Regional Parties in India - Role, Significance, and Rise of Regional Parties in India

By K Balaji|Updated : October 27th, 2022

Regional parties in India are regarded as any political party with its headquarters in a single area, irrespective of its purposes and medium. Most of the major parties of the country are classified by the Election Commission as ‘State parties’, commonly referred to as regional parties in India, other than the 8 national parties, which include Bharatiya Janata Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Communist Parties, Rashtriya Janata Dal, All India Trinamool Congress, National People's Party, Indian National Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party.

Regional parties in India are offered unique symbols which only the official nominees of that party can utilize. These parties enjoy special privileges and other facilities acknowledged by the Election Commission of India, which is why they are also referred to as recognized parties. This article will provide an in-depth analysis of regional parties in India that will be of tremendous help in the Polity part of the UPSC Exam. It is essential to know the features, classification, and factors that led to the rise of regional parties in India.

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What is Regional Party?

The existence of several cultural, ethnic, religious, linguistic, and caste groups within the Indian community is significantly liable for the source and development of regional parties of India.

Regional Parties in India PDF

TDP or Telugu Desam Party is considered the first regional party after India gained independence and became the main competitor in the 8th Lok Sabha (1984). Political Parties like Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) are regional parties.

Characteristics of Regional Parties in India

Regional parties of India express provincial welfare and recognize a distinct religious, ethnic, cultural, or linguistic group. The other features of regional political parties in India are as follows:

  • Its electoral ground is restricted to a specific state or region.
  • Regional parties in India mainly involves using the provincial resources of discontentment or maintaining a mixture of primordial needs based on caste, language, community, or region.
  • It concentrates on regional or local matters and seeks to capture political power at the state level. It has no preference for growing and maintaining the central government.
  • It has a political wish for greater provincial independence of states in the Indian Union.

Themes of Regional Political Parties in India

Regional parties in India are established based on themes like– Autonomy, Identity, Statehood, and Development etc. Get the complete details of the themes of the regional parties in India and the rise of them.

  • Autonomy demands greater potency to the Indian states (for example, the National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir).
  • Identity consists of opposing the glory of the cultural privileges of a group (like the DMK resisting the originality of the Dalits or the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra).
  • Statehood consists of battling for an autonomous state within the country (for instance, the Telangana Rastra Samiti requested a different state of Telangana).
  • Development comprises regional parties considering that they can bring change to the individuals of a certain province.
  • Regional parties form ‘cultural specificities’ sometimes for electoral profits.

Role and Significance of Regional Political Parties in India

The regional parties in India produce more competitive politics and widespread participation in the political process more expansive at the grassroots. Regional parties broaden the option for voters in assembly and parliamentary elections. The voters can vote for any party they think aspires to foster the interest of the region or state. The roles and significance of the regional parties in India are given below.

  • At the regional level, they provide a steady government and better governance.
  • They challenged the one-party prevalent method in India and led to a reduction in their dominance.
  • Regional parties in India strongly influence the approach of center-state ties. The tension areas in center-state relations and the demand for the contribution of greater autonomy make central supervision more responsive to the requirements of the regional actors.
  • They have flourished in revealing the prejudiced role of the Governors in the designation and layoff of the Chief Minister and in allocating rules and reservation of bills for the consideration of the President.
  • Regional parties of India provide a chance against the domineering tendencies of the central government. They oppose the ruling party at the center on certain issues.
  • They increase the people's political consciousness and their interest in politics.
  • They make a significant contribution to the successful functioning of parliamentary democracy. The regional parties have played this role successfully by being ruling parties in some states and opposition parties at the centre.
  • The regional parties in India have assumed an important role in national politics after the dawn of the era of coalition politics.

Rise of Regional Parties in India

Numerous factors can be attributed to the rise of regional parties in India such as the . failure of national politics to satisfy the regional aspirations. Some of the reasons for the rise of regional parties in India have been illustrated herein:

  • Charismatic personality of the regional leaders
  • Absence of a strong opposition party at the central level
  • Desire of certain sections to maintain separate identities due to historical factors
  • Role of caste and religion in the political process
  • Factional fights within the larger parties
  • Economic disparities and regional imbalances in development
  • Alienation and discontent among the tribal groups
  • Cultural and ethnic pluralism of Indian society.
  • Reorganisation of states based on language
  • Centralising tendencies of the congress party
  • Self-interest of the deposed Maharajas and dispossessed Zamindars

Provisions of Regional Parties of India

The creation of regional parties in India takes place in the same way as any other political parties by registering with the Election Commission of India. Before establishing a political party, it is essential to fulfilling the guidelines defined in the Representation of the People Act 1951.

  • It is the sole responsibility of the ECI to recognize a party as a state, unrecognized, recognized, or national party.
  • The Election Commission does not recognize a regional party separately.

Criticism Faced by Regional Parties

The rise of regional parties of India made politics a cruel rivalry. It encouraged using wrong-headed means, including muscular force and money, to acquire power politically. It is seen during the elections in various states of India in the form of violence.

  • They also make it hard to execute foreign contracts and procedures on schedule.
  • Regional parties have put national interests at risk by favouring narrow regional objectives more.
  • The deterioration of national parties led to the instability of the Government.
  • Regional parties initiated the trend of state division along racial lines, like caste, tribe, language, and some other attributes.
  • The parties focus on populist initiatives, including standard loan forgiveness by different states, to extend their support base. It damages the Government’s revenue balance.
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FAQs on Regional Parties in India

  • Regional parties in India are any political party with its headquarters in a single area, irrespective of its purposes and medium. Most of the country's major parties are classified by the Election Commission as State parties. There was a rise in the regional parties in India as the national politics failed to satisfy the regional aspirations and the absence of any powerful opposition in the Central.

  • Kanshi Ram is the founder of the Bahujan Samajwadi party. He launched this regional party on B. R. Ambedkar's birth anniversary (14 April 1984). Kanshi Ram called one-time school teacher Mayawati as his heir of BSP in 2001.

  • The total number of registered regional parties in India, as per the latest publication dated 23 September 2021 from the Election Commission of India, was 2858, with 8 national parties, 54 state parties, and 2796 unrecognized parties. The role and significance of the regional parties in India assist the voters in choosing the parties that will uplift and upgrade the regional aspirations.

  • The regional parties participate in the decision-making process of the Parliament by following the below steps. 

    • Criticising the political parties.
    • Passing laws regarding the need of the region's people.
    • Contesting elections and allowing all the individuals at the grassroots.
  • The major examples of Regional parties in India include the Social Democratic Party of India, Akhil Bhartiya Sena, Indian Secular Congress, Bhartiya Hindu Sena, and more. All registered parties contesting elections must pick a symbol from a list of available symbols presented by the EC.

  • TDP, or Telugu Desam Party, was the first regional party after India’s independence to have created the main opposition in the 8th Lok Sabha (1984). Presently, TDP maintains 3 Lok Sabha Seats. It was founded on 29 March 1982.

  • The criticisms faced by the regional parties in India encourage rivalry. They made it hard to execute foreign contracts. The regional parties in India increase the threats to national interests by promoting regional objectives. This leads to the instability of the Government. They emphasize on populist initiatives, including standard loan forgiveness.

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