Bharatiya Janata Party

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Indian Political Party The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP; "Indian People's Party") is one of the largest political parties in India. In the 13th Lok Sabha (1999-2004) it was the single largest party with 182 (out of 545) members. It is the successor party of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh (BJS; "Indian Peoples Alliance", often referred to as just the Jan Sangh), which merged itself into the Janata Party in 1977. The BJP was formed as a separate party in 1980 after internal differences in the Janata Party resulted in the collapse of its government in 1979. BJP is part of the informal community of Hindu nationalist organisations called Sangh Parivar.

Founder (of BJS): Syama Prasad Mookerjee (1901-1953)

The logo of BJP
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Lok Sabha elections 2004, click for full image


It is the dominant component of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). As the largest party in opposition former party president and Deputy Prime Minister in the previous government Lal Krishna Advani is the leader of the opposition in the 13th Lok Sabha. The party has close ties with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) organization. The rise of Mr. Advani, a product of the RSS cadre, post the 2004 elections in which the BJP-led NDA lost power, is seen as indicative of the return of a hardline RSS policy stance in constrast to the more moderate Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, the outgoing prime minister in 2004. Economically, the party's policies of late have been reformist and fiscally conservative though earlier there was a strong flair of protectionism. Apart from economics, key planks have been and remain in varying degrees the cultivation of Hindutva, induction of a uniform civil code, development of the Indian nuclear programme and the contentious reconstruction of temples destroyed during the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb's reign in place of the mosques that now inhabit their places. In 1998, the BJP government gave the go-ahead for the Indian nuclear tests.

Officially, the BJP considers itself to be a secular party and defines Hindutva not in terms of religion but as Indian-ness. According to the party this is in consonance with the root meaning of the word Hindu. Nevertheless, a number of third-party commentators describe the party's politics and policies as Hindu Nationalist. The party has also throughout its history tried to highlight the achievements and political ideology of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the right wing freedom fighter Vinayak Damodar Savarkar during the Indian independence movement.

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BJP election poster 2004 in Bengali.
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BJP Mahila Morcha poster

The party has been part of several instances of communal violence in the previous two decades. In particular, the party's role in the Babrij Masjid demolition of December 6, 1992 and subsequent riots, and the Gujarat riots of 2002 stand out. In the Gujarat riots of 2002, Narendra Modi, the BJP Chief Minister of Gujarat and a RSS man, in particular, came under severe censure domestically and internationally for his government's role in the matter. He has been indicted by many human-rights organizations for allowing angry Hindu mobs to pillage Muslim shops and homes while the state's law enforcement authorities looked on. An attempt to take disciplinary action against him by the moderate Mr. Vajpayee and his supporters, was forestalled by Mr. Advani and hardline members of the party. He has so far never been indicted or charge sheeted by a legal entity.

Following the 2004 elections, NDA (the BJP-led governing coalition) was confronted with its failure to secure sufficient seats to form a government. There were significant setbacks in rural states, but the BJP also had major reversals in key urban centres including Mumbai, Calcutta, Delhi and Chennai. This electoral shock was due to its perceived inability to extend the benefits of strong economic growth to a broader range of the populace. Disaffection was particularly evident amongst the rural electorate, suffering under the pressures of drought, a dearth of infrastructure investment, and relative impoverishment. The post-godhra riots in Gujarat were also seen as a factor. The mantle of power has thus passed to the alliance headed by the United Progressive Alliance. Furthermore, since the election there has been a fair degree of internal politics, previously unknown in party famed for its discpline, as the BJP tries and re-organizes itself and its policies in anticipation of future elections.

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hi:भारतीय जनता पार्टी ja:インド人民党 sv:Bharatiya Janata Party ta:பாரதீய ஜனதாக் கட்சி zh:印度人民党 fr:Bharatiya Janata Party


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