A political party is a group of citizens, more or less organized having agreement on broad principles of national policy and trying to capture the Government through constitutional means.
Gettle defines a political party as “a group of citizens more or less organized, who act as a political unit and who by the use of their political power aim at controlling the government and carrying out its general policies.”
Finer defines a political party as “an organized body with voluntary membership, its concerted energy being employed in the pursuit political power.”
Burke defines a party as “a body of men united for promoting by the” joint endeavors the national interest upon some particular principle
which they are all agreed.” Maclver defines political party “as an association organized in support of some principle or policy which by constitutional means it endeavors to make the determinant of government.
” The purpose of a political party is to gain the power of the state and to retain it and thereby to translate its policy in terms of law. Of course, it must always secure the sanction of public opinion for its policies. Thus it is through a political party that the people, ultimate sovereign, can control the government.
A political party should possess the following characteristics:
(a) It should be more or less organized. Organization gives strength to a political party. Without organization, a political party cannot remain in constant touch with the masses and as such it cannot popularize the policy it pursues.
(b) The members of a political party must agree on the broad principles of public policy adopted by it. All the members may not agree on the details of policy but general agreement must be obtained with regard to its main objectives.
(c) A political party must be national in character. It should have a nation-wide appeal. Where it is not achievable, it must have the support of majority of people in the nation. A party which represents the interests of a section of the people cannot be termed as a political party in true sense.
(d) Every political party should have a clear aim to capture the power of the government. A party having no such aim cannot be called a political party.
(e) A political party in a democracy should seek to capture the power of the government through constitutional and peaceful means.