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Problem of Regionalism | Social Issue Essay, Article, Paragraph for Class 12, Graduation and Competitive Examination.

Problem of Regionalism

Scheme of the Essay

Exposition: The changing political landscape has brought the role of regional parties into focus.

Rising Action: It is a challenge to India


(1) Regional Parties make demands which are in accordance with the sentiments of that region.

(2) The regional parties represent local castes and interests, they come in clash with neighbouring states or the social good of development.

(3) Regional parties, in many states obstructed the development of local democratic institutions.

(4) The ruling of the states has not improved, it has degenerated. Falling Action: The Central government which was the conglomeration of mostly regional parties could not stand the pressure of regional parties.

Ending: Regional problems can be solved if the central government functions properly.

The changing political landscape has brought into focus the new emerging role of regional parties. Mr. P. Chidambaram recently highlighted this fact before a distinguished group of international business leaders by observing that the regional parties are “close to the people and impatient to develop India”. Not only this the Chief Ministers, who represent the regional parties and aspirations, are “actively involved in deciding national affairs”.

It is essential to demystify the reality of regional parties and politics for properly understanding the real challenges of emerging regionalism in India. Every single state in the southern, eastern, northern, and north-western regions is involved in either inter-state boundary or river water disputes. Since every regional party is co-terminus with its state boundaries, these parties cannot negotiate with their neighbours because of the fear of alienation of local state sentiment on the basis of which these parties come to power.

Mr. Parkash Singh Badal raised the demands of Punjab and Mr. Bansi Lal of Haryana, a neighbouring Chief Minister of a regional party of Punjab and Haryana have to take care of their respective regional sentiments. Mr. Chandrababu Naidu of Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Karunanidhi of Tamil Nadu, or Mr. Mahanta of Assam may be experiencing new freedom in the context of regionalisation of Indian politics, but these Chief Ministers have not been able to find any solution on their own to either interstate rivers water disputes like Cauvery or Almatti or inter-tribal fratricidal wars in north-east India. Regional parties are nurtured and nourished by local sentiments and it is impossible for them to resolve inter-state disputes without a powerful arbiter that is an effective Central Government.

The regional parties represent local caste and class interests and these interests come into conflict with either the neighbouring states or with larger social goals of development of India. The Akali Dal of Punjab represents the caste, community and class interests of the Jat Sikh capitalist farmer and Mr. Badal emerged as a lobbyist of his social constituency by raising the issue of the minimum support price for wheat. Further, he has issued a warning to the whole country that if the support price for wheat is not enhanced to Rs. 550 or Rs. 650 per quintal, the official procurement agencies will not be able to induce the farmer to sell his products to them and the modified Public Distribution System will not succeed in the absence of new incentives to the producers of wheat.

Mr. Bansi Lal of Haryana, leader of the Haryana Vikas Party, also jumped on the bandwagon of Mr. Badal, to win over the support of the farmers of Haryana. Many illustrations like these can be mentioned to prove the so-called regional parties are neither socially neutral nor a great model of good governance. Fiscal deficit, populist schemes, and bankruptcy of the State Electricity Boards are the highlights of governance/ by the regional parties. Not only this, many regional parties have not been able to provide an alternative of model governance as compared with the erstwhile governments of the Congress party.

The Janata Dal and the Bahujan Samaj Party Government of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are in no way an improvement over the Congress Governments of these states. Like the erstwhile Congress state Governments, many regional parties have consciously obstructed the development of local democratic institutions in their states. It may be mentioned that the Left Democratic Front or the United Democratic Front Governments of Kerala have shown many innovations in governance but the explanation in these cases is that they are regional governments led by parties which have a national perspective as distinguished from the pure regional parties like the DMK-AIADMK, TMC, TDP, AGP, Akali Dal, VHP, or the Janata Dals. Regional parties have actively followed the practice of erstwhile Congress Governments in breaking and bending the state civil services for purely partisan purposes.

The upshot of the above argument is that it is wrong to romanticize the regional parties. These parties have not shown any new quality of governance. Not only this, many regional parties have intensified the feelings of parochialism and language fanaticism. The Kannada Development Authority is fanatically promoting the cause of the Kannada language without learning a lesson from West Bengal where the policy of devaluing of the English language brought disastrous consequences for the people of that state. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have entered the dark ages in the field of education because of the ill-conceived language policy of the Hindi enthusiasts of these states.

Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen have come to a tragic conclusion about UP by observing that “the region is characterised inter alia by exceptionally high levels of mortality, morbidity, undernutrition, illiteracy, and social inequality, and a slow pace of poverty decline” and their considered judgement is that the total failure of public services or governance is responsible for the present dismal situation of UP as compared to the other backward state. The powerful regional leaders of UP and Bihar like Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav Ms. Mayawati and Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav have not shown any capacity to pull out UP and Bihar from backwardness.

The governance of India requires a political arrangement which responds to the needs for unity and diversity. The national market can get regionalised and balkanised if regions are allowed to manage them according to their local needs and priorities. An active role of the Central Government is essential to maintain a proper balance between the local needs of regions and the national and international priorities of India.

Europe has taken more than forty years to realise that a unified common European Market will provide scales of economy to compete with the continental sized economy of the US. India has a natural advantage of large size and resources which are found all over the country and an ineffective Central Government and local-oriented regional parties pulling in different directions will lead to internal regional civil conflict on the movement of goods and services.

Punjab and Haryana have given a warning that wheat is not available except on the terms and conditions laid down by Mr Badal and Mr Bansi La! The ULFA or ASSU-AGP in Assam may follow Mr. Badal and Mr. Bansi Lal and stop the flow of oil to the country. The Deve Gowda Government was inherently fractured to manage the affairs of India with a perspective which included national and local priorities of governance. It was a sum-total of regional parties, groups, and leaders and showed its weaknesses while dealing with pressures from regional parties and leaders.

Hence, individuals and leaders who are glorifying the emergence of new cooperative federalism in India are actually rationalising the ineffectiveness of the Central Government to provide an all-India perspective for national development in the context of the New Global World Order. The Telugu Desam Party Chief, Mr. Chandrababu Naidu, wants Article 356 of the Constitution should be deleted, and the Deve Gowda Government, the heroic model of Mr Naidu, imposed President’s rule in Uttar Pradesh.

The so-called Gujral doctrine and Mr Farooq Abdullah’s dreams of state autonomy can succeed only if the Central Government occupies a pre-eminent position in the governance of the country and regional formations can expect resolution of their legitimate demands only if the Centre functions in a proper manner.


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