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What/who is a whip?

GS Paper 2

Topics Covered: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.



Congress has appointed MPs Syed Naseer Hussain and Chhaya Verma as Rajya Sabha whips.

  • The party now has the same number of whips and chief whips in the Upper House as in the Lok Sabha.


What is a whip?

A whip is an official of a political party who acts as the party’s ‘enforcer’ inside the legislative assembly or house of parliament.

  • Parties appoint a senior member from among their House contingents to issue whips — this member is called a Chief Whip, and he/she is assisted by additional Whips.
  • India inherited the concept of the whip from the British parliamentary system.


(Note: A whip in parliamentary parlance is also a written order that party members be present for an important vote, or that they vote only in a particular way.)


Role of whips:

They try to ensure that their fellow political party legislators attend voting sessions and vote according to their party’s official policy.


What happens if a whip is disobeyed?

A legislator may face disqualification proceedings if she/he disobeys the whip of the party unless the number of lawmakers defying the whip is 2/3rds of the party’s strength in the house. Disqualification is decided by the Speaker of the house.


Limitations of whip:

There are some cases such as Presidential elections where whips cannot direct a Member of Parliament (MP) or Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) to vote in a particular fashion.


Insta Curious: 

Did you know that there are three types of whips or instructions issued by the party? They are, One-line whip, two-line and three line whips. How are they different? Reference



Prelims Link:

  1. 10th schedule of the Indian constitution is related to?
  2. What is a whip?
  3. Who is a chief whip?
  4. Overview of Supreme Court judgment in Kihoto Hollohan case of 1992.
  5. What happens if a whip is disobeyed?
  6. Limitations of whip.
  7. Types of whips.

Mains Link:

What is a whip? Discuss the roles and functions that a chief whip would play when a government faces no-confidence motion in the lower house?

Sources: the Hindu.