Politics of India India is the largest democracy in the world. India has the biggest number of people with franchise rights and the largest number of political parties, which take part in election campaign. In the 1996 national elections, almost 600 million people voted and an average of 26 candidates competed for each of the 543 territorial constituency seats. Elections are held at different levels. The two major election levels are at national level, after which the national government is established and at state level after which the state government is established.
Elections are also held for city, town and village councils. There are different political issues in Indian politics. Some are national level and some regional level. Some communities just demand more economical and social rights for their communities. While others demand more autonomy for their cultures within the Indian states. Some demanded autonomous states within the Indian Union, while the others demanded to be independent from India. With all its problems India survives as a single state with democratic character. But a number of political problems still exist and remain unsolved in India.
Political administration of India India is a democracy. Before its independence its future leaders chose the liberal democratic system as the administration system of India. On 26/01/1950, India declared itself as Republic. On this day the Constitution of India came into force. Today India is a federation of 28 states and 7 union territories and formally this federation is known as a Union. Nominally the head of the country is the President in whom all executive powers are vested, but the real administrator of the country is the Prime Minister.
After the national elections are held the President calls the most suitable candidate to form a government, known as the central government. Normally this candidate is the head of the largest party in the parliament. In case the government resigns because of any reason, the President can call the other candidate to form the government. The President can also declare, according to government advice, on new elections and if necessary an emergency state. The President has the right to be updated about crucial government matters and other rights like giving amnesty to prisoners etc.
According to the Constitution, elections are to be held once in every five years, unless the parliament dissolves earlier or on the other hand, emergency is declared and in such a case parliament can continue another year. The Indian Parliament consists of two houses. The Lower House called the Lok Sabha and the Upper House called the Rajya Sabha. In the national elections candidates are chosen for the Lower House. The candidates are elected in territorial constituencies. There are 543 territorial constituencies. Two members from the Anglo-Indian community are nominated to the Lower House by the President.
The law, which obliges Government office to reserve 15% from the Scheduled Castes and 7% from the Scheduled Tribes, also exists in the Parliament. At least 22% of the Indian Parliament members belong to these two communities (see Caste system in modern India). In the past few years there is an attempt to oblige a law to allow about 33% women as Parliament members. The Upper House, Rajya Sabha, consists of up to 250 members. Of these members 230 are elected by state legislatures and about 15 are nominated by the President. Unlike the Lower House, the Upper House cannot be dissolved, but one third of its members resign every two years.
Most of the parliamentary activities, passing laws, no-confidence votes, budget bills, take place in the Lower House. The Upper House together with the Lower House amends the Constitution. These two Houses together with the state legislatures also elect the President. The states have their own legislatures. Some states have two Houses and some only one House. The Lower House where most of the legislature activities happen is called the Vidhan Sabha. The state elections are held every five years unless the state government is dissolved earlier. In these elections members for the Lower House are elected.
Head of a state is called Chief Minister, who is member of the Lower House. Constitutionally the figurehead of the state is the Governor, who is appointed by the President according to the advice of the national government. After the state elections the governor calls for the suitable candidate to form the government. In general the governor has more legislative rights at state level than the President has at national level. The governor can call on early elections in the state, or fire the government if he thinks that the government has failed or is unstable.
In the federal relations between the state and central government, the central government has more authority on state matters than the state government. For example the central government has the right to redistribute the state borders without consulting the state governments on this matter. If the political conditions in any state are not stable, the national government can call on the President to declare President’s rule in that specific state. And so the government in that state is dissolved, which means an emergency rule is declared and sometimes if necessary the army is put to work in that state.
Even though the Constitution determinates the rights of the different authorities in the administration process, there can be other pressures like strong lobbies or strong political parties, which, sometimes determinate the real administration process. Sometimes the authority implemented by the President is questioned by the government or by political parties as deviation from his constitutional rights as the nominal head of the Union. Political parties in India The Indian political parties are categorized into two main types. National level parties and state level parties.
National parties are political parties which, participate in different elections all over India. For example, Indian National Congress, Bhartiya Janata Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and some other parties. State parties or regional parties are political parties which, participate in different elections but only within one state. For example Shiv Sena participates only in Maharashtra, Telegu Desam in Andra Pradesh, Akali Dal in Punjab, Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK) in Tamil Nadu and there are other such state parties.
