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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT First and foremost I would like to extend my earnest gratitude to my Political Science teacher Mrs. Anvita Bhuvan Mishra for giving me this assignment work on the interesting topic of “Regionalism in India with special reference to the rise of multi parties post 90s.” I have tried my utmost to throw ample light on the intricacies related with the subject and I have tried to cover as much ground as possible but I’m sure a few things may have been left out and I seek forgiveness for it beforehand. I would like to sincerely thank you mam for your constant guidance and support throughout this assignment work. I would also like to thank my fellow student friends for their support. 1 | Page CONTENTS TOPIC PAGE NO. INTRODUCTION 3-5 WHAT IS REGIONALISM? 6-7 FORMS OF REGIONALISM IN INDIA 8-11 CAUSES FOR GROWTH OF REGIONALISM 12-13 EMERGENCE OF REGIONALISM AND MULTI-PARTY 14-16 SYSTEM IN INDIAN POLITICS ROLE OF THE REGIONAL PARTIES 17 CRITICAL ANALYSIS 18-19 HOW TO COMBAT REGIONALISM? 20-21 CONCLUSION 22 2 | Page INTRODUCTION Regionalism has remained perhaps the most potent force in Indian politics ever since independence (1947), if not before. It has remained the root cause of many regional political parties which have been governing many states since the late 1960s. Many of the states in India like West Bengal, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, etc. are currently ruled by regional parties. Even many federal governments for example the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which ruled at the federal level from 1999 to 2004 was but a medley of various region-based parties. India has a multi‐party system with a large number of political parties at state and regional levels. Such parties have acquired tremendous political significance at the national stage specially since the 1990s. Though popularly referred to as regional parties, Election Commission of India (ECI) recognises three categories of parties:  National parties  State parties  Registered unrecognised parties As per its criteria a political party will be recognised as a State party if (a) its candidates have secured at least six per cent of total valid votes and it has returned at least two members to the Legislative Assembly; or (b) if it wins at least three per cent of the total number of seats in the Assembly. A national party is recognised if 3 | Page (a) the candidates set up by it in any four or more states at the election to the Lok Sabha or to the Assembly concerned have secured at least six per cent of total votes and it has returned at least four members to the Lok Sabha from any state or states; or (b) its candidates have been elected to the Lok Sabha from at least two per cent of the total seats (i.e. 11 seats in the House having 543 members), and these candidates have been elected from at least three different states. The notable features of the Indian Party System is the presence of a large number of regional parties. By regional party we mean a party which generally operates within a limited geographical area and its activities are confined only to a single or handful of states. Further as compared to the broad ranging diverse interests of national parties, the regional parties represent the interest of a particular area. In simple words, regional parties differ from All India parties both in terms of their outlook as well as the interests they pursue. Their activities are focused on specific issues concerning the region and they operate within the limited area. They merely seek to capture power at the state or regional level and do not aspire to control the national government. It is noteworthy that in India, the number of regional parties is much larger than the national parties and many of the States are being ruled by the regional parties. Regionalism in Indian Politics is fast spreading across various states of India. It has become a striking feature of the Indian political party system. The rise of regional political parties have played significant role in the regional, state and even national politics of our democratic country. After the first general election of 1952, the Election Commission had declared 19 political parties as regional parties. In fact, the regional political parties have become a part and parcel of Indian political system. 4 | Page A regional political party usually confines its activities within the boundary of a state or region. It often represents the interest of a particular regional group, language group, ethnic group or cultural group. While forming their policies these regional political parties have often shown ideological integrity. They are generally not interested in taking parts in national politics. Rather sometimes they show militant attitude towards the national politics or to the Central Government. While showing this militant attitude they often get themselves engaged in unscrupulous political activities. Yet while they themselves come into power in their respective regions or states. They perform political activities with tremendous responsibility. The most noteworthy examples of these regional political parties are the:  D.M.K. and A.I.D.M.K of Tamil Nadu  Telugu Desham Party of Andhra Pradesh & Telangana  National Conference Party of Jammu and Kashmir  Akali Dal of Punjab  Trinamul Congress of West Bengal  CPIM of West Bengal  Assam Gana Parishad of Assam  Gorkha League of Darjeeling in West Bengal  Jharkhand Mukti Morcha in Jharkhand  PDP in Jammu & Kashmir  Shivsena in Maharastra It is also striking that, now-a-days, both in their political activities and range of their success, many a national political parties have taken the character of the regional parties. They also share their regional biasness, interests and character especially in the affairs and problems having all Indian importance. Even the Indian National Congress Party itself has more or less, taken the character of regional political party in some states. 