History of India

India since independence

information on India - Politics of India

Regional Parties

Regional parties are parties whose main holds are in one certain state and mostly they participate in the elections only within that state. Most of these regional parties have agenda fitting certain culture dominant within that state. Some of these regional parties also participate in neighboring states, which have constituencies with culture similar to the first state. Different state parties were established at different periods because of different reasons. Some even have origins prior to India's independence.

In Tamil Nadu in south India, two main state parties are All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (AIADMK) and Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK). Of these two parties the DMK is the veteran party. The origins of these parties are prior to India's independence. The main ideology of this party is Tamil national pride. Before India's independence there were two Dravidian parties. One was Independent Party, which demand an independent Dravidstan in south India. Other was Justice Party, which had a Dravidian pride ideology. After India's independence, the Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK) was established from the merger of these two parties in the former state of Madras, in south India. This party first demanded an independent Dravidstan for all of south India. Later on the demand was changed to independent Tamil state. Finally this party compromised on a Tamil Nadu state within the Indian Union.

In the beginning this party was anti-north Indian. They opposed to any entrance of any kind of cultures of north India. They specially attacked the attempt to introduce Hindi language in Tamil Nadu (see also Official languages of India). This party members also saw in the Tamili Brahmans agents of north India who immigrated to south India to enforce to north Indian Aryan culture on the south Indians (see Aryans and Dravidians). The party demanded to reserve the government jobs for Dravidians and not to 'immigrant' Brahmans. In 1972 this party split and a new party was founded by MC Ramachandaran and it was named All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (AIADMK). In 1987 Ramachandaran died and Jayalalita inherited him. In the last few years these Tamilian pride parties have moderated their ideologies and before the 1998 elections the AIADMK even cooperated with BJP, which is considered as a north Indian party.

In Andra Pradesh, also in south India, Telegu Desam was founded in 1982 by Telegu film actor, NT Rao. The ideology of the party is similar to the ideology of the AIADMK, which is local cultural pride. In the Telugu Desam case, the local cultural pride is of Telugu culture.

Another one state party is Akali Dal and its main hold is in Punjab, north India. This party is considered a state party, but actually it is a religion oriented party whose followers are the Sikhs. This party also has its origin prior to India's independence. Before independence this party demanded from the British a separate entity for the Sikhs in Punjab. During the independence period these demands were delayed for a while. After independence this party began demanding special status for the Sikh culture and the Punjabi language. They struggled for a Punjabi state with a Sikh majority within the Indian Union and recognition of Punjabi as a distinct language. They succeeded in forming the establishment of Punjab in 1966, but it had a very small majority of the Sikhs (see Internal map of India). But they also succeeded in obtaining the recognition of Punjabi as a distinct language and not as a dialect of Hindi (see Official languages of India). Later on the Akali Dal broke up into some factions. Some of the militant factions of the Akali Dal demanded an independent Sikh state to be called Khalistan. But the dominant Akali Dal faction in Punjab wants Punjab to be a part of Indian Union.

In Assam in east India and in Maharashtra in west India there are political parties which came into existence because of the discriminatory feelings of the local 'sons of soil' population.

In British India, Assam was a British province. For some period the British attached Assam to the neighboring Bengal province. During this period the Bengalis held many senior government posts. Later on Assam again became a separate province, but the government posts were still hold by the Bengalis. In the 1960s and the 1970s many Bengali oriented people immigrated to Assam. In the 1980s the Asom Gana Parishad was founded with an agenda to give back Assam to the Assamese people.

In Maharashtra, in west India, the local population is known as Maharashtrians. Their language is known as Marathi. Sometimes the Maharashtrians are also known as Marathi. The capital of Maharashtra is Mumbai, formerly Bombay. During the British rule, the city of Bombay was the capital of Bombay State. The Bombay State included in it regions of present day Maharashtra and present day Gujarat. The main language of Gujarat is Gujarati. The Gujaratis are the business communities of India. The city of Bombay was the business center of India. Many business communities from Gujarat settled in Bombay and were the important business community of Bombay. But the majority of the population of Bombay was Marathi and they were the working classes of the city. Many Indians from all around India also immigrated to Bombay to find a better future. This made Bombay the largest Indian cosmopolitan.

In 1960 Bombay State was divided into Maharashtra and Gujarat. Bombay the cultural capital of the Marathis and the Gujaratis was made capital of Maharashtra. After Maharashtra was established, a general feeling among many Marathis, was that Bombay is ruled and governed by 'foreigners'. Their main targets were not the Gujarati business communities, but immigrants who arrived from all over India and settled in Bombay. So these people established the Shiv Sena party. This party which began as a protest movement of the Marathis in Bombay, slowly became popular all around Maharashtra. This party ideology was spiced with Hindu-Marathi nationalist pride. Its rivals consider this party as a fanatic and anti-Muslim party. According to the party policy, many places in Maharashtra were renamed with Marathi oriented names. For example Bombay was renamed back to its original name Mumbai (see Changing names of Indian places).

There are other state parties in India. To name a few there are, National Conference in Kashmir, Haryana Vikas Party in Haryana, Manipur People's Party in Manipur, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak in Goa, Sikkim Democratic Front in Sikkim, Mizo National Front in Mizoram, and many other parties. People who broke away from larger national parties, like the Congress founded some state parties. For example the West Bengal Trinamul Congress, Tamil Manila Congress, Kerala Congress. There are also communist state parties.


India Unbound: The Social and Economic Revolution from Independenceto the Global Information Age

Aharon Daniel


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