Since the disintegration of the consensus-based congress system in 1967, the Indian parties have fit the category of a multi-party system.

“Since 1967 a multi-party situation had emerged both in the centre and the states, without becoming a formal multi-party system, due to the continuance of effective dominant congress party rule of the federal level till 1989.”

The congress party itself is a coalition of diverse interests, factions, groups and individuals. It has rarely been able to capture more than 50% of the votes, the remainder of which have been won by the opposition parties.

At the state level the dominance of the congress party is frequently contested by regional and local parties. In some states, as in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the congress has been virtually eliminated as a major political force.