Regional resilience and national party system change: India's 2014 general elections in context

Louise Tillin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


For the first time in 30 years, a single national party has won a majority on its own in the Indian parliament, and does not depend on the support of regional party allies for a parliamentary majority. Yet it is too soon to pronounce the decline or marginalisation of regional parties in India's national political life. The aggregate performance of regional parties remained resilient in the 2014 elections, even marginally improving over 2009. This article considers whether the 2014 elections mark a critical break in the position of regional parties at the national level. The principal argument is that the 2014 elections do not reflect a fundamental alteration in the dynamics of political regionalisation. Rather they suggest a new phase in the impact of regionalisation on the party system at the national level. In a landscape of continually increasing voter choice, electoral outcomes at the national level have begun to narrow to favour a smaller range of parties since 2004. The number of parties able to achieve influence via participation in cabinet governance or coalition has begun to decline. Political fragmentation has not gone away, but its consequences for election outcomes have changed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-197
Number of pages17
JournalContemporary South Asia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2015


  • BJP
  • coalition
  • elections
  • India
  • regional parties


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