Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:
Let's get the 543 Members of Parliament for the first session. The first order of business is for them to elect a leader among themselves to become the Prime Minister & form the government. If not, the President would dissolve the Parliament and have a reelection. This process can go on indefinitely, until the people and the policians get tired & form a group which forms the government. UK, for instance, had 3 elections in a space of 2 years (1922-24). India had a similiar thing between 1996 & 1999.
Ok. Now we have a group that has a head [Prime Minister] and a variety of other leaders [ministers] elected. The next step is to create policies. One must really understand that the group is representing India and not just their constitutuencies.
Some examples of policies that has nothing to do with their constituency:
- How tough are they going to be with Pakistan?
- Who are going to be the key foreign partners?
- What are the going to be the main economic policies?
- How should the seperatism in North East going to be handled?
- Who should become the Army Chief of Staff?
There has to be some consistency in the various policies and laws that are going to be enacted. To pass each law, that group must act together. To coordinate the plan among themselves, the group needs to meet as often as possible. To coordinate the meetings, someone often takes up the role of a secretary.
The group has sustained somehow for 5 years and want to get reelected. During the relection, they discover a few things:
- Elections are really expensive and you need to raise money from people for the campaign.
- It is easy to raise money from the public, if there is a division of labour. That way, a few people can focus only on raising money, while a few others can give speeches and a few more on advertising. This division of labor produces a rudimentary organization.
- The group finds that it needs a brand name to describe themselves. Think of the advantage of brand names. If I see the name "coca cola" on a bottle, I would immediately know what it tastes like. On the other hand, if each bottle has a different name [most of which I don't know of] I have no easy way to make a decision – as I won't know what it tastes like. Unless I'm really thirsty, I would avoid them all. It is like buying that unbranded watch on the train station. Sometimes it might work. Sometimes it wont. If the watch is critical for you, you might not want to take a risk. Voting is a fairly serious business and thus a common brand name and logo comes out.
- People also want risk tolerance. The death of a manager in Apple doesn't change your iPhone significantly. In the same way, voters don't want the death of any member to alter the policies significantly.
Now, you got a leader, a collection of policies [let's call it a manifesto], an organization with division of labour, a fund raising mechanism and a brand name.
Congratulations! You have got a new political party.
Political parties are the foundation of complex democracies like ours. They are needed for the same reason why we need companies & corporations, brands & identities.
Can you even run a college cultural competition without an organization? You need a brand name, a bunch of leaders, with roles & responsibilities, a budget, a fund raising mechanism. If you can't even run a trivial thing like a college competition without an organization, how do you expect something as complex as a nation to be run without an organization?
The whole Universe likes forming clusters ones the system starts stabilizing. Quarks form protons & neutron which forms atoms, which then combine together to form various kinds of molecules. Sometimes these molecules combine together to form a living material – a cell. These cells can group together to form a complex organism like ours.
Do you want each cell to act completely on their own? Then we won't have an organism. Some cells make a decision and communicate these to others. Those cells that don't obey are taken out, by party whips called the immune system. If these renegade cells continue to grow without listening to the whip, then it is called cancer and destroys the organism.
A party is like that complex organism. It will have its own leaders and immune systems. Each cell both takes care of their "lives" as well as learn to coordinate the broader entity called the organism. A bunch of independents will be the deathnell for this organism and its occurence comes from a major explosion that has disintegrated all the connections.
Without a party, all we got is a bunch of clowns in a circus.