5 | Page WHAT IS REGIONALISM? Regionalism describes situations in which different religious or ethnic groups with distinctive identities co-exist within the same state boundaries, often concentrated within a particular region and sharing strong feelings of collective identity. Regionalism stands for the love of a particular region or an area in preference to the nation or any other region. It often involves ethnic groups whose aims include independence from a national state and the development of their own political power. In Indian context, regionalism refers to assertion of distinct ethnic, linguistic or economic interests by various groups within the nation. Since the roots of regionalism lie in linguistic, ethnic, economic and cultural identities of the people living in specific geographical area, political scholars have treated various forms of regionalism which include economic regionalism, linguistic regionalism, political regionalism and 6 | Page even sub-regional movements in the general frame of regionalism. In other words, it is the manifestation of those neglected socio- political elements which fail to find expression in the mainstream polity and culture. These feelings of frustration and anger resulting from exclusion and neglect find expression in regionalism. Prejudices and biases have a lasting impact on the mind of the people. They themselves do not play a part in the political process, but as a psychic factor they do influence their party organisations and their political behaviour. Seen in this perspective, regionalism in India, as elsewhere, is basically a psychic phenomenon. It has its root in the minds of the people. The term ‘regionalism’ has two connotations. In the negative sense, it implies excessive attachment to one’s region is preference to the country or the state. In the positive sense it is a political attribute associated with people’s love for their region, culture, language, etc. with a view to maintain their independent identity. While positive regionalism is a welcome thing in so far maintaining as it encourages the people to develop a sense of brotherhood and commonness on the basis of common language, religion or historical background. The negative sense regionalism is a great threat to the unity and integrity of the country. In the Indian context generally the term regionalism has been used in the negative sense. The feeling of regionalism may arise either due to the continuous neglect of a particular area or region by the ruling authorities or it may spring up as a result of increasing political awareness of backward people that have been discriminated against. However, regionalism is being used as a tool these days by some political leaders who encourage the feeling of regionalism to maintain their hold over a particular area or group of people. 7 | Page FORMS OF REGIONALISM IN INDIA Regionalism in India appears mainly in four forms, e.g. demand of the people of certain areas for separate statehood, demand of people of certain Union Territories for full-fledged statehood, demand of certain people for favourable settlement of inter- state disputes, and the demand of the people of certain areas for secession from the Indian Union. However, it is agreed that the rise and growth of regionalism is rooted in the failure of the national political system to meet the aspirations of the people. To some extent, these have also taken the shape of violent 8 | Page movements galvanizing the popular participation. They can be explained as follows:- Regionalism, properly so called. It is the first and most legitimate kind of regionalism which is often in the form of the demand of a separate space or state of one's own, for the purpose of resting securely within the Union of India. This was spearheaded by the Telugu-speaking residents of the erstwhile Madras Presidency. The forms of protest it involved were attacks on state property, and the hunger-fast, most definitively in the case of Potti Sriramulu, who in 1952 died after not eating for 52 days, his death leading, in the short term and as a result of this, the creation of the state of Andhra Pradesh and, later redrawing of the map of India on linguistic lines took place. With the same token, some of such protests for the creation of a separate state gave birth to leading regional parties like the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam(DMK) in Madras, which was later emulated by the Akali Dal in Punjab, the Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh, and the Asom Gana Parishad in Assam. All of such parties won state elections by successfully claiming that they stood for the rights of their regions. These parties proclaimed themselves regional by their very names. This category also includes sub-regionalism, which pertains to the groups, which are in minority within the states based on language, who also occupy a definite territory within these states, and by virtue of language or ethnicity, they have enough to bring them together and to bind them against the majority community in that state. Prominent examples being, the Nepalis in West Bengal and the Bodo-speakers in Assam, both of whom organised movements for separate states of their own. The successful protests include those which were raised by the hill people of Uttar Pradesh, which delivered to them a new state called Uttaranchal (now Uttarakhand), and the tribal and other residents of the Chhotanagpur Plateau, whose claim from a reluctant Bihar was the state of Jharkhand for which they had been fighting from well before Independence. Parochialism 9 | Page Another form of regionalism has been termed as parochialism. This can