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TBA Exclusive: Why Big Political Parties Hate the Small/Regional Ones

Indian politics is a very lively and entertaining gig. We see a lot of action, drama, strategy, entertainment and negativity oozing out of this circus of politics. With so many political parties vying to create their own USP and trying to grab votes, Indian election is a much hyped, colourful affair. 
 
From dynastic politics to one-person run political parties, we see everything happen in this country. From midnight coup’s to a stifling emergency, the world’s largest democracy has seen it all. What is specific to India is the existence and proliferation of regional parties and how they dominate in various states across the country. 
 
Amidst all the chaos if we observe carefully, we realise that branches of dynastic politics keep evolving in our country. Either because of a family feud or a rebel sibling, cutting off from the family. All of this happens in India. In this backdrop, we also see some regional parties having big dreams and ambitions about their vision for India and their state. 
 
However, these new political parties have several challenges. They need to build a strong and loyal cadre and have a good base of leaders who will help, advise, strategise for the party and stick to their agenda or principles. Above all, winning people’s hearts, using extremely competitive marketing strategies and convincing people to vote for them is the biggest challenge of them all. 
 
But then, there are also people who think they can become Chief Ministers and Prime Ministers just because they have established a new political party. We have several examples of kin of dynastic political families who have come up with this idea and believe they deserve the top post. The Congress and the Gandhi family is the biggest example of them all! 
 
For example: We saw how Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy established YSR Congress, soon after his father’s death and believed he needed to become the CM of united AP. Similarly, in Bihar, we saw an LSE graduate Pushpam Priya Choudhury establishing Plurals Party and contesting in all assembly segments against the bigwigs of the state. 
 
Another interesting example of one regional party is Praja Rajyam. Established on such an ambitious plan of doing social good, Telugu film actor Chiranjeevi believes his massive fan base would be converted into votes. After major internal party issues, discontent among party workers and personal desires for power getting in the way, the party not only created a huge dent in vote share and split votes in 2009 elections in United AP, but also seemed lost and betrayed people’s hopes when Chiranjeevi merged the party into Congress in 2012, at a time when the Grand Old Party was exposed of its involvement in scams. 
 
Another curious case in Telugu Politics is that of the Loksatta Party, started by ex-bureaucrat Jayaprakash Narayan. As someone who galvanised youth in the 2009 elections and made huge promises, his ideas and strategies seemed appealing to everyone. This was also the party that split youngsters’ votes in 2009 assembly elections. While Jayaprakash Narayan is still respected for his knowledge and intellect, his party makes it to the league of  vote-splitting parties.
 
Then came actor Pawan Kalyan (Chiranjeevi’s brother), who enjoys a huge fan following in the Telugu states. With a mix of communist ideology and socialism, Pawan seemed genuine in his initial political pitch after establishing the Jana Sena Party, just months before the 2014 elections in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Making promises of equality for all, raising his voice against caste discrimination and religious discrimination, everything seemed genuine. Pawan, at that point in time, seemed unbiased and clearly reflected through his actions that he would be people’s voice. 
 
But, eventually, his position began wavering and there was neither a vision nor an agenda to drive the party. Even party cadres seem quite confused about what their leader aims to do. Just like his brother’s party, Jana Sena too split votes in the 2019 assembly elections despite winning just one seat. Now, by allying with BJP, yet sending out confusing signals to people, it still looks like a one-man show with too much noise but no music. 
 
The latest entrant in this game is Y.S. Sharmila Reddy. Her recent announcement of political entry has definitely perked up politics in Telugu States. While speculations are rife about what kind of impact she will leave in Telangana, it remains to be seen what she means by Rajanna Rajyam that she wants to establish in the state dominated by Telangana sentiment. As sources say she has gone against her brother Jagan’s wishes to establish the party, there are also rumours that it is KCR’s strategy to launch her and grab the Reddy and Christian Community votebank in the state, against the BJP. 
 
Going by these examples, it is clear that some political parties like the BJP, Congress, TDP, TRS, YSRCP are the bigger ones which will stay in the political game for the long haul….but there are those like Praja Rajyam, Jana Sena, Loksatta and Sharmila’s new stint which will remain vote-splitters. 
 
While elections are meant to be free and fair, somewhere down the line, vote-splitting parties spoil the show and could turn the election results around and that may not always be good for a state or the country! Either way, they continue to be thorns in the flesh! 

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