- Pointwise delineate the expected role of PGs.
- Elaborate the major differences b/w PGs & Political parties.
Pressure Groups are also known as Interest Groups. The term ‘Pressure Groups’ originated in the USA which means a group of people who are organised actively for promoting and defending their own interest. Their activism influences public policy.
Role of PGs : The role of the pressure groups is very important for the administrative, legislative, executive, bureaucratic, and political system. They are like a living public behind the parties. Their role is indirect yet effective.
- Pressure groups play as a vital link between the government and the governed. They keep governments more inclined towards their interest.
- PGs promote expression of authentic freedom of ideas, views.
- Pressure groups help in expressing the views and needs of the minority communities.
- Pressure groups promote opportunities for political participation.
- Interest groups give all of us the chance to look at new thoughts and perspectives which makes it easier for us to see beyond our echo chambers.
- Pressure Groups are usable platforms that facilitate change.
- Interest groups promote leadership in a community by influencing people to become part of an organized movement.
- Interest groups play an important role in spreading information. Every interest group tries to influence elected officials to move towards desired legislative changes.
Difference b/w PGs and Political parties : Political parties and pressure groups both are very important in every nation. However, there is a vast difference between them. The major differences between pressure groups and political parties are as follows –
- Outsider vs. insider concept : Pressure groups are the public bodies acting behind the political parties. Whereas, political parties constitute the government. Pressure groups work as an influencing force behind the formulation of policies. So, pressure groups are indirectly involved in governing whereas political parties are directly involved.
- Pressure groups pressurize the executive and legislature departments to achieve its aims whereas political parties have to coordinate in the working of executive and legislature.
- Methods used : Pressure groups use both conventional as well as non-conventional methods. Conventional methods include lobbying, letter writing, marches, petitioning, collecting information for parliamentarians, consultation and giving evidence. Non-conventional methods may be used by groups who are antagonistic in their attitudes towards the state. Direct action can include a number of strategies such as blockading or occupying an area, holding illegal marches, holding talks to raise public awareness and staging theatrical events. Whereas, political parties use only conventional and constitutional methods to execute their duties and functions.
- Interest : Pressure groups operate for the interest of their own members. They emerge and dissolve as per the need of certain groups. Whereas, political parties work for national interest and not just for any particular objective. They are held accountable for the welfare of people.
- Political ideology : Pressure groups do not necessarily have any particular political ideology. They may be just interested in meeting their demands. However, political parties are always wedded to their ideologies. For example, the Congress party follows the ideology of secularism, socialism and democracy. The communists look after the interests of labourers, peasants and other weaker sections of the society.
- Contesting elections : Pressure groups never contest elections. They just attempt to influence the decision of Government or public policy. Whereas, political parties seek to create change by being on the forefront by trying to get elected to public office.
The pressure groups help to educate the parties about the interests of its members and provide some cross-fertilization of ideas and manpower assistance. Political parties, in turn, have the prime function of meeting their demands. Though they are not the same, their relationship is markedly close and clear.