There are some small communist parties who participate only within one state. Some states have more than one state party. For example in Tamil Nadu another important state party is All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (AIADMK). Because of these long party names many party names are abbreviated to their initials. Some the political parties have their origin from before India’s independence, for example, Indian National Congress, Forward Bloc, Akali Dal, National Conference and some other parties.
Some of these parties were either social or political organization before India’s independence and they became political parties after India’s independence. But many of the present parties were established after India’s independence. Members, who split from larger parties, established some of these parties. For example in the 1960s, Lok Dal was established by people who split from the Indian National Congress. Communist Party of India (Marxist) was established after the split in Communist Party of India and there are other such examples. In Indian politics, there are political parties in which one person pulls all the strings.
This feature existed even before India’s independence, when Mahatma Gandhi was the father figure of the Indian National Congress until his death in 1948 even though he resigned from the Congress in 1933. Indira Gandhi for some period was in complete control of her party. Her party was also named, Congress (Indira). Shiv Sena is dominated by Bal Thakarey. Even when the Shiv Sena won the state elections in Maharashtra, Bal Thakarey handled the establishment of the state government but did not appoint himself as the Chief Minister but appointed someone else for this post.
Some of these parties, like the Shiv Sena in which one person pulls all the strings, have their stronghold in the public not because of their leader but because of party ideology. While other parties are completely dependable on the respect the leader of the party has in the public. One such party is Samata Party and its leader is George Fernandes. Another such party was Lok Shakti and its leader was Ramakrishna Hegde. Many of the large national parties have a pre-election agreement with smaller parties on joint candidates in some constituencies.
This candidate belongs to one of the parties and the other party supports this candidate. This is done to prevent a possibility of parties, with common national agenda or common state agenda, nominate their own different candidates causing the splitting of the votes of their wing and so losing the constituency to the rival wing. In Indian politics there are also many independent candidates. These candidates participate in election constituencies independently without the support of any party. In very few cases the larger parties also support independent candidates.
Another feature unique to Indian politics is the high number of film actors who join the Indian politics. The Indian cinema produces films in different languages. The largest and the most popular film industry is the Hindi language film industry. Many national parties recruit Hindi movie actors in their parties. While many state parties with state chauvinism attract local film industry actors in their parties. These actors do not only appear along side with the party politicians to attract the mob towards the politicians gatherings, but they even participate as candidates in elections.
Some of the state parties in south India were established by former movie actors. National Parties National parties are political parties which participate in different elections held all over India. Some of the national parties have their origin even before India’s independence. The oldest national party in India is the Indian National Congress (INC). In was established in 1885 as a pro-British Indian organization. Later on it became the main voice of India’s freedom struggle. After India’s independence, the British passed the administration of India to the leaders of the Indian National Congress.
Until 1966 the Congress was a stable party. In 1966 Indira Gandhi became the leader of the Congress and Prime Minister of India. From this period the Congress lost its stability. Some of the veteran members of the Congress did not accept her leadership and they tried to dispose her. In 1969 the Congress split and her opponents established a new Congress part. But still INC was the largest and ruling party of India. Indira Gandhi’s Congress lost the 1977 elections to the Janata Party. A few months after the defeat, another split happened in the Congress party.
The party of Indira Gandhi was called Congress ( I ), the initial denoting of her name. During this period many more splits and coalitions occurred within the different Congress parties. Some of these new party members including its founders returned later on to the Congress ( I ) party and the party was renamed Indian National Congress. But there are others who left the INC at different periods and established parties outside the fold of Congress and have a name Congress in their party name. Before the 1999 elections some senior members of the INC were forced to resign because they questioned the leadership of Sonia Gandhi.
These people have created the National Congress Party to participate in 1999 elections. The INC is in the Indian political arena prior to India’s independence. There were other parties, which were established after independence, and, for some period, were challenging the continuous rule of the Congress, some of them were almost vanished from the political arena. The first political party which, was seen as challenging the Congress continuous rule was Swatantra Party. It was established in 1959 and was supported by some big businessmen.
It opposed the socialism policy of the Congress It had members in the Lok Sabha until 1977. Another party, which challenged the Congress party but later on almost vanished from the political arena, was Janata Party. Janata Party was the first political party in India to establish a non-Congress government when it won the 1977 elections. Janata Party was established before the 1977 elections. The person responsible for the formation of Janata Party was Jayaprakash Narayan, called in short JP. JP was a freedom fighter and a social activist. Many in India respected him and saw in him a moral figure.
