Regional Parties in India have major effects in some states but not in other states. As India is a democratic country, political parties provide an agency to the society to gather different views on various issues and to present these to the government. They bring various representatives together so that a responsible government could be formed. They provide a mechanism to support or restrain the government, make policies, justify or oppose them. India has a multi-party system.
What is the Regional Party?
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.
In recent studies regarding regional parties in India, It is noted the difference between working performances of the state units of National Parties such as Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.
Importantly, the presence of distinct regional cleavages is not sufficient to explain the variations in the success of regional parties at the state level in India.
In India regional parties are based on themes like– Identity, Statehood, Autonomy and Development etc.
The less autonomy in state units have, which means they have to obey dictates from the high command in New Delhi—the better the opposing regional parties do in elections, finds the study.
In this concern, The author from the Royal Holloway University of London named Dishil Shrimankar has considered national party units in 15 states to know their autonomy. Autonomy could mean being able to pick their leader, their allies, and their own policies.
The studies indicate that voters with strong regional sentiments are more likely to vote for regional parties when the local unit of a national party lacks autonomy.
Dishil found that the variation in the success of regional parties in India can be partly explained by the variation in the autonomy of regional branches of national (polity-wide)parties.
When state units of national parties are autonomous enough, they tend to appeal to local voters on emotional issues that matter to them. This prevents regional parties from monopolizing such issues, thus reducing demand for them to represent voter interests.
In addition to this, when there is less autonomy, leaders of state units have less of a say in decision-making, which could make them eventually defect to regional parties or form their own. Given how Indian voters identify more with personalities over parties, a defector could take voters with them and harm the national party’s chances. The analysis shows this helps the vote share of regional parties improve when more leaders defect from a national party.
So if you are a national party and want to compete with the regional opponents, give your state unit some space.