Growth of Regional Political Parties in India

By Mayank Yadav|Updated : May 13th, 2021

In this article we are going to have a brief discussion about Regional Political Parties in India, different phases and development. Regional political parties play important role in not only regional politics but also national politics. There are lot of questions asked from this section in Bihar state exams, so you should not miss this topic as well. Have a good day!!

In a democracy, political parties serve as an intermediary between society and the government, gathering various points of view on various issues and presenting them to the government. They put together different leaders in order to form a responsible government. They offer the government a way to help or restrict it, to make laws, to justify or condemn them. India is governed by a multi-party structure.

Political Parties in India

In India, every political party must register with the Election Commission. The Election Commission registers political parties for election purposes and recognises them as national or state parties based on their poll results.

Regional Parties in India

Apart from the eight national parties, the 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, the Election Commission classifies the majority of the country's major parties as "State Parties." Regional parties are the term used to describe these groups.

These groups, however, do not have to be regional in terms of politics or outlook. Some of these parties are pan-India parties that have only achieved success in a few states. The emergence and growth of regional parties in India is largely due to the existence of a variety of ethnic, cultural, linguistic, religious, and caste groups within the Indian society.

Regional parties in India are organised around themes such as identity, statehood, autonomy, and growth.

Demanding greater powers to the states is what autonomy entails (like the National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir).

Fighting for the independence of a state within a nation is what statehood entails (like the Telangana Rastra Samiti demanded a separate state of Telangana).

Fighting for the acceptance of a group's cultural rights is what identity is all about (like the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra or the DMK fighting for the identity of the Dalits).

Regional parties believe that they are the only ones who can bring prosperity to the citizens of a specific area.

Regional parties have been known to invent these "ethnic specificities" in order to obtain electoral advantage.

Growth of Regional Party

Regional parties have grown in number and power over the last four decades. As a result, India's political landscape has become more complex. To meet regional demands, regional political parties have arisen.

No single national party can win a majority in the Lok Sabha on its own. As a result, national parties are forced to enter coalitions with state-level parties. Since 1989, regional political parties have played an increasingly important role in coalition politics. Our party structure has been federalized as a result of regional political parties. Via accommodation, the Center has begun to solve their problems and react to their aspirations.

Our federal system's cooperative trends have been reinforced by the changing existence of our party system.

The Indian Party System at Different Stages

1952-64 :The Nehruvian era:

The Congress Party was the most powerful party in India, and the country's government was basically a one-party structure known as the "Congress system." Congress developed into a large umbrella under which all cultures, desires, and ideologies sought and found a home. Many minor parties competed with the Congress, but they mostly functioned as pressure groups.

1964-77: An uncertain shift

With the death of Jawahar Lal Nehru and the 1967 elections, the congress system's supremacy was challenged. The Congress lost majorities in eight states, and its Lok Sabha majority was reduced to a razor-thin 54 percent of the seats. Regional parties began to sprout up throughout the region. The Congress's poor performance resulted in a series of power struggles within the chamber. In 1969, the party was divided, and Indira Gandhi's dominance was cemented in both the party and the government. However, some leaders, such as Gujarat's Morarji Desai and Bihar's JP (Jaiprakash Narain), led active campaigns against Congress corruption and arbitrary law. Their movement reached a pinnacle in 1975, when Indira Gandhi declared an internal emergency for the first and only time in Indian history.

1977-80: Increasing Inter-Party Conflict

In 1977, a new coalition led by the Janata Party emerged. In India, this resulted in the creation of a multi-party system. Rather than forming an institutional consensus, a number of minor parties banded together to challenge Congress's supremacy. However, the Janata party fell out of power in 1980 due to a lack of ideological coherence in its policies.

1980-89: Power struggle between centre and states

Usage of the President's law under Article 356 for no reason and multiple times. Regional parties, on the other hand, grew in intensity and began to play a more assertive role in national politics. The Telugu Desam, an Andhra Pradesh regional party, emerged as the largest opposition party in the eighth Lok Sabha Elections (1984).

1989 to 2014: Multi-party system and Coalition politics

The death of Rajiv Gandhi, corruption cases (the Bofors scandal), and the economic downturn all set the tone for a coalition period that has lasted nearly twenty-five years. As a result of the multi-party system's growth, the new age of coalition politics has emerged. This time, however, is marred by coalition compulsions. The rise of regional parties has also resulted in the formation of so-called "rainbow" coalitions, so named because, like the rainbow, they only last a short time.

The period of 1996 – 1999 had 3 general elections, which cost a lot of public money.

Policy paralysis and delay in decision making and bills all result from coalitions.

Regional parties have given the process of national integration and nation-building a new dimension today. Regional parties have had a major effect on the dynamics of India's Centre-State relations. In multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-religious, and multi-linguistic societies like India, they are a natural result of a democratic structure based on adult franchise. As a result, their development is in line with the spirit of democracy as a whole.

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