Along with a large number of merits, political parties have several demerits also:
1. Produce Groupism and Local Biases:
Political Parties are a source of bias in politics. Every voter is more or less attracted or repelled towards political parties to such an extent that he is unable to form an unbiased judgement on questions of policy or on the merits of the candidates.
2. Source of divisions among a Nation:
Parties produce unnatural divisions. These falsify public opinion. People are not naturally separated by hard and fast lines into two or more compact groups. Political Parties divide then into hard groups.
3. Parties cannot reflect and clarify public opinion:
Each political party gives its own version of every issue and problem. In the process public opinion gets confused. Political Parties, divide public opinion on party lines.
4. Parties are always dominated by extremists or demagogues or leaders:
It is the extreme element that always leads the party; the moderate elements are only supporters and members only follow leaders. They do not break away from the party because they can do nothing else. Hence though disagreeing, they act according to the wishes of the leaders.
5. Not fully and really representative in nature and functioning:
Political Parties behave as democratic parties only during elections. After winning elections, the parties and their leaders do note hesitate to avoid and ignore public and the opinion of the people on various issues.
6. The foreign ‘Connexions’ of Political Parties:
Parties open doors to foreign influence and corruption. Some Parties receive funds from foreign sources. These even ignore national interests.
7. Unnatural divisions in Society:
The parties divide the nation and the community not on basic issues but on artificially basis. The agreement among the members of one party is artificial. Even their disagreements with the opposing party are both artificial and unreal. Parties are often guilty of dividing people on political lines.
8. Sources of Disharmony:
Parties stir up disaffection and dissatisfaction everywhere. Even within every party there is internal groupism and conflict.
9. Increase the role of money in politics:
In capitalist countries party members are sometimes bought off by industrial magnates and corporations. The industrialists and businessmen are the real rulers. Parties work as their agents.
10. Not fully Responsible:
It has been asserted that party system has created double government: the holders of governmental power and the other leaders of the party in power. The real governing power in the hands of party leaders. They have no legal responsibility and are free from legal restrictions. It makes a mockery of responsibility of the democratic government.
11. Agencies of Corruption:
Elections are always very expensive. The Political parties and their members need money for contesting election. Very often, the political parties adopt corrupt means for getting money needed for elections.
12. Source of Undesirable Opposition and Criticism:
Parties create factionalism in society. The party in opposition is always antagonistic to the party in power. Political Parties make politics an unhealthy process of interactions between the majority party and the opposition party or parties.
13. Political Parties are a source of Delay and Inefficiency in Government:
Because of the party system, all decisions are taken on party lines and not in national interests. The majority party always tries to place the party above the nation. The other parties or parties in opposition are continuously at work to check all decisions, actions and programmes of the majority party. Aggressive and harmful party politics is a basic evil of party system. Thus several disadvantages can, and usually do, result from the operation of political parties in a political system.
However, all these demerits are there because of the universally known weaknesses of human nature. By conscious efforts and through institutional and legal means, we can certainly minimise these demerits. Parties are indispensable. These are present in every society.
These always play a deterministic role in the political process. No government, particularly no democratic government can get organised without political parties. The need is, therefore, to work for eliminating or at least controlling the evils of the Political Parties.