Difference Between Pressure Groups and Political Parties

Difference Between Pressure Groups and Political Parties

political party may refer to a voluntary organised group of dedicated individuals with similar political ideology. They nominate the candidate, contest elections and win power over the government. It is commonly juxtaposed with pressure groups which imply a collection of like-minded people, who come together to promote and defend a common objective, by continuously striving to influence the decision of the government.

Both political parties and pressure groups are a structured group of people, which are directly or indirectly related to the political system of a country. However, they are different in the sense that pressure groups are confined to a particular domain, i.e. workers pressure group are open to workers only. On the other side, a political party has no such limitation, and so any person can join, the party of their choice.

Comparison Chart:

MeaningPressure Group, refers to the interest group that attempts to influence the government policy, for a definite objective.Political Party alludes to an organization of people that focuses on the acquisition and retention of power through collective efforts.
Aims atExerting influenceAcquiring power
EntityIt is informal, conceited and unrecognized entity.It is formal, open and a recognized entity.
MembershipOnly persons of similar set of values, beliefs and status can join pressure group.People with similar political ideology can become members.
ElectionsThey do not contest elections, they only support political parties.They contest elections and participate in the campaign.
AccountabilityThey are not accountable to people.They are accountable to people.

Definition of Pressure Group:

Pressure Group can be defined as the non-profit, voluntary organization, wherein the members have the certain objective in common, for which they attempt to persuade the government, so as to attain that particular objective. The group represent the point of view of the people who are not happy with the present policies of the government. Thus it promotes, debates, discusses and mobilizes opinion of the public on various matters.

Pressure Groups are not in alignment with any political party, but they have the power to influence the government decision. These are formed to express the shared values and beliefs of a large group, as well as to affect change within the government. Indeed, these give an opportunity and a voice to that class of people who remain underprivileged. Consequently, the democratic process is strengthened.

Pressure Groups take resort to agitational measures to achieve their objectives, which include marches, petitions, processions, demonstrations, fasts, strikes, and even boycott. These groups also write to the media, issue press releases, organize debates and take part in discussions, etc.

Definition of Political Party:

A political party is described as an association of people having common political perspective, principles and aims, concerning the political system.

The members of the party work together to win elections and hold power in the government, by getting their candidate selected in the assembly. And to do so, they nominate candidates during elections and campaign to get support for their candidate in elections.

It acts as a political unit that use the voting power to gain control over the government, lay down the policies and put the ideology into practice. For this purpose, various constitutional methods are employed by the parties to gain control. When the party wins elections and comes into power, it translates the objectives so declared by it into the public policies.

Key Differences Between Pressure Group and Political Party:

The points given below are substantial so far as the difference between pressure group and political party is concerned:

  1. An interest group which seeks to exert pressure on the government to achieve the desired objectives is known as the political party. On the contrary, political party implies a structured group of people who share similar political views and who collectively work as a political unit and aims at controlling the government.
  2. The pressure groups aim at exerting influence on the government to fulfil their demand. Conversely, political parties are concerned with acquisition and retention of power.
  3. A pressure group is an informal, conceited and sometimes unrecognized entity. On the other hand, political parties are formally recognized and open entity.
  4. Pressure groups are formed by people who have the similar set of values, beliefs, aspirations concerning ethnicity, culture, religion, caste etc. Unlike, political parties are formed and led by individuals with similar political views, beliefs and values.
  5. Pressure groups do not take part in the elections; they only support the political party of their choice. In contrast, the political party is competing with other parties in elections and also participate in the campaign.
  6. Pressure groups are not accountable to the general public, whereas political parties are accountable to the people for the work performed by them for the welfare of general public.


Political Parties and Pressure groups work in conjunction with one another, in the sense that, there are many pressure groups which are led by the leaders of a political party, and in fact they work as an additional wing of the political party, For example, There are many trade unions and student unions working in India, which support a particular political party.

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