Regional Parties in India – Role, Significance, and Rise of Regional Political Parties

By Balaji

Updated on: March 3rd, 2023

Regional parties in India are regarded as any political party with its headquarters in a single area, irrespective of its purposes and medium. The Election Commission has majorly classified numerous parties as “State Parties”, these are also renowned as regional parties, 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.

Table of content

  • 1. What is Regional Party? (more)
  • 2. Characteristics of Regional Parties in India (more)
  • 3. Themes of Regional Political Parties in India (more)
  • 4. Role and Significance of Regional Political Parties in India (more)
  • 5. Rise of Regional Parties in India (more)
  • 6. Provisions of Regional Parties of India (more)
  • 7. Regional Parties in India with Symbols and Leaders (more)
  • 8. Criticism Faced by Regional Parties (more)

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 of India after 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 involve 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 their rise.

  • 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

Regional political parties play a significant role in Indian politics. They produce more competitive politics and encourage the widespread participation of people in the political process. Let’s discuss the role and significance of regional political parties in India in detail:

  • The presence of regional parties in Indian politics has led to the decentralization of power.
  • These parties challenged the one-party prevalent method in India and led to a reduction in their dominance.
  • Regional political parties represent the interests and aspirations of the people of a particular state or region, and their policies and agendas are meant to address the specific needs and concerns of that region.
  • Regional parties often represent underrepresented communities, castes, or tribes, providing them with political representation and a voice in the government.
  • They make a significant contribution to the smooth functioning of parliamentary democracy. This is possible because these regional parties are the ruling parties in some states and opposition parties at the centre.

Rise of Regional Parties in India

The rise of regional parties in India can be attributed to several factors. Some of the reasons for the rise of regional parties in India have been illustrated below:

  • Since India is a diverse country with many languages and cultures, regional parties represent the interests and aspirations of people from specific linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
  • The emergence of regional parties was also the result of the decline of the Indian National Congress in the 1980s.
  • Regional parties have become increasingly important in national politics due to the rise of coalition politics.
  • These parties are often better equipped to address local issues and problems as they understand the problems of the people better than national parties.

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.

Regional Parties in India with Symbols and Leaders

Since regional parties play a critical role in the framework of politics in India, here is a list of some regional parties in India along with their symbols and leaders:

Regional Parties Leaders Symbols
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Mayawati Elephant
Samajwadi Party (SP) Akhilesh Yadav Bicycle
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Sharad Pawar Clock
Shiv Sena (SS) Uddhav Thackeray Bow and Arrow
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) K. Chandrashekar Rao Car
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Lalu Prasad Yadav Lantern
Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Naveen Patnaik Conch Shell
Jammu & Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) Farooq Abdullah Plough
All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) Mamata Banerjee Flower and Grass
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) M. K. Stalin Rising Sun

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.
UPSC Notes
Swaraj Party Ghadar Party
Political Map of India Political Causes of Revolt of 1857
State Formation in India State Reorganization Commission
Regionalism Directive Principles of State Policy
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