These factors, together with sizeable strength of left in certain regions have led to different interactional configuration among the parties. 1989-1991: 1. National Front Government led by V.P. Singh supported by left parties and BJP was formed. 2. Samajwadi Janata Dal Government led by Chandrashekhar was formed.
1991-1996: Congress Government with the support of left and Janata Dal. 1996-1998: 1. 13 days minority government led by Vajpayee was formed. 2.
Deve Gowda with Congress’ support formed Government 3. I.K. Gujral became the PM 1998-1999: BJP with her alliance formed the Government which lasted only for 13 months. 1999-2004: NDA government completed its full term 2004: UPA government at the centre 2009: UPA government at the centre The contemporary reality of Indian political system is a typical experience. Defection and confrontation have plagued all parties. But, what is ironical is that even foes become friends in the power sharing. The electoral behaviour of people does not seem to reflect any commitment to the party or its ideological base.
Rather, they reflect the failure of political parties to deliver goods. Despite 50 years of governance, there has not raised a stable and sustained party system. From the above, following trends can be noticed i.
The ruling parties are more prone to lose power on account of lack of commitment to deal with basic issues. ii. Splinters of Janata Dal are likely to be a regional, caste-based, and centered around a personality.
iii. Influence of left is likely to be confined to Kerala and West Bengal. As a ruling party in these states they need to be sensitive to the outcomes of liberalization. iv.
There is likely to be moderation of ideological strength in the BJP so as to garner support of anti-Congress parties. v. The ruling and opposition parties in states are likely to rally around either Congress or the BJP.
The development of regional or state based parties in the federal polity is not unusual. In fact, they may precede the national parties. But, in India this trend has been comparatively a late phenomenon (with minor exceptions). Congress due to its nationalist legacies remained a major player in the states as well. It had opposition mainly from the left.
But with social differentiation there emerged new pattern of party system. With the emergence of some regional parties by 1962, we are witnessing a chorus of regional players on both sides; ruling and opposition on the national politics. Some of the factors for the rise of regional parties are i. Decline of ideological commitment and democratic norms in the Congress party. ii. Rise of rural middle class or OBC’s through the impact of Green Revolution.
iii. Rise of urban and semi-urban merchant and trading class. iv. Fragmentation and defection in major parties like Janata Dal. v. Regional disparity and imbalances giving impetus to the forces of regionalism.
The regional parties have gained ascendance not only at regional or state but also at national level. How far they succeed depends on their bargaining strength, vis-a-vis party forming government at the centre. If anything, this trend seems to continue for some time.