Other than the national parties, 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.
The following points explain the role of regional political parties in Indian politics
(i) These parties need not be regional in their ideology always. Parties like Samajwadi Party, Samata Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal have national level political organisation with units in several states.
Some parties like Biju Janata Dal, Mizo National Front are conscious about their state identity.
(ii) Since 1996, no national party is able to secure on its own a . majority in Indian Lok Sabha. The national parties are compelled to form alliance with the state parties.
The number and strength of the regional parties have expanded. This has contributed to the strengthening of federalism and democracy in our country.
(iii) This situation is applicable not only to the centre, but also to the state politics. If a party is unable to win the required number of seats in Legislative Assembly, a coalition is the only option.
(iv) If a regional party has a strong hold in the centre, the region from which the party hails will get a solid platform and again this could be detrimental to other states.
(v) Regional parties are playing a major role in the Indian politics and their influence is not just limited to particular region or state, but their decisions and thought processes are important in the Central Government planning process and decisions.
In the 16th Lok Sabha election, Bharatiya Janata Party got an absolute majority which made the end of the era of Coalition Government in centre. This emphatic victory has re-opened the question of alliance amongst regional parties in our country.