This paper analyzes regionalist parties’ object of participation in the central government, by comparing election strategies and manifestos of two typical regionalist parties in the State of Tamil Nadu; Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
Not all political parties intend to organize a ministry at the center, even if they occupy seats enough to do so in the Lok Sabha. Political parties in India could be classified into three categories; national party, regional party, and regionalist party.
Regionalist parties assert themselves in one particular state by representing the people there. Regionalist parties concentrate their energies on obtaining and maintaining ministerial power at the state level. They compete for the general election to expand their power at the national level, but do not intend to produce the Prime Minister from their own party members.
The Prime Minister, who is initially expected to behave as a representative of the nation, is under pressure to put priority on the interests of the nation which sometimes would infringe on the interests of the region. Regionalist parties, therefore, avoid responsibility as the representative of the nation. Regionalist parties, being different from the regional parties which are struggling to be a national party, do not run any candidate outside their own territory.
Their main purpose of gaining power at the national level is to stabilize their power at the state politics. They long for power at the national level in order to implement the policy which is preferable to the interest of the region and to oppose what is considered to be against the regional interests.