Bharatiya Janata Party

Published 14th April, 2014

The Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP was founded in December 1980 as a breakaway group from the Janata Party and established itself in effect as the political wing of the radical, right-wing, Hindu Nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The party describes itself as right-wing and believes in Integral humanism, Hindu nationalism (Hindutva) and Social conservatism.

The symbol of the party is the Lotus and its colour is Saffron.

The Janata Party (JP) was a broad based party which emerged from the state of emergency imposed on India by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1975. In 1977 the JP won a large majority but its various factions fell out and the party disintegrated in 1980. It was from here that the BJP emerged, initially as a moderate Hindu nationalist party, but after winning just two seats in the 1984 general election they hardened their stance.

Over the next few years the BJP took a more ardent Hindu nationalist line in support of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and as a result in 1989 they increased their tally of seats to 85 in the 545 Lok Sabha. In 1991 they went up to 121 seats and in 1996 to 161 seats. In 1996 the BJP won 182 seats and was invited to form a government, it was to be short lived, lasting just 13 days.

It became clear that in the increasingly federal India the large parties needed to form alliances, and in 1998 the BJP formed the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) with 13 other parties. The BJP won 182 seats in the 1998 election but the NDA managed 245 seats out of the 545 seats in the Lok Sabha. They lasted a year before having to call another election. This time, in 1999, the BJP won 180 seats but the NDA won 270 seats and with the support of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) were able to form a government which lasted five years.

Headed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee the government was a success and it was a great surprise to almost everyone including the pollsters, when in 2004 the BJP dropped to 138 seats and the NDA managed only 181 seats that they found themselves out of power.

The BJP dropped further back in 2009, taking just 138 seats and the NDA managed just 159 seats. It looked as though the trend was firmly back with the Indian National Congress and its United Progressive Alliance (UPA). But the final two years leading up to the 2014 federal election was filled with corruption scandals and a worsening economic climate which has given the BJP an opportunity to come back once more.

Within the states, the BJP has emerged as a significant party in the west and north of the country but has struggled to gain traction in the south and east.

For the 2014 general election the other parties in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are:

• Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam

• Pattali Makkal Katchi

• Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

• Kongunadu Makkal Desia Katchi

• Indhiya Jananayaga Katchi

• New Justice Party

• Telugu Desam Party

• Jana Sena Party

• Shiv Sena

• Swabhimani Paksha

• Republican Party of India (Athvale)

• Rashtriya Samaj Paksha

• Shiromani Akali Dal

• Lok Janshakti Party

• Rashtriya Lok Samata Party

• Haryana Janhit Congress

• Apna Dal

• Kerala Congress (Nationalist)

• Revolutionary Socialist Party (Bolshevik)

• All India N.R. Congress

• National People’s Party (India)

• Naga People’s Front

• United Democratic Front

• Manipur Peoples Party

• North-East Regional Political Front

• Gorkha Janmukti Morcha

• Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party

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