be benevolent, as in evident in form or pretentions of the Bengali Bhadralok, who claim that their literature, music, dress and cuisine are superior to others in India. However, sometimes it has also taken the form of blood-shed, as evident in the attacks on Bihari labourers by the Ulfa cadre, in which the belief rests that only Assamese speakers have the right to live in Assam. This kind of blood shade was committed by the Shiv Sena goons in mid-sixties, who in Bombay began to attack South Indians entitling them as outsiders to the city. Even Udupi restaurants were torched, and offices and factories threatened not to employ south Indians in their establishments. Recently, the Shiv Sena has kept the Bengalis and Biharis at its target. Following the same, the MNS has made the North Indians its target. The recent attacks on Bihari labourers by the United Liberation Front of Asom (Assam) are criminal acts, and deserve to be treated as such by the security forces, and by the people of Assam. But they also need to be viewed historically, as an undoubtedly perverted manifestation of a popular sentiment that has existed since the beginning of the Indian Republic, and which has indeed shaped and reshaped that republic. This is a sentiment based on the attachment to one's language and locality. Secessionism from the Indian Union It can be classified as the most violent and dangerous form of regionalism as it is based on the desire, or hope, or fantasy, to divide the Republic of India and form a separate nation of one’s own. This form of regionalism evolved with A. Z. Phizo's Naga National Council, and T. Muivah’s National Socialist Council of Nagaland. In the similar way, militants in Kashmir can also be said to follow this form of regionalism as they are persistently committing bloodbath in pursuit of their dream of a separate state. The movement of Khalistan, spearheaded by the Sikh extremists during 1980s also hoped to form their own nation- state. In fact, even the Dravidian movement for many years demanded a separate nation out of India. 10 | P a g e Examples of such form of Regionalism: The DMK in Tamil Nadu, the Akali Dal in Punjab and the Mizos and Nagas in North East India and more recently the supporters of Khalistan movements have been demanding secession from India. a. Demand for Tamil Nadu: - In 1960 the DMK and Tamil organised a joint campaign throughout Madras state demanding its secession from India and. for making it an independent sovereign state Tamil Nadu. In 1961, another organisation by the name of Tamil Arasu Kazhagam lunched an agitation for the renaming of Madras state as Tamil Nadu. DMK proposed that the states of Madras, Andhra Pradesh. Kerala and Mysore should secede from Indian Union and form on independent republic of Dravida Nadu. In 1963 Parliament adopted the constitution bill which made laws providing penalties for any person questioning the sovereignty and integrity of the Indian Union. As a result, DMK dropped from its programme the demand for a sovereign independent Dravidian federation and its secession from the Indian Union. b. Demands for Sikhistan:- In Punjab there was a demand for Sikhistan. As early as 1949 the Sikhs under master Tarasingh declared that the Hindus of Punjab had became highly communal and that the Sikhs could not hope to get any justice from them. The Sikhs under the Akali Dal put a demand for a separate Punjabi speaking state. The Akali Dal leadership being aware that it is not possible to have Sikhistan, as separate independent state outside the Indian union. They therefore started demanding like the DMK in Tamil Nadu that the states should be given more powers and autonomy. c. Demand for Khalistan:- Since April 1987 the Akali extremists have been taking a hard line approach for establishing a new all Sikhs nation called Khalistan, a demand originally voiced by a former member of the Akali Dal, Jagjit Singh in June. d. Demand for Mizoram:- Mizo’s demanded a separate state of Mizoram outside the Union of India and in order to Press their demand they organized themselves in a political forms known 11 | P a g e as the Mizo National front. The Mizos organized armed agitation and commenced guerrilla war fare. In the wake of the Chinese aggression the MNF was banned. e. Demand for Nagaland:- Another tribe that fermented secession from Indian Union and agitated for an independent state was the Nagas of Assam. The Nagas formed the Naga National Council under Z. Phizo to carry on an agitation for the grant of independent status. In 1952 he organized a boycott of the general election and this was a great success. The Naga National council even proposed to take the issue of Naga independence to the United Nations. This form of regionalism is the most dangerous one as it has claimed some 60,000 lives in Kashmir, and several thousand lives apiece in Nagaland since 1950s, and in Punjab in the 1980s and 90s. Inter State Disputes Another form of regionalism in India has found expression in the form of Interstate disputes. There is a dispute over Chandigarh between Punjab and Haryana. There are boundary disputes, for example, between Maharashtra and Karnataka on Belgaun, where the Marathi speaking population is surrounded by Kannada speaking people between Karnataka and Kerala on Kasargod and several other border areas between Assam and Nagaland on Rangma reserved forests in Ram Pagani area. The first important dispute regarding use of water resources was over the use of water resources of four important rivers namely Yamuna, Narmada, Krishna and Cauvery in which the states of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra were involved. There were many other disputes involving the distribution of the waters of other rivers, but those were of minor importance. In all these cases the state Chief Ministers behaved, like spoke's men of independent nation and endeavoured to obtain the maximum for their own states. It appeared as if for their own states. It appeared as if India was a multi-national country. 