Bharatiya Janata Party
|Bharatiya Janata Party
Indian People's Party
|Party leader||Amit Shah|
|Place of foundation||Delhi , India|
|Youth organization||Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha|
national conservatism ,
|Number of members||147.8 million (14.78 crore )|
International Democratic Union ,
Asia Pacific Democrat Union
The Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP ; Hindi भारतीय जनता पार्टी bhāratīya janatā pārṭī ; ; "Indian People's Party") is a right-wing , Indian nationalist party in India that has become one of the strongest within twenty years since it was founded in 1980 parliamentary powers have grown and temporarily outperformed the Congress party . The BJP is registered as a “national party” of India by the Indian Electoral Commission . Between 1998 and 2004 she formed the government in India with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee . Since 2014 it has again been the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi . In 2015, the BJP was the political party with the largest number of members not only in India but also worldwide.
Party history and ideological basis
The ideological forerunner of the BJP is the Bharatiya Jana Sangh ("Jan Sangh") founded in 1951 , which was absorbed in 1977 in the newly founded Janata Party . Many later senior BJP leaders, such as Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani , already held important positions in the Jan Sangh and Janata parties. After the disintegration of the Janata Party between 1978 and 1979 and the defeat in the parliamentary elections in 1980 , the Jan Sangh was re-established, but this time under the name 'Bharatiya Janata Party' (BJP).
The BJP is ideologically linked to a network of Hindu nationalist organizations of the Sangh Parivar . These include the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which acts as a national volunteer corps, and the self-appointed World Council of Hindus Vishva Hindu Parishad . The central idea of these organizations is ultimately that India is the homeland and a country of the Hindus. Other religions (in particular Islam and Christianity - Buddhism , Sikhism and Jainism , on the other hand, are seen as parts of the larger Hindu community) have invaded India in the past and converted some of the Hindus, to a considerable extent, to alien religions under duress. It is therefore important to strengthen the self-confidence and position of the Hindus and to prevent other religions from spreading further. ' Hindutva ' is understood as a cultural nationalism that favors Indian culture over westernization and thus extends to all Indians regardless of religion.
In the first decade and a half of its existence, the BJP had the reputation of an outspoken "riot party" among many observers and its political opponents, which systematically incited the emotions of the masses and promoted communalist ideas. In particular, the former party president, interior minister and deputy prime minister Lal Krishna Advani earned a reputation as a hardliner . The political leaders of the BJP accepted with a wink that the mass events they organized could also lead to uncontrolled and uncontrollable outbreaks of violence by the incited masses, and instrumentalized these outbreaks for their own purposes. The high point of this policy was the 1992 pilgrimage organized by the BJP and its Hindu nationalist sister organizations to the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya in northern India , which, according to tradition, was built on the foundations of a destroyed Hindu temple at the birthplace of the Hindu god Rama . What had been announced as a pure pilgrimage ended in an act of vandalism when the mosque was literally razed to the ground on December 6, 1992 by hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims. In response, there followed months of violence between Hindus and Muslims across India, particularly in Bombay , killing thousands. The BJP was also assigned responsibility for the outbreaks of violence in Gujarat between Hindus and Muslims in 2002 , as the incumbent BJP government under the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi was very reluctant to take action against the pogrom-like riots.
The appearance and action of the BJP has moderated considerably since the first years of government responsibility during the legislative period 1998/99 to 2004. The horror scenarios that were predicted by their political opponents in the event of their accession to power did not materialize at the time. Today, the BJP strives for a moderate, conservative and at the same time modern appearance in public. Nevertheless, the “radical” image from her early years still lingers, and her political opponents like to try this again and again, especially during election campaigns. Some western authors classify today's BJP as “ national conservative ”.
The party color of the BJP is the saffron orange , which is considered the color of Hinduism. In the English-speaking Indian press, the BJP is therefore often referred to as the saffron party . The term saffronisation (“saffronisation”) is occasionally used for their Hindutva policy (mostly used critically) and for acts of violence by Hindu nationalists there is the term saffron terror . The party symbol is the lotus flower , which is of great importance in Hinduism and Buddhism. It is considered a symbol of purity and traditionally many deities are represented sitting in an open lotus flower.
Reasons for the rise of the BJP
The BJP's forerunner party, Jan Sangh, never won more than 10% of the vote in the all-India elections from 1951 to 1971. The voter potential of the BJP was originally around 10 to 15% of the electorate. In the 1990s, the BJP party strategists realized that with this electorate and with the simultaneous resolute rejection of Hindu nationalist ideology by almost all other Indian parties, no government majority could be obtained. For example, when the BJP rose to become the strongest party in parliament after the parliamentary elections in 1996 , almost all of the parties represented there refused to even tolerate a BJP-led minority government. The 1990s were also marked by extreme fragmentation of the Indian party spectrum. Despite the relative majority suffrage, no party seemed to be able to achieve an absolute majority on its own, as it had always been the case in previous decades. Therefore, the BJP began to form electoral alliances and coalitions with other small parties at the local state level. Before the all-India election in 1998 , a large multi-party alliance was finally formed under the leadership of the BJP, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The NDA still exists today, albeit in a significantly changing composition.
