Top 20 popular political parties in India

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A political party is when a group of people come together to contest elections under a united identity and to exercise their political powers. It is a congregation of people who want to work as representatives of people in the government and keep a check and balance on the ruling political party. There are thousands of political parties in India registered with the Election Commission of India. In this article we will talk about Top 20 famous parties in India that you must have heard and should know briefly about.


In India there are 2 types of parties: National and State parties.

A party is considered national:

  • If it wins atleast 2% of seats from atleast 3 states
  • Gets 6% of votes from 4 different states in addition to 4 Lok Sabha seats in Lok Sabha or Legislative assembly elections
  • Is recognised as a state party in atleast 4 states or more

A party is considered a state party when:

  • It wins a 3% of the total number of seats or a minimum of 3 seats
  • The party should win atleast 1 Lok Sabha seat for every 25 seats or depending on the fraction allotted for that state
  • 8% of the vote share of total valid polls

List of national parties:


1. Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) - BJP is one of the two largest political parties in India. It has a large representation in the national parliament and state assemblies. It is the largest political party is the world in terms of primary membership. BJP has presence across the nation. It was formed in 1951 by Syama Prasad Mukherjee and was then known as Bhartiya Jan Sangh. In 1977, Jan Sangh merged with other political parties to form Janata Party. After 3 years the party dissolved and its members reformed a new political party called Bhartiya Janta Party.

2. Indian National Congress (INC) - Congress or the INC is the oldest political outfit in India. It was founded in 1885 under the British regime. After India’s independence in 1947, Congress formed a national government in India and a state government in many states. The Congress has headed the government for decades after independence.

3. Communist Party of India Marxist (CPIM) - CPIM is the largest communist party in India. They had a split from the CPI in 1964. They have a major presence in Kerala and some presence in other states such as West Bengal, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Jammu & Kashmir and Rajasthan.

4. Communist Party of India (CPI) - CPI is the oldest communist party of India. They celebrate their foundation day as 26th December 1925. They have a presence in Kerala and West Bengal.

5. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) - BSP is the 3rd largest political party in India in terms of their vote share. There main vote bank comprises of SC’s, ST’s, OBC’s and other religious minorities in India. It was founded by Kashi Ram in 1984 and has a major presence in Uttar Pradesh.

6. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) - NCP was formed by Sharad Pawar, A Sangma, and Tariq Anwar in 1999 after being expelled from Congress for disputing the right of Italian born - Sonia Gandhi to lead the party. NCP has although now formed a coalition with INC on several occasions. They have a major presence in Maharashtra and Meghalaya and nominal presence in other states. 


7. All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) - TMC was founded in 1998 by Mamata Banerjee. It is the 4th largest party in Lok Sabha. It has a major presence in West Bengal and also has a presence in Tripura, Manipur, and Kerala.


List of state parties:


8. Samajwadi Party (SP) - SP was founded in 1992 and is a state based party in Uttar Pradesh. SP was one of the parties that was formed after the Janata Dal had fragmented. The party was founded by Mulayam Singh Yadav and now is being led by Akhilesh Yadav.

9. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) - AAP is a fairly new political party launched in 2012. It came to being after a rift between Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal on whether to politicise the India Against Corruption Movement. It is founded by Arvind Kejriwal and has a presence in New Delhi and Punjab. 


10. Biju Janata Dal (BJD) - BJD was founded by Naveen Patnaik in 1997. It is named after his father Biju Patnaik. The party has a major presence in Orissa. 


11. Janata Dal (United) - JDU is a political party with a major presence in Bihar and Jharkhand. JDU was founded by Nitish Kumar in 2003.

12. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) - RJD was founded in 1997 by Lalu Prasad Yadav. In 2008 RJD became a national party with its performance in the north east states. However, in 2010 it was again derecognized as a national party. RJD has a major presence in Bihar.

13. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) - SAD is the most recognised and influential punjabi political party in the world. The party has its major presence in Punjab and was founded in 1920. The party controls many Sikh religious bodies. 


14. Shiv Sena - Shiv Sena was founded in 1966 by Bal Thackeray. The party was formed as a movement in Mumbai to give preferential treatment for Maharashrians over other migrants. The party has its strong hold in Maharashtra. The party has a major influence over Maratha community. 


15. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) - MNS is a state party based in Maharashtra and has a motto ‘Sons of soil’. It was founded in 2006 by Raj Thackeray after differences with Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena).

16. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) - DMK is a state political party in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. It was founded by C.N. Annadurai in 1949 after breaking away from then party Dravida Kazhagam. The party was led by M. Karunanidhi from 1969 until his death in 2018.

17. All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) - AIADMK is the 3rd largest party in Lok Sabha and has a presence in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The party was formed by MG Ramachandran after breaking away from DMK. AIADMK has been led by Jayalalithaa several times.

18. Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) - TRS is a party based in Telangana formed in 2001 by K Chandrashekhar Rao. The party was formed as a movement to have Telangana as a separate state with Hyderabad as its capital. The party has been instrumental in having Telangana become a separate state.

19. Telugu Desam Party (TDP) - TDP is a political outfit active in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The party was founded in 1982 by N.T. Rama Rao. Since 1995 the party is being headed by N Chandrababu Naidu.

20. YSR Congress - YSR means Youth, Labour and Farmers Congress party when translated. YSR Congress was founded in 2011 by YS Jaganmohan Reddy and has a presence in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.



- Tanya Kathpal


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Top 20 popular political parties in India Top 20 popular political parties in India Reviewed by EMN on March 24, 2019 Rating: 5

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