Title

The Civil Society Roots of BJP’s Majoritarian Nationalism

Publication Date

2020

Description

When the right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a landslide victory in India’s 2014 parliamentary elections, obliterating the opposition forces, scholars and commentators rationalized it as a vote in favor of the fuzzy notion of vikaas (development) in addition to a vote against corruption and the status quo.1 The BJP had achieved the impossible: it had seemingly converted the electorate of what used to be known as a “patronage democracy” into voters for “programmatic” politics. However, the BJP’s 2019 electoral victory, in spite of its missteps and failure on economic policy, poses a puzzle.2 What explains the sustained popularity of the party and the mainstream cooptation of its exclusionary nationalist agenda? The rise of the BJP from a marginal force with only two Parliamentary seats in 1980 to winning consecutive historic landslides necessitates an explanation going beyond development talk, electoral arithmetic, and crafty coalitions.

Journal

Georgetown Journal of Asian Affairs

Volume

6

First Page

12

Last Page

19

Department

Political Science

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