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Role of Regional Parties

Role of Regional Parties

Regional Parties in India

  • Other than the 8 national parties- Indian National Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Communist Parties, Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, All India Trinamool Congress and National People’s Party; most of the major parties of the country are classified by the Election Commission as ‘State parties’. These are commonly referred to as regional parties.                                                                         Role of Regional Parties
  • Yet these parties need not be regional in their ideology or outlook. Some of these parties are all India parties that happen to have succeeded only in some states .
  • The presence of a number of ethnic, cultural, linguistic, religious and caste groups within the Indian society is greatly responsible for the origin and growth of regional parties.
  • In India regional parties are based on themes like– Identity, Statehood, Autonomy and Development etc.
    • Autonomy consists of demanding greater powers to the states (like the National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir).
    • Statehood consists of fighting for an independent state within the country (like the Telangana Rashtra Samithi demanded a separate state of Telangana).
    • Identity consists of fighting for recognition of cultural rights of a group (like the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra or the DMK fighting for the identity of the Dalits).
    • Development consists of regional parties believing that only they can bring development to the people of a particular region.
    • Sometimes regional parties create these ‘cultural specificities’ for electoral gains.

Evolution of Regional Party

Multiple factors can be attributed to the rise of regional parties in India. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Cultural and ethnic pluralism of Indian society.
  2. Economic disparities and regional imbalances in development
  3. Desire of certain section ares to maintain separate identity due to historical factors
  4. Self-interest of the deposed Maharajas and dispossessed Zamindars
  5. Failure of national politics to meet the regional aspirations
  6. Reorganisation of states on the basis of language
  7. Charismatic personality of the regional leaders
  8. Factional fights within the larger parties
  9. Centralising tendencies of the congress party
  10. Absence of strong opposition party at the central level
  11. Role of caste and religion in the political process
  12. Alienation and discontent among the tribal groups

What role do Indian Regional Parties play in Politics?

The following points highlight the role played by Regional Parties in India:

    1. They provide better governance and a stable government at the regional level
    2. They pose a challenge to the one-party dominant system in the country and led to a decline in the dominance of the one party.
    3. They make a strong impact on the nature and course of centre-state relations. The tension areas in centre-state relations and the demand for grant of greater autonomy make the central leadership more responsive to the needs of the regional actors.                                                        Role of Regional Parties
    4. They make politics more competitive and popular participation in the political process more extensive at the grass roots.
    5. They widen the choice for voters in both the parliamentary and assembly elections. The voters can vote for that party which aims to promote the interest of the state/region
    6. They increase the political consciousness of the people and also their interest in politics. They bring into focus the local or regional issues which immediately attract the attention of the masses.
    7. They provide a chance against the dictatorial tendencies of the central government. They oppose the ruling party at the centre on certain issues and force the dominant party to the more reasonable in its approach to the process of conflict resolution
    8. They make a significant contribution to the successful functioning of parliamentary democracy. In a parliamentary democracy, the minority must have its say, the majority must have its way, and the regional parties have played this role successfully by being ruling parties in some states and opposition parties at the centre.
    9. They have succeeded in exposing the partisan role of the Governors in the appointment and dismissal of the Chief Minister, in issuing of ordinances and reservation of bills for the consideration of the  President.                                                      Role of Regional Parties
    10. After the dawn of the era of coalition politics, the regional parties have assumed an important role in national politics. They again joined the coalition governments formed at the centre and shared power with the national parties.

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