The rise of the BJP to one of the leading Indian parties in the 1980s and 1990s had several reasons. On the one hand, since the time of Indira Gandhi , the Congress Party was completely fixated on the Nehru Gandhi family , so that the policies of the Congress Party were largely determined by a few members of this family, which had a negative effect on the development of a competent leadership elite. After the death of Indira Gandhi in 1984, the Congress party got into a leadership crisis in the following years. In addition, their reputation has been shaken by corruption scandals. It lost some of its previous integrating power and many of its voters (especially members of the lower castes and Muslims) turned away from it and began to vote for other parties. The BJP, on the other hand, has remained relatively free of nepotism to this day. Family clans that dominate party politics, as is the case in many Indian parties, never existed there. Both prime ministers that the BJP has provided so far (Vajpayee and Modi) were or are unmarried and have or had no descendants to provide for posts. Second, the BJP was characterized by a relatively strict internal party organization and discipline, to which the ideological training provided by the RSS may have contributed, which had a beneficial effect in politics and in elections. Most of the other parties, including the Congress Party, were affected by repeated splits of individual larger factions or regional party organizations, which did not happen with the BJP. And thirdly, the BJP had capable and organizationally skilled leaders at its head during this period, namely Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani .
Development since 1998, reigns under the BJP
The first Indian Prime Minister from the ranks of the BJP was Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He served briefly in 1996 and then from 1998 to 2004. Vajpayee was a man of the moderate wing of the BJP who also enjoyed considerable prestige among the Indian electorate well beyond his party. The fears that were often expressed in the run-up to elections about a BJP-led government were largely not fulfilled. However, Vajpayee was also dependent on his many coalition partners who would not have followed a Hindutva policy. Under his government there was a further liberalization of the economy, the stylization of India's foreign policy as a rising power, e.g. B. with nuclear weapons tests, and notably also attempts at a détente policy with the alleged archenemy Pakistan .
The parliamentary elections in 2004 resulted despite the seemingly relatively positive balance of the Vajpayee government in the loss of the government majority. This was attributed, on the one hand, to the defection of the smaller NDA parties into the camp of the rival Congress party, and, on the other hand, to a poor style of government at the state level. The Gujarat pogroms and a failed election campaign led by the BJP under the slogan India Shining probably also played a role . The poorer population in particular found it difficult to identify with it.
In the 2009 parliamentary elections, the BJP also performed relatively disappointingly. This was essentially attributed to two factors. On the one hand, voters judged the economic policy of incumbent Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (Congress Party) to be relatively successful. On the other hand, the BJP top candidate Lal Krishna Advani enjoyed the reputation of a Hindu ideologist and uncompromising hardliner , so that he was not eligible for many voters.
In the 2014 general election , in which its top candidate Narendra Modi , the former Chief Minister of Gujarat , presented himself as a dynamic and un-ideological modernizer, the BJP won a landslide. With 31% of the votes and favored by the relative majority voting right, it obtained an absolute majority (51.9%) of the parliamentary seats. Together with the allied parties of the National Democratic Alliance, it has 334 seats in the Lok Sabha , which is 61.5% of the total seats . The BJP was also very successful in the elections to the regional parliaments in Maharashtra , Haryana , Jharkhand , Goa and Jammu and Kashmir in 2014. In 2016, the BJP even won the election in Assam , where it had hardly played a role for a long time, while the important election in Bihar in 2015 was lost.
In the 2019 parliamentary election , the BJP gained more votes and seats. According to international judgments, the balance sheet of the BJP's economic policy turned out to be mixed: high economic growth and successes in structural modernization, but also high unemployment and only a slight improvement in the living conditions of the poorest. In the run-up to the election, the BJP party leadership tried to score points with a strong stance towards Pakistan and to win votes in the Indian northeast with the promise of a rigid citizenship and anti-immigration policy.
List of party leaders
The following list shows the party leaders (party presidents) of the BJP since it was founded in 1980.
|Term of office||Surname|
|1980-1986||Atal Bihari Vajpayee|
|1986-1990||Lal Krishna Advani|
|1991-1993||Murli Manohar Joshi|
|1993-1998||Lal Krishna Advani|
|2004-2005||Lal Krishna Advani|
|since 2014||Amit Shah|
The following table shows the election results (won mandates) of the BJP in the national parliamentary elections. Since the current majority voting system favors large parties, the BJP won significantly more seats in all elections except 1984 than it would have received in a proportional representation .
Seats in parliament
|1984||Elected Lok Sabha in 1984||7.74%|
|1989||Elected Lok Sabha in 1989||11.36%|
|1991||Election for Lok Sabha in 1991||20.11%|
|1996||Elected Lok Sabha 1996||20.29%|
|1998||Election for Lok Sabha in 1998||25.59%|
|1999||Election for Lok Sabha 1999||23.75%|
|2004||Election for Lok Sabha 2004||22.16%|
|2009||Election for Lok Sabha 2009||18.80%|
|2014||Election for Lok Sabha 2014||31.34%|
|2019||Election for Lok Sabha 2019||37.76%|
- Official website of the BJP
- BJP vis-à-vis Hindu Resurgence Online version of the book about the BJP by Koenraad Elst
- Background information on the BJP by Eric Töpfer on suedasien.info
- 'World's Largest Political Party' BJP Crosses 10-Crore Membership Mark. NDTV.com, April 20, 2015, accessed October 30, 2015 .
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- Saffron party turns things around in Weir bypolls. The Deccan Herald, September 10, 2014, accessed October 2, 2014 .
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- NDA Government warned against saffronization of education. The Hindu, July 31, 2014, accessed October 2, 2014 .
- 'Saffron terror' remark controversy: Sushil Kumar Shinde to clarify, stand-off to end soon: sources. NDTV.com, February 20, 2013, accessed October 2, 2014 .
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- Harbaksh Singh Nanda: India's Vajpayee: Right you, wrong party. upi.com, May 14, 2004, accessed October 2, 2014 .
- Christophe Jaffrelot: India in the grip of the Hindu nationalists - LMd. Retrieved February 7, 2020 .
- BJP website: BJP Presidents from 1980 to 2009 .