According to Sauvik here, "There should be a liberal party campaigning for Liberty, Free Trade and Free Markets – but that is not allowed by legislation." This was news to me and so I enquired with him as well as with the Freedom Team of India members if this was indeed true. And this is what I found out:
If you are a political party in India and want to be recognized by the Election Commisssion, you have to declare that you subscribe to the tenet of socialism. You do not have the right to dissent on this issue.
A liberal democratic party has been denied its right to participate in the elections because of its refusal to accept socialism, as its creed.
Sharad Joshi of the Swatantra Bharat Party swears allegiance to socialism, but under protest. Immediately upon gaining entry to Parliament, Sharad Joshi proposed a Private Members Bill in the Rajya Sabha to get this offending clause scrapped. Read his bill here. That would not have shifted the constitutional reference, but still would have been a good start. Naturally, all political parties distanced themselves from it. The full debates are here. The following are some excerpts:
SHRI SHARAD ANANTRAO JOSHI:
"While socialism may be perfectly good, may be perfectly ideal thing to have but I must have the right to dissent. I am not taking any anti-socialist position. I am not taking a position that the preamble is wrong but I should have the right to change the preamble, if necessary. We decided to form a political party. We got a reply from the Election Commission saying that you will have to sign a register, or, have a clause in your memorandum of Association that you subscribe to the tenet of 'socialism.' Now, this is something which is alright for those with a pliable conscience. The problem is for the honest people who do not want to make a false statement."
SHRI RAM JETHMALANI:
"To oppose socialism is a very unpopular thing. The strongest point that Mr. Joshi, has made is that socialism is one of the many economic doctrines that have arisen in this world throughout the core world's economic history. To say that you are bound down to a particular economic doctrine, is to curtail the liberty of a speech, and which is inconsistent with democracy. Therefore, Mr. Sharad Joshi is absolutely right that democracy and socialism cannot be equated, because democracy itself means you are right to say things which others do not accept. In spite of all things, he has no chance of getting this Bill passed through this Parliament. But, certainly, in the Supreme Court of India, he is bound to succeed on the constitutionality of the provision."
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF LAW AND JUSTICE (SHRI K. VENKATAPATHY) intervening in the debate, said:
"In the Indian context, there is no role or scope for a political party, which does not have faith in socialism as reflected in the Directive Principles of State Policy."
SHRI SHARAD ANANTRAO JOSHI replying to the debate, said:
"As a liberal, I stand for democracy and secularism. All that I am saying is that as you are being pluralistic in the matter of secularism, religion and faith, why are you not becoming pluralistic even about the economic doctrine? Socialism may be right, and probably, what you are doing is right. But, do I have not the right to say that I do not believe in socialism?"
"If you are socialist remain socialist. But please give me my right not to be a socialist."
The Motion moved by Shri Sharad Anantrao Joshi was negatived.