12 | P a g e CAUSES FOR GROWTH OF REGIONALISM In India a number of factors have galvanized the movements of regionalism: 1. The efforts of the national government to impose a particular ideology, language or cultural pattern on all people and groups compelled the regionalism movements to crop up. With the same effect, the states of the South began to resist the imposition of Hindi as an official language as they feared this would lead to dominance of the North. Emulating the same the Assam anti-foreigner movement was launched by the Assamese to preserve their own culture. 2. Continuous neglect of an area or region by the ruling parties and concentration of administrative and political power has given rise to demand for decentralization of authority and bifurcation of unilingual states. On occasions sons of soil theory has been put forth to promote the interests of neglected. 3. The desire of the various units of the Indian federal system to maintain their sub cultural regions and greater degree of self-government has promoted regionalism and given rise to demand for greater autonomy. 13 | P a g e 4. The desire of regional elites to capture power has also led to rise of regionalism. It is well known that political parties like DMK, AIADMK, Akali Dal, Telugu Desam Asom Gana Parishad etc., have encouraged regionalism to capture power. 5. The interaction between the forces of modernisation and mass participation have also paved the way for growth of regionalism in India. As the country is still away from realising the goal of a nation state, the various groups have failed to identify their group interests with national interests, hence the feeling of regionalism has persisted. The growing awareness among the people of backward areas that they are being discriminated against has also promoted feeling of regionalism. The local political leaders have fully exploited this factor and tried to feed the people with the idea that the Central Government was deliberately trying to maintain regional imbalances by neglecting social and economic development of certain areas. 6. The growing awareness among the people of backward areas that they are being discriminated against has also promoted feeling of regionalism. The local political leaders have fully exploited this factor and tried to feed the people with the idea that the Central Government was deliberately trying to maintain regional imbalances by neglecting social and economic development of certain areas. 14 | P a g e EMERGENCE OF REGIONALISM AND MULTI-PARTY SYSTEM IN INDIAN POLITICS Regionalism is not a new phenomenon in the Indian political system. In the pre-independence days it was promoted by the British imperialists and they deliberately encouraged the people of various regions to think in terms of their region rather than the nation as a whole, with a view to maintain their hold over India during the national movement. After Independence the leaders tried to foster a feeling among the people that they belonged to one single nation. The framers of the constitution sought to achieve this by introducing single citizenship for all. With the same objective a unified judiciary, all Indian services, and a strong Central government was provided. But in view of the vastness of the country and cultures regionalism soon made its appearance in India. The first manifestation of regionalism was the demand for re- organization of states on linguistic basis, but the most effective play of regionalism was the victory of the DMK against Congress in Tamil Nadu in 1960s. Initially the central leadership felt that regionalism was a peripheral political factor confined to Tamil Nadu and hence did not pose any threat to national unity. However, that assessment was ill-founded. Soon in Punjab the 15 | P a g e Akali movement gained momentum, while in Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Abdullah revived the National Conference. During these initial years all the Indian political parties continued to adjust with these regional forces on the plea that they would ultimately succeed in making inroads into the bases of the regional parties and absorb them in their organisations. The Indian National Congress which enjoyed monopoly of power between 1947-1967 and followed a policy of blowing hot and cold toward the regional forces, also contributed to the growth of regionalism in India. It accommodated the regional forces when it was convenient and raised a hue and cry against them when it was pitted against them. The local Congress leaders also encouraged the growth of regionalism and strengthened their hold on local party organisation, with a view to increase their bargaining power with the central leaders. In fact a close link developed between central and regional leadership. This close link between the central and regional leadership greatly encouraged the growth of regionalism. Firstly, the administrative policies and decisions as well as the developmental plans taken at the national level may not satisfy all people of the country and these people, who remain dissatisfied, may feel that their interest are not properly safeguarded. In such a context they form the regional parties to solve their own problems. That was how the regional parties like D.M.K, A.D.M.K., the National Conference of Jammu and Kashmir etc. were formed. Secondly, India is still not free from ethnic, racial and religious orthodoxy. Sometimes the Regionalism in Indian Politics emerge on these ethnic, racial or religious grounds. That was how the Hindu Mahasabha, Ram Rajya Parishad, Siromani Akali Dal, the Muslim League or even the Telugu Desham party was formed. Thirdly, sometimes the Regionalism in Indian