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Fate of regional parties in India

by Madhvi Bansal
Regional parties

With the 2019 General Elections coming to and end, the whole nation looks at its Prime Minister in awe for achieving such a fabulous victory. The BJP led alliance has won over 350 seats with the party itself winning over 300 seats. This has put regional parties in a relatively weaker position than before putting their fate undecided.

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Previous Performance

Before 2014, regional parties usually fared well in the Lok Sabha elections winning quite a number of seats. This made a solid ground for them where they could argue for their own demands and share in the political sphere.

Between 1989 and 2014, the mandate has mostly been skewed towards regional parties resulting in coalition based governments. Regional parties emerging at the state level have been playing a major role in government formation at the centre. This gave them the chance to put their region specific demands forward. Till 2014, regional parties held a strong foothold in the centre whether it was a UPA led government or NDA led government. The winning party had to rely on these regional parties to form a coalition government.

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Shift in power

The 2019 election results have resulted in a change of trend with BJP securing a large number of seats alone. Except in the southern states, regional parties have failed to secure a good mandate in rest of the country.

There are majorly 13 states (Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal), where regional parties have a strong presence. In the 2019 elections, Andhra Pradesh’s regional parties  YSRCP won a good mandate. The same cannot be said with other regional parties. The Maha Gathbandhan in UP did not yield required results thereby questioning the utility of such alliances. Same can be said about Mamta Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress.

This clearly shows that the voice and influence of regional parties is shrinking with every election. Locally, they may be holding a lot of importance but nationally, they are slowly losing relevance. . It seems that they might have to work hard in the coming years in order to avoid an existential crisis.

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