The Growth of Regional Parties in India

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THE GROWTH OF REGIONAL PARTIES IN INDIA
INTRODUCTION
The 1967 General Elections brought a historic shift in the trajectory of Indian politics. This year saw the end of all omnipotent Congress and announced the arrival of regional parties in the Indian political landscape. It is in this year that Dravida Munnetra Khagazam (DMK) of Tamil Nadu came to power at the state level and challenged the hegemonic dicta of Congress. It won a commanding I38 seats in the Tamil Nadu Assembly and 25 seats from the State in the Lok Sabha. This was yet just a beginning; Indian politics was now to embark on an era of coalition government and the politics of regionalism. Trinamul Congress in West Bengal. Rastriya Janata Dal in Bihar, The Communist Party of India (Marxist) and its Left Front Partners in West Bengal, Kerala, and Tripura , TDP in Andhra Pradesh, AGP in Assam, Samajwadi party and BSP in Uttar Pradesh and National Conference and PDP in Jammu & Kashmir are major regional parties today. In fact the presence of regional parties is not surprising in a culturally diverse country such as India. There is no one common man. He is common and identifiable only to a region. The regional political parties are his mouthpiece espousing the cause of their common man. In such circumstances my quest is not merely to describe the manner in which the regional political parties have surfaced as dominant partners in the Indian political culture but also the kind of role that these parties are fulfilling. One of the ways in which the regional parties have impacted the political environment is through the formation of coalition government. This has various implications. The kind of parties that have been accommodated in the national ruling parties, the kind of bargain received, the change in the political strategy, the inclusion of and respect for the representation of the weaker sections, caste politics and the debate between requirement of constitutional



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