INDIAN POLITICS GUIDE
Indian System of Government: Parliamentary Republic
India is a nation that is characterized as a "Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic." Like the United States, India has had a federal form of government since the adoption of its Constitution. However, the central government in India has greater power in relation to its states, and is patterned after the British parliamentary system. The national government has the power to dismiss state governments under specific constitutional clauses or in the case that no majority party or coalition is able to form a government. The central government can also impose direct federal rule known as President's Rule (or central rule). Locally, the Panchayati Raj ("Assembly of Five") system has several administrative functions.
For most years since independence, the Federal government has been dominated by the Indian National Congress (INC). The two largest political parties have been the INC and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and regional parties also exist. From 1950 to 1990, barring two brief periods, the INC enjoyed a parliamentary majority. Democracy has been suspended only once, during the Indian Emergency of 1975-1977 when President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, on the advice of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, declared a state of emergency under Article 352 of the Constitution of India and effectively bestowed on himself the power to rule by decree. The Emergency was prompted by Gandhi's conviction for misuse of state resources and has been called one of India's "blackest hours."
Indian politics is often described as chaotic. More than a fifth of Members of Parliament face criminal charges.