In the early 1970s the reign of Indira Gandhi began to show signs of corruption and dictatorship and there was a general feeling that liberal democracy is coming to an end. JP openly attacked Indira Gandhi’s policy and asked other leaders to express their views about the dangers. Between 1975-77 emergency rule was declared. During this period many of Gandhi’s political rivals were arrested and put behind the bars. Censorship was enforced on Indian press. The justice system was restricted and turned into ‘puppet show’ of the government. The people also suffered a lot from this emergency rule.
Under the birth control policy many people were forced to have sterilization. Even so Indira Gandhi was sure that the Indian people would support her because her general intention was to make India a better place and so she declared elections in 1977. To prevent her victory different political parties organized as one party. This party was called Janata Party. The main factions of this party were, Congress (O), Lok Dal, Jan Sangh, and other parties. This party won the 1977 elections and Morarji Desai became the Prime Minister of India. But this party as it was formed did not survive for a long time.
This party which was actually a group of factions with one desire to defeat Indira Gandhi, did not find any thing common among its members after they defeated Gandhi. As long as JP was alive, the different factions still stayed together. But after his death in 1978 a clear split occurred in the Janata Party between Morarji Desai’s supporters and Charan Singh’s supporters. In 1979 Morarji Desai resigned as Prime Minister and other members tried to replace Prime Minister. During this period Jagjivan Ram, an untouchable according to strict Hindu society, was very near to become a Prime Minister.
But finally Charan Singh of the Lok Dal faction was proclaimed the new Prime Minister. A few weeks after Charan Singh became the Prime Minister, because of the instability in the coalition, the president declared on new elections. In 1980 new national elections took place in which Indira Gandhi’s Congress again won the elections. Later on after these elections, different factions of the Janata Party broke up from the Janata Party and established their own parties. Among these parties were Jan Sangh which later on was renamed Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). Janata Party continues to survive, but is very small.
In the 1996 elections it did not win any seat in the national elections and in the 1998 elections it won only one seat. Another political party which, was actually a political bloc of different factions and managed to form a government was Janata Dal. This party was established because of the claim that there was corruption in the Congress government. In 1984 Rajiv Gandhi formed the Congress government. The finance minister of his government was VP Singh. VP Singh found out that a Swedish company, Bofors, was bribing some senior members of the Congress. Singh tried to investigate this affair.
Gandhi moved him from the office and made him Defence Minister, but Singh resigned from the government and started a new party called Janata Dal. This party was made up of former Janata Party, Lok Dal and some INC members. In the 1989 elections this party came second after INC but it managed to establish a coalition government with other parties. This coalition was called National Front. This front also broke up after two years. Between 1996 and 2004 the largest party was the Bhartiya Janata Party. The BJP began its political career after India’s independence with only three members in the first elections held in 1952.
The BJP is a Hindu nationalist party, which draws its inspiration from Hinduism. This party sees in India a Hindu state and it emphasizes Hindu pride and Hindu past of India. This party was established after India’s independence, but its origin is also pre-independence. In the 19th century a Hindu nationalist organization, Arya Samaj, was established. The ideas of this organization influenced another Hindu organization established later in British India, the Hindu Mahasabha. Hindu Mahasabha opposed the secular Congress philosophy and wanted to establish a Hindu state in British India.
Another Hindu organization in British India was Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), meaning national volunteers organization. One person who belonged in different stages of his life to these two organizations assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1948. After his assassination these two organizations were outlawed for sometime. The leader of the Hindu Mahasabha, Shyam Mookherji resigned from the party and established with the members of RSS a new Hindu nationalist party, which was named Jana Sangh. This party had moderate ideas than the its former components.
In its first two decades the party’s major holds were in north India’s Hindi speaking regions, because this party supported turning Hindi into the national language of India (see Official Language of India). In 1977 this party was an important faction of the Janata Party. In the 1980s it broke from the Janata Party and changed its name to Bhartiya Jana Sangh. Later on it renamed itself as Bhartiya Janata Party. There are also other national parties, which were established in India. The Bahujan Samaj Party was established in the 1980s. But even though this party is a national party, its represents only the oppressed classes of India.