Politics are formed on language issues as well. The D.M.K, A.D.M.K. parties of Tamil Nadu, the Telangana Praja Samithi of Andhra Pradesh or the Gorkha League of West Bengal etc. was formed on the 16 | P a g e basis of this language issue. These parties focuses on the interest of people who speak common language. Fourthly, sometimes the regional political parties are formed on the initiative of one or a few political leaders. However, these types of regional parties usually do not last long. Since, most of such political parties are dependent on one leader, they generally extinguish when the leader himself dies. Fifthly, sometimes the Regionalism in politics helps to safeguard the minority interests. The Muslim League, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, the TYC etc. belong to this category of the regional political parties. Sixthly, sometimes the internal conflicts of the big national parties may pave the ground for the rise of the regional political parties. That was how the Congress party was divided into several small parties like Congress for democracy, Congress (J) etc. Seventhly, sometimes a leader of a big national party, if ousted from his other original party, forms a regional party to express his or her grievances. That was how Sri Ajoy Mukherjee formed the Bangla Congress or Smt. Mamata Banerjee formed the Trinamul Congress in Bengal. Eighthly, the regional political parties formulate their policies and programmes on the basis of the regional demands, grievances and interests of the people. Naturally they pin with them the confidence and loyalty of the people. The National parties to try to utilize this confidence and loyalty of the people for their own sinister interest. Thus they form Coalitions and Fronts and the Leftist and right political parties appear as strange bed fellows. This has made the regional parties gain a lot of importance and confidence. Ninthly, during the pre-independence days people fought for the country’s freedom and a unique sense of oneness, a sense of nationalism had flared up in them which had strengthened the solidarity and integrity of the nation. But after independence that burning sense of nationalism has evaporated and a narrow sense to regional interest has 17 | P a g e developed. This has also paved the grounds for the emergence of regional political parties. Lastly, the general decadence of values, too much centralization of power, dictatorial role of the leaders, negligence to the regional leadership etc. in the national parties have not only weakened their status but also facilitated the rise of numbers of regional political parties both big and small, in India. ROLE OF THE REGIONAL PARTIES Though the regional parties operate within very limited area and pursue only limited objective, they have played significant role both in the State as well as national politics. The regional political parties formed governments in several states and tried to give concrete shape to their policies and programmes. Some of the important regional parties which formed governments in various states include DMK and AIADMK in Tamil Nadu; National 18 | P a g e Conference in Jammu and Kashmir, Telugu Desam in Andhra Pradesh, Asom Gana Parishad in Assam; Maharasthrawadi Gomantak Party in Goa; Mizo National Front in Mizoram; Sikkim Sangram Parishad in Sikkam; All Party Hill Leaders Conference in Meghalaya and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Haryana. Some of the regional parties were also partners in the coalition governments formed in several States after the fourth general elections of 1967. At the Centre also, of late the Regional Parties have been able to play critical role in helping formation of Congress government. DMK, a regional party, supported Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s government after split in the party in 1969 and enabled her to carry on government despite loss of majority in the Parliament. Telugu Desam was the pillar of strengh for the United Front and later the National Democratic Alliance. The representatives of the regional parties focus the attention of the Parliament on issues in their region and try to influence the policies of the Government to promote their own interests. But probably the greatest service rendered by the regional political parties is that they have focused the attention of the people in remote areas on various political and economic issues and contributed to their political awakening. Above all, the regional parties have been able to impress on the national political parties that they cannot put up with their attitude of indifference towards regional problems and have compelled them to take keen interest in the resolution of their problems. In short it can be said that the regional political parties have not only profoundly influenced the regional politics but also left tremendous impact on the national politics.is not a new phenomenon in the Indian Political System CRITICAL ANALYSIS Critics are not unanimous in this regard. Those who favour the growth of regionalism in Indian Politics argue that in view of the success of Indian federalism, decentralization of power, greater 19 | P a g e autonomy of the component states, the emergence of regional political parties ought to be welcomed. Others hold the view that the emergence of too many regional parties will jeopardize, in the long run, the very integrity of the nation as a whole. Moreover they argue that the Regional political parties are generally guided by narrow commercial interest. Every component states have their own social economic and political problems and the regional parties always try to highlight the interest of its own region and respective state. If the regional party comes in power in a province it tries to gain the maximum benefits neglecting the interest of others. This will give birth