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Indian Electoral Politics and the Rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

Title: Indian Electoral Politics and the Rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Name(s): Kim, Yoosuk, author
Smith, Dale, professor directing thesis
Flanagan, Scott, committee member
Singh, Bawa, committee member
Department of Political Science, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2006
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This thesis is a study of the Indian electoral politics and the rise of the Hindu nationalist party the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from the early 1980s. Specifically, I focus on the effect of the weakening of the Congress party on the rise of the BJP. I explore the broad contours and conditions of Indian electoral politics and explore how its evolvement over the years has affected the fortunes of the BJP. This thesis seeks to answer the following research questions. What were the electoral implications of weakening of Congress? What were the rationales behind the rise of the BJP since the early 1980s? Was, and is, Hindu Nationalism the main cause of BJP's rise? Has India entered into an era of multi-party system? What are the implications of India's electoral re-alignment on participatory democracy? What are the effects of the new electoral environment on the lower castes and classes? More importantly, is India becoming more democratic as a result of the realignment of its electoral politics? I argue that the rise of the BJP had been facilitated by the weakening of Congress party. With the weakening of Congress, the electoral playing field has been leveled as to provide the opportunity for the BJP and regional parties to enter national electoral politics. I argue that the rise of the BJP was not due to a significant shift of the Hindu electorate from Congress party to the BJP. Congress had weaker support from the northern Hindi Belt states than from the southern states, and it is from these dormant northern Hindi states that the BJP tapped for electoral support. I argue that the economic liberalization program launched in the early 1990s aided the BJP in garnering electoral support as it jibed well with free market plank of the BJP. I argue, the BJP, in order to appeal to a broad swathe of the electorate, has moderated its Hindu nationalist card but this moderation is not a foregone conclusion. The BJP remains a Hindu nationalist in hue. I argue the weakening of Congress has diminished the representation of the lower castes and classes, and this development led to the increasing power of regional parties with narrow electoral constituents. The hitherto under-represented groups—the lower caste groups and the lower economic classes—has found a footing in Indian electoral politics. I argue India has entered an epoch of multi-party electoral politics where national parties, in order to form a government, will be forced to reach out to smaller regional parties for support. I argue that the devolvement of political power from Delhi to regional capitals and groups is a better reflection of Indian society and its attendant politics. I argue India is becoming more democratic and increasingly the most deprived members of Indian society are exercising their right and taking part in electoral politics and their vote is more valuable than ever before.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-3047 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Thesis submitted to the Department of Political Science in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2006.
Date of Defense: February 6, 2006.
Keywords: Indian Electoral Politics, Hindu Nationalism, Indian National Congress, Congress, BJP, Bharatiya Janata Party, India, India Politilcs
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Dale Smith, Professor Directing Thesis; Scott Flanagan, Committee Member; Bawa Singh, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Political science
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Kim, Y. (2006). Indian Electoral Politics and the Rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Retrieved from