Indian Decade

Can BJP Rise Again?

The BJP rose like a Phoenix. But is its right-wing rhetoric too fiery for Indian voters?

India’s main opposition Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced a new team of office bearers—the first major reshuffle since the appointment of new party President Nitin Gadkari. But, unfortunately for the BJP, some newspapers have already dismissed the changes as ‘high on glam low on quality’.

Ever since the BJP lost elections in 2004, and was again defeated in 2009, the party has been making more noise than news. This is tough on a party that rose like a phoenix on the Indian political scene, but which has quickly lost its charm and appeal.

So is this a failure of the party or the rejection of the right wing nature of the group by the Indian people? Can a change of faces in the organization make the party appealing to the masses? Can it capture the popular imagination of the public be or anything like a party that can appeals to all of India?

If the BJP is to find satisfactory answers to these questions, it will need a radical rethink of the ideology on which it has based a divisive agenda, one that sees India through the prism of a Hindu past and overlooks the existence of other religious minorities. This politics of exclusion has until now stopped the Hindu right wing party from emerging as an alternative to the Congress Party, which for its part claims to practice the politics of inclusion.