Signs of a mature polity

Apropos of H.K. Dua’s article “Rise of the regions: Accommodation is the right answer” (March 19), in the current political scenario, the presence of regional parties cannot be overlooked by national parties like the BJP and the Congress. I see this in a different perspective and consider it a healthy sign of a mature federal polity.

The texture of India’s socio-economic and political landscape is diverse and plural. Here regional variations in languages, castes, culture, religions and even economies are very wide. As a result, there are strong regional aspirations which must be protected. After Independence, the Congress could do it because it had assimilated the regional flows into the national mainstream. But the moment it shifted from this, regional and fissiparous tendencies emerged.

In the early eighties, four Chief Ministers of southern states declared the formation of their own council instead of going to the South Zonal Council, created by the Centre, to sort out their problems and thus, undermined the authority of the Union Government. In Punjab, the movement for autonomy took a violent turn and we had to suffer for a decade. When Indira Gandhi returned to power in the eighties, she appointed the Sarkaria Commission on Centre-State relations.



The days of one-party rule at the Centre and in the states are over. It is good that regional parties have developed national outlook. New concepts like cooperative federalism are being propagated. In India, in the background of strong regional variations, federalism was adopted as a compromise between maintaining the national unity and fulfilling the regional aspirations of the people. This compromise has to be maintained by all parties at any cost.

Prof. JANAK RAJ GUPTA, Patiala


Regional parties rose in India due to the failure of national parties to play a balanced and judicious role. For example, the Congress, under the patronage of great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, evolved a “national mainstream” by adhering to the principle of “unity in diversity”. But after independence, “power-politics” started eating into its intrinsic strength. The concept of collective leadership got eroded due to inherent contradictions in the class character of the party. One powerful leader was encouraged to control the party, region and the nation as a whole.

The local leaders lost faith in the top leaders. Most left the party and formed new ones at the local and regional levels. Voters provided them political power to get their regional aspirations fulfilled. After its rout in three states, the Congress has started wooing the regional parties to capture power at the Centre. This has also increased the prestige of the regional parties.

The BJP is a national party which believes in “cultural nationalism”. It successfully utilised the anti-Congress feelings of the regional parties to advance its political ambitions. The NDA came into being and formed the government at the Centre. The BJP needs political space in states where it is non-existent. So it is charming the regional parties irrespective of their policies and programmes.

Contradictions among these parties will certainly appear. The moot question before the nation is the need for a stable government. For this, internal democracy and a leadership representative of all regions in the country should be made compulsory for all parties. Otherwise, regionalism will lead to separatism.



Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani has criticised the regional parties at an election meeting at Palwal in Haryana and asked the voters not to consider such forces. He has ignored the essentiality of these parties though some of the outfits have been supporting the NDA government. Even the Congress has forged alliance with the DMK and the NCP.

Regional parties are increasing in the states only because the national parties have forgotten their ideology, honesty and sense of nationalism. They have not yet accepted the ground reality and stand isolated from the masses.

RIKHI DASS THAKUR, Palbhu (Hamirpur)


While endorsing the spirit behind H.K. Dua’s advice in his article “Rise of the regions” (March 19), I have some reservations. To what extent the two main national parties — the BJP and the Congress — should accommodate the ever-increasing number of our regional parties (most of them being a one-man show)? Should they be allowed to blackmail national parties? Was it fair for the BJP-led NDA government to show undue favour (in the form of funds) to Mr Chandrababu Naidu’s government in Andhra Pradesh? Does it not amount to striking at the very root of our federal structure?


Shift toll tax point

The vehicle toll tax barrier wrongly installed at Tunu-Hatti has not yet been shifted to Katori Bungalow which is, in fact, the entry point from Punjab to Himachal Pradesh on Panthankot-Dalhousie road. When one has to visit a place between Tuni-Hatti and Katori Bungalow, it becomes difficult to convince the toll tax collectors that the visit was confined to Himachal territory only.

The authorities, by refusing to rectify the mistake, are causing harassment to the vehicle owners. They have to part with money towards the tax for no reason. The authorities should shift the checkpost barrier for toll tax to Katori Bungalow immediately and save the money and time of the vehicle owners.

ANIL KUMAR SOOD, Dalhousie Cantt (HP)


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