Samajwadi Party was established in 1992. Two communist parties, Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist party of India- Marxist (CPM) are also national parties. There are some parties who have national agendas but participate only in certain regions of India and not all over India. For example Forward Bloc (see also Subhas Chandra Bose) which participates in elections only in West Bengal and neighboring Bihar. Regional Parties Regional parties are parties whose main holds are in one certain state and mostly they participate in the elections only within that state.
Most of these regional parties have agenda fitting certain culture dominant within that state. Some of these regional parties also participate in neighboring states, which have constituencies with culture similar to the first state. Different state parties were established at different periods because of different reasons. Some even have origins prior to India’s independence. In Tamil Nadu in south India, two main state parties are All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (AIADMK) and Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK). Of these two parties the DMK is the veteran party.
The origins of these parties are prior to India’s independence. The main ideology of this party is Tamil national pride. Before India’s independence there were two Dravidian parties. One was Independent Party, which demand an independent Dravidstan in south India. Other was Justice Party, which had a Dravidian pride ideology. After India’s independence, the Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK) was established from the merger of these two parties in the former state of Madras, in south India. This party first demanded an independent Dravidstan for all of south India.
Later on the demand was changed to independent Tamil state. Finally this party compromised on a Tamil Nadu state within the Indian Union. In the beginning this party was anti-north Indian. They opposed to any entrance of any kind of cultures of north India. They specially attacked the attempt to introduce Hindi language in Tamil Nadu (see also Official languages of India). This party members also saw in the Tamili Brahmans agents of north India who immigrated to south India to enforce to north Indian Aryan culture on the south Indians (see Aryans and Dravidians).
The party demanded to reserve the government jobs for Dravidians and not to ‘immigrant’ Brahmans. In 1972 this party split and a new party was founded by MC Ramachandaran and it was named All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (AIADMK). In 1987 Ramachandaran died and Jayalalita inherited him. In the last few years these Tamilian pride parties have moderated their ideologies and before the 1998 elections the AIADMK even cooperated with BJP, which is considered as a north Indian party. In Andra Pradesh, also in south India, Telegu Desam was founded in 1982 by Telegu film actor, NT Rao.
The ideology of the party is similar to the ideology of the AIADMK, which is local cultural pride. In the Telugu Desam case, the local cultural pride is of Telugu culture. Another one state party is Akali Dal and its main hold is in Punjab, north India. This party is considered a state party, but actually it is a religion oriented party whose followers are the Sikhs. This party also has its origin prior to India’s independence. Before independence this party demanded from the British a separate entity for the Sikhs in Punjab. During the independence period these demands were delayed for a while.
After independence this party began demanding special status for the Sikh culture and the Punjabi language. They struggled for a Punjabi state with a Sikh majority within the Indian Union and recognition of Punjabi as a distinct language. They succeeded in forming the establishment of Punjab in 1966, but it had a very small majority of the Sikhs (see Internal map of India). But they also succeeded in obtaining the recognition of Punjabi as a distinct language and not as a dialect of Hindi (see Official languages of India). Later on the Akali Dal broke up into some factions.
Some of the militant factions of the Akali Dal demanded an independent Sikh state to be called Khalistan. But the dominant Akali Dal faction in Punjab wants Punjab to be a part of Indian Union. In Assam in east India and in Maharashtra in west India there are political parties which came into existence because of the discriminatory feelings of the local ‘sons of soil’ population. In British India, Assam was a British province. For some period the British attached Assam to the neighboring Bengal province. During this period the Bengalis held many senior government posts.
Later on Assam again became a separate province, but the government posts were still hold by the Bengalis. In the 1960s and the 1970s many Bengali oriented people immigrated to Assam. In the 1980s the Asom Gana Parishad was founded with an agenda to give back Assam to the Assamese people. In Maharashtra, in west India, the local population is known as Maharashtrians. Their language is known as Marathi. Sometimes the Maharashtrians are also known as Marathi. The capital of Maharashtra is Mumbai, formerly Bombay. During the British rule, the city of Bombay was the capital of Bombay State.
The Bombay State included in it regions of present day Maharashtra and present day Gujarat. The main language of Gujarat is Gujarati. The Gujaratis are the business communities of India. The city of Bombay was the business center of India. Many business communities from Gujarat settled in Bombay and were the important business community of Bombay. But the majority of the population of Bombay was Marathi and they were the working classes of the city. Many Indians from all around India also immigrated to Bombay to find a better future. This made Bombay the largest Indian cosmopolitan.
