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Swatantra Party

Swatantra Party

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The Swatantra Party was a classical liberal political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 in India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 founded by Chakravarti Rajagopalachari and N. G. Ranga in August 1959. The party opposed the Nehruvian socialist
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 outlook of the Congress Party
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian...

 by advocating free enterprise and free trade
Free trade
Under a free trade policy, prices emerge from supply and demand, and are the sole determinant of resource allocation. 'Free' trade differs from other forms of trade policy where the allocation of goods and services among trading countries are determined by price strategies that may differ from...

, and opposing the licence-permit Raj
Licence Raj
Licence Raj, the Permit Raj, refers to the elaborate licenses, regulations and accompanying red tape that were required to set up and run businesses in India between 1947 and 1990....

. In 1960 Rajaji and other Swatantra leaders wrote about why Swatantra Party had to be formed despite having worked closely with Nehru to obtain independence for India:

The 21 principles of the Swatantra Party manifesto were on broadly classical liberal lines.

Swatantra Party did not fare badly in the first general elections after its formation. It received 6.8% of the total votes and 18 seats in the third Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha or House of the People is the lower house of the Parliament of India. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by direct election under universal adult suffrage. As of 2009, there have been fifteen Lok Sabhas elected by the people of India...

 (1962-67). It emerged as the main opposition in four states - Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Orissa. It became a significant force in some regions of India and became the single largest opposition party in the mid-1960s in Parliament with 8.7% of the total votes and 44 seats in the Fourth Lok Sabha (1967-71). In 1971, it secured only 8 seats in the Lok Sabha with 3% of the votes. After Rajaji's death in 1972, it declined rapidly. It was also associated in the public mind with wealthy industrialists and former maharajas. The Swatantra experiment of liberalism ended in 1974 by merging with Bharatiya Kranti Dal
Bharatiya Kranti Dal
Bharatiya Kranti Dal was a political party in India, formed by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Charan Singh. The party was founded at a meeting in Lucknow in October 1967. After the 1977 general election, the party merged into the Janata Party....

 (led by Charan Singh), a coalition of left-wing, right-wing, and Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 opponents of Congress Party rule.

See also

  • N. G. Ranga
  • Piloo Mody
    Piloo Mody
    Piloo Mody was an Indian politician and the founder of the Swatantra Party. He was an advocate of liberal and free politics of India. He was a member of the 4th and 5th Lok Sabha. He represented Godhra constituency in Gujarat in the parliament. Later, he was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 10...

  • Gayatri Devi
    Gayatri Devi
    Gayatri Devi , often styled as Maharani Gayatri Devi, Rajmata of Jaipur, was born as Princess Gayatri Devi of Cooch Behar...

  • Indian National Congress breakaway parties
    Indian National Congress breakaway parties
    Since India gained independence in 1947, the Indian National Congress has seen a steady number of splits and breakaway factions. Some of the breakaway organizations have thrived as independent parties, some have become defunct, while others have merged with the parent party or other political...

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