faces like Jawaharlal Nehru, C Rajagopalachari, Vallabhbhai Patel etc. Moreover Jawaharlal Nehru was charismatic and a very popular leader.
  • Congress worked at upper level as well as at grass root level. Congress was popularised due to the participation in Civil Disobedience Movement.
  • In Kerala, in 1957 the Communist Party came to power in the world for the first time through democratic elections.
  • This was the first state where Non-Congress Government was formed after independence.

Nature of Congress Dominance

  • The dominance of Congress party was in democratic condition. The roots of extraordinary success of the Congress party go back to the legacy of the freedom struggle.
  • The Congress brought together diverse groups, whose interests were often contradictory.
  • 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.
  • This coalition-like character of Congress gave it an unusual strength.

Tolerance and Management of Factions

  • Groups within party with diverse ideologies are called factions. Some of these factions were based on ideological considerations but very often these factions were rooted in personal ambitions and rivalries.
  • The coalition nature of the Congress party tolerated and in fact encouraged various factions.

Emergence of Opposition Parties

  • The roots of almost all the Non-Congress parties of today can be traced to one or the other of the opposition parties of the 1950s.
  • These opposition parties offered a sustained and often principled criticism of the policies and practices of the Congress party.
  • This kept the ruling party under check and often changed the balance of power within the Congress.

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 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.

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.

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.


1. After independence, our leaders became conscious of critical role of politics in a democracy as they wanted to run politics as a method to sort out problems as well as to decide and pursue the public interest.

2. Consequently, the Election Commission of India came into existence in January 1950, Sukumar Sen became first Chief Election Commissioner of India to hold elections in the country. This commission required the drawing of the boundaries of electoral constituencies, electoral roll consisting eligible voters to hold free and fair elections.

3. The first general election of India became a landmark due to its competitiveness, encouraging
participation, fair results and proved its critics wrong not to hold elections in conditions of poverty. . –

4. In the 1952 election Congress party scored a big victory but it was not in power in the states like Travancore—Cochin i.e. Kerala, Madras and Orissa. Congress dominated in India due to identification with freedom struggle, popular appeal of charismatic leaders, a broad manifesto including every section of society and consensus building role of party.

5. Congress was founded by Dr. A.O. Hume in 1885 as a view to express the feelings of discontentment changed to a political party in the form of social and ideological coalition by accommodating different social groups and individuals holding different beliefs and ideologies. Even in pre-independence days, many organisation and parties with their own constitutions and organisational structures were allowed to exist within the Congress.

6. Factions are the groups formed inside the party. The coalition nature of the Congress Party encouraged various factions which were based on either ideological considerations or personal ambitions or rivalries.

7. Before the first General Election of 1952, some of the vibrant and opposite parties came into existence which gained as a token of representation only to maintain democratic character. These parties kept ruling party under check, prevented resentment, groomed leaders, alongwith a mutual respect and among Congress leaders as well as opposition parties leaders.

8. The origin of the socialist party can be traced back to the mass movement stage of the Indian National Congress which was formed in 1934 by Acharya Narendra Dev and later on, it was separated to form socialist party in 1948 with ideology of democratic socialism and criticised capitalism.
9. In the early 1920s communist groups emerged in different parts of India having a belief of communism. The Communist Party of India was primarily secular, modem and authoritarian.

10. The Bharatiya Jana Sangh wTas formed in 1951 by Shyama Prasad Mukherjee with the ideology of one country, one culture and one nation and called for a reunion of India and Pakistan in Akhand Bharat.

11. Swatantra Party was formed in August 1959 after the Nagpur Resolution of the Congress which called for land ceilings. It’s important leaders were C. Rajgopalachari, K.M. Munshi, N.G. Ranga, and Minoo Masani. Its ideology emphasised on the free economy and less involvement of government in controlling the economy and advocated closer relations with the USA.


  1. Electronic Voting Machine (EVM): It is a voting machine to record voters’ performances on electric device, used through election processes.
  2. First Past the Post System: This is the simple majority system in which the candidate gets the maximum amount of votes is declared as elected.
  3. Ideological Oriented Party: It is the party in which policies and decisions are formulated under ideological considerations.
  4. Interest-Oriented Party: This party protects particular interests and promotes the same also i.e. caste, community, region, tribes etc.
  5. Charismatic Leader Oriented Party: It is the party in which leader holds a very strong position and is the nucleus of the party.

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