In 1960 Bombay State was divided into Maharashtra and Gujarat. Bombay the cultural capital of the Marathis and the Gujaratis was made capital of Maharashtra. After Maharashtra was established, a general feeling among many Marathis, was that Bombay is ruled and governed by ‘foreigners’. Their main targets were not the Gujarati business communities, but immigrants who arrived from all over India and settled in Bombay. So these people established the Shiv Sena party. This party which began as a protest movement of the Marathis in Bombay, slowly became popular all around Maharashtra.
This party ideology was spiced with Hindu-Marathi nationalist pride. Its rivals consider this party as a fanatic and anti-Muslim party. According to the party policy, many places in Maharashtra were renamed with Marathi oriented names. For example Bombay was renamed back to its original name Mumbai (see Changing names of Indian places). There are other state parties in India. To name a few there are, National Conference in Kashmir, Haryana Vikas Party in Haryana, Manipur People’s Party in Manipur, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak in Goa, Sikkim
Democratic Front in Sikkim, Mizo National Front in Mizoram, and many other parties. People who broke away from larger national parties, like the Congress founded some state parties. For example the West Bengal Trinamul Congress, Tamil Manila Congress, Kerala Congress. There are also communist state parties. Congress parties The oldest national party in India is the Indian National Congress (INC). In was established in 1885 as a pro-British Indian organization. The real purpose of the British in establishing this organization was to continue to rule India with the help of liberal and pro-British Indians.
Later on this organization became the main voice of India’s freedom struggle (see creating the Indian identity). Among its founders were Surendranath Benarjee, Dadabhai Naoroji and Justice M. G. Ranade. Before founding of the Congress, Justice M. G. Ranade had established an organization based on the ideas of the ‘Brahmo Samaj’ with the aim of social and religious reforms in India. One of Ranade’s disciple, G. K. Gokhale, became the leader of Indian National Congress till 1915. Gokhale was considered by Mahatma Gandhi as his political guru. Mahatma Gandhi, more than any other Indian, is identified with modern India’s creation.
After India’s independence, the British passed the administration of India to the leaders of the Indian National Congress. Mahatma Gandhi who was the father figure of the Congress party, suggested to transform the Indian National Congress into a charity organization, because the main cause of the Congress party was achieved. But the other leaders of the Congress did not accept his proposal and the Indian National Congress became a political party with a secular, socialist and democratic tendency. During its independence, two Congress leaders Jawarharlal Nehru and Vallabbhai Patel wanted to be the first Prime Minister of India.
Nehru, who was younger, was secular and socialist oriented, while Patel was more Hindu nationalist oriented. Mahatma Gandhi wanted the young Jawarharlal Nehru to be India’s first Prime Minister and therefore Patel withdrew his candidacy. Before independence the Congress was a roof organization and it included many factions. After independence the Congress leaders changed the structure of the party and established a new political agenda. The different factions in the Congress could either join the new agenda or leave the Congress. Some left the Congress and established other political parties outside the Congress.
And so some new political parties were established among them the Socialist Party of India and Forward Bloc (see Subhas Chandra Bose). Until 1950 the Congress was under the influence of these two leaders. After Patel’s death in 1950, Congress came under full influence of Jawarharlal Nehru. Nehru died in 1964, without appointing an heir. The party chose Lal Bahadur Shastri as the new leader. In 1966 Shastri arrived in Tashkent, in former Soviet Union to sign a cease-fire agreement with Pakistan. Shastri died in his sleep in Tashkent. After Shastri’s death, some Congress leaders competed for the leadership of the party.
Surprisingly the inter party election was won by the less favorite candidate, Indira Gandhi. Indira Gandhi was Jawarharlal Nehru’s daughter (and had no family relations with Mahatma Gandhi). Some of the veteran members of the Congress did not accept her leadership and they tried to dispose her of. In 1969 the Congress split up into two parties. The veteran members of the Congress established the Congress (O) party, while Indian National Congress was recognized as Congress (R). Of these two parties the INC was the larger and dominant party. The Congress (O) was no threat to Indira Gandhi’s Congress.
Indira Gandhi was a very centralist leader. She pulled all the strings in the party and was seen as the dictator of her party. She planned to inherit her party to her younger son, Sanjay Gandhi. Between the years 1975-77 Indira Gandhi proclaimed emergency rule. During this period many of Gandhi’s political rivals were arrested and put behind the bars. Censorship was enforced on Indian press. The justice system was restricted and turned into ‘puppet show’ of the government. The people also suffered a lot from this emergency rule. Under the birth control policy many people were forced to have sterilization.
