What Is Congress System ?
Indian National Congress was formed in 1885. It was representing different and conflicting social groups from its birth. For example – it was represented by landlords as well as the peasantry class. Similarly, it was represented by Indian capitalists and the industrial working class.
After independence, the congress party dominated Indian political rule. The political scientist Rajni Kothari explained how Congress was able to dominate political rule in India. While explaining this, he used the word, Congress System.
So, What is the Congress System? According to Rajni Kothari, the different and conflicting social groups were accommodated within the same political party. This accommodation, however, retained the social status of the group as they stood in an umbrella formation. This umbrella formation developed the check and balance mechanism. This check and balance mechanism was used to keep Congress on the right track. So. Rajni Kothari used the term, party of consensus for the congress system.
From the middle of the 1970s, this Congress System started to decline. The reasons for the decline of the Congress System are as follows. The first was the inability of the congress system to hold the faction. For example – the green revolution created a new middle-class farmer. But this middle-class farmer drifted away from the Congress party.
The second is the leadership crisis. For example – the emergency imposed by PM Indira Gandhi created a leadership crisis within Congress.
Thirdly, the rise of regional parties and backward classes.
Fourthy, the consolidation of the opposition parties.
To conclude, the Congress System deemed sustained efforts were not made to forge intersectional dialogue. This led to a sharp decline in the electoral prospects of the Congress from the middle of the 1980s onward.