to very much ill feeling among others. As the regional parties always try to find out the defects of the parties in power, they cause problems and try to topple down the ruling party so much so that the developmental works in general are always jeopardized. In order to achieve their objectives sometimes the parties take the violent form and policies which often disturb peace and security and impede smooth functioning of the administration. This creates serious problems of the law and order situation. In has also been found that very often the Regional parties fail to keep their separate identity and eventually tag themselves with big parties for sake of power. Thus the very ethics of democracy is disturbed. HOW TO COMBAT REGIONALISM 20 | P a g e Regionalism has been an important aspect of Indian politics. Sometimes, it has posed threat to the unity of the country. Hence it is necessary to take steps to reduce such tendencies. Some such measures can be  To promote even development of the hitherto neglected areas so that they feel a part of the national mainstream.  The central government must not interfere in the affairs of the State unless it is unavoidable for national interest.  Problems of people must be solved in a peaceful and constitutional manner. Politicians must not be allowed to misuse the issue of regional demands.  Except for issues of national importance, the states should be given freedom to run their own affairs.  Changes are necessary in the Central-State relations in favour of the states, and for introducing a system of national education that would help people to overcome regional feelings and develop an attachment towards the nation. CONCLUSION 21 | P a g e The resurgence of regionalism in various parts of the country has emerged as such a serious problem that it literally threatens to divide the country. The creation of new states like Telangana, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh in recent times is in fact the expression of territorial regionalism. Again, the demand for Bodoland, Vidarbha, Gorkhaland, etc. cannot be traced in the earnest desire of the people to have their regional identity, which results from regional imbalances. In fact, it is the natural desire of the people in a region or territory to make rapid social and economic development so that they may live happily. But in course of time when some part of the region makes rapid development, and other remains neglected, then the feelings of anger and frustration creep into the mind of the people which find expression in demand for a separate homeland. Thus, this development imbalance in which some part of the state receives special attention and other areas are neglected and allowed to rot causing immense suffering and hardship to the common appeared in the form of Gorkha movement, Bodo movement, Telangana movement, etc. There is certainly no denying that social Utopias of leaders like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru were mainly responsible for the lopsided development of the country and the creation of the society in which a few rolled in wealth, the majority of the people yearned for food. This marks the inefficiency and incapability on the part of the authority concerned-the Parliament, the Executive-to respond to the people’s expectations and efficiently handling the growing unrest and deepening conflict. Besides, the local leadership is to be held equally responsible, which fails to reconcile with the aspirations of the people. The mixed economy of India, consisting of large state sector and corporate sector, miserably failed to generate job opportunities for majority of people who are forced to live a life of poverty, illiteracy and starvation. Large portions of the population are under-housed and live a life without benefits of rudimentary health care. In this situation in which the teeming millions languish under the crushing burden of poverty, only about twenty per cent of the 22 | P a g e populations enjoy the benefits of development. This ever- widening gap between the two groups of India constitutes the root cause of inter-ethnic, inter-communal and inter-regional conflicts-various manifestation of regionalism. Regional parties play a prominent role in the spread of regionalism and in creating regional consciousness. Since these parties have their political existence in regional support, they arouse it to gain its benefits to serve their end. It is a well- known strategy of the regional leadership to launch their agenda against the Centre, i.e. the opposition party for discriminating against the state with political motives. Besides, the regional press, which is primarily language-oriented, immensely contributes in the emergence of regionalism. It is a powerful vehicle for the expression of regionalism and regional sentiments. The views expressed in them are, often quite contrary to those in the English media, i.e. national media. In an age of coalition governments, where regional forces in the country are strengthening, vernacular press has become more vocal and articulates. Naturally, it has strengthening effect on regional sentiments. Thus, the need of the hour is to develop a realistic perception of regionalism at the conceptual level focusing on righteousness and judicious outlook on the part of the political parties. If this objective is achieved, then the realisation of the idea of different communities, speaking diverse languages and each linked with particular cultural expression, “thinking globally, acting globally and seeing human unity in diversity in practical terms” too would become a distinct possibility. 23 | P a g e BIBLIOGRAPHY  http://iasacademy.in  The Party System in India by Prakash Sarangi  http://academia.edu  Regional/state parties in India: an annotated almanac by Ajay K. Mehra, Lars peter Schmidt publication 24 | P a g e