Even so Indira Gandhi was sure that the Indian people supported her because her general intention of making India a better place and so she declared elections in 1977. Her party lost the 1977 elections to the Janata Party. A few months after the Congress defeat in the elections, another split occured in the Congress party. The party of Indira Gandhi was called Congress ( I ), because of the initial of her name. During this period many more splits and coalitions occurred within the different Congress parties. One such party of the Congress during this period was established by former Congress member Sharad Pawar.
He even established a government in the state of Maharashtra with this party which later on was known as Congress (S). Another party was established in Uttar Pradesh. Some of these new party members including it establishers like Sharad Pawar returned later on to the Congress ( I ) party and the party was renamed Indian National Congress. But there are others who left the INC at different periods and established parties outside the Congress and have a name Congress in their party name. For example West Bengal Trinamool Congress was established by Mumta Benarjee in West Bengal before the 1998 elections.
Tamil Maanila Congress was established by Moopanar in Tamil Nadu. And there are more other such parties. There were some Congress members who resigned from the Congress and established parties without having the name Congress in their party name. For example Lok Dal which, was established in the 1960s by Charan Singh and Janata Dal which was established by VP Singh after resigning from the INC in the late 1980s. Before the 1999 elections some senior members of the INC were forced to resign because they questioned the leadership of Sonia Gandhi. These people have created the National Congress Party to participate in 1999 elections.
Sonia Gandhi who led the INC in the 1999 elections is the widow of Rajiv Gandhi, the elder son of Indira Gandhi. She was born in Italy to a European Christian family. She met Rajiv Gandhi in England and married him. Indira Gandhi intended to inherit her party to her younger son Sanjay. But Sanjay died in a plane crash in 1980. So Indira Gandhi forced her elder son, who had no interest in politics, to resign from his job as a pilot and join politics. In 1984, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards (see Indian nationalism and Gandhi murders).
Rajiv Gandhi was proclaimed her heir. He was Prime Minister of India until 1989. In the 1991 election campaign a suicide bomber assassinated him. The Congress appointed Narsimha Rao as its new leader. After losing the 1996 elections Rao resigned. For sometime Sitaram Kesari was the leader, but many Congress members saw in Sonia Gandhi as the new leader and gave her lot of respect. They thought that the Congress needs a ‘Gandhi’ as its leader to attract votes. In the 1999 elections Sonia Gandhi led the INC party, but it did not win the elections.
In 2004 elections she again led the party and this time INC won the elections. But when offered the Prime Ministership, Sonia Gandhi refused the offer claiming her ‘inner voice’ prevented her from doing so. She remains the party leader and another senior party member, Manmohan Singh, was selected Prime Minister of India. Communist parties in India In the early 19th century a new philosophy in political world emerged and it was Marxism. Many people in India were impressed by Marxist ideas and many communists from around the world arrived in India to teach and preach the communist philosophy.
After the communist revolution, which occurred in Russia in 1917, many in India wished to cause same kind of revolution in India against the British. Under inspiration from Moscow the Communist Party of India (CPI) was established. Like other communist parties in the world, this party’s members also had strong relations with Moscow and its actions were dictated by Moscow. This party did not support the freedom struggle, which was organized by the Indian National Congress and saw it as a struggle organized by rich businessmen.
After India’s independence, many Indian leaders blamed the Communist party as a Russian agent and as a party acting according to orders from Moscow. In 1957 this party won the state elections held in Keralla, in south India, and so gave the world a precedent in which people democratically elected a communist regime. In 1964 the Communist Party of India split into two parties. The new party added the word Marxist to the party name and is called in short, CPM. The CPI, between these two parties was considered as a Russian agent in India until the emergence of Prestroika in Russia. Of these two parties the CPM is the stronger party.
Their main strength was in West Bengal in east India and in Keralla, south India. Along with these two national level communist parties, there are also communist parties who act only within one state. Such parties exist in West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala. There are also some communist oriented violent local organizations who tried to fulfill the communist ideology with violent methods. These groups attacked big landlords, government representatives and government property. These groups are sometimes called Maoist groups or Naxalite groups, because of the place named Naxalbari where first such violent attempt took place.