The world’s largest democracy is busy electing it’s representatives to the parliament as Elections 2009 in India is on its way. The Indian political system has evolved from few to many parties with each of them having some controlling stake in the democratic system. In last 20 years (8 general elections) the country has seen state-level political parties grow from 27 to 265 – a 10 fold growth. The number of national parties have however stayed around 7 throughout this period.
Interestingly, the number of parties that had at least 10% of the votes polled in seats they contested has grown from 25 to 44 – a 76% growth in 20 years. The number of parties which one at least one seat has grown from 17 to 37 – a growth of 117.6%. Therefore, while the number of contesting state parties has grown abnormally, the actual competition (reflected by a minimum of 10% vote-share) may not have grown in same proportions. The growth however is high enough to change the power equations of government formation.