India’s defeated Hindu nationalist party faces survival test

September 2, 2009

advaniRiven by squabbling, India’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be forced to name a new leader in a crisis that could reshape the main opposition party, strengthening the left and hindering government efforts at financial reforms.

An election defeat in May touched off a leadership struggle and a debate over whether its Hindu-revivalist agenda, once its passport to power, was now irrelevant for younger voters. Moves are underway to replace 81-year-old leader L.K. Advani with someone from a younger generation, but the BJP is struggling to find a candidate who balances its pro-Hindu ideology (“Hindutva”) with its history of pro-market reforms.

(Photo: L.K. Advani campaigning, 29 April 2009/Jayanta Shaw)

Narendra Modi, the firebrand chief minister of western Gujarat state whose pro-market image saw leading Indian industrialists float his name as a potential future prime minister, appears to be sidelined. That signals the party is worried about losing the middle ground by boosting Modi, accused of turning a blind eye to religious riots in Gujarat in 2002 in which hundreds of people, mainly Muslims, were killed by mobs.

“For the BJP it is not only about leadership but also about what kind of politics the party would want to pursue — one that hinges on the Hindu identity or a liberal, responsible opposition,” said political analyst Amulya Ganguli.

Read the whole analysis here. For more on religion and politics in India, see Holding back the “religion card” in India’s election campaign.

Follow FaithWorld on Twitter at RTRFaithWorld


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

It is difficult for BJP/RSS to dilute, much less junk, its Muslim bashing Hindutva ideological plank, as the constituency that it has built up with its religio-chauvinistic platform, is a very large portion of its base and it cannot afford to relent on its aggressive anti-Muslim rhetoric. It has now become the prisoner of its own making. The Brahminical BJP faces opposition from both caste-ist as well as religious groups.

Posted by Ghulam Muhammed | Report as abusive

Of course the media will talk about”hindu” nationalists yet they will never mention the Muslim nationalists. How are hindus treated in pakistan and bangladesh? There is no secularism in islam, the mosque is the state and the state is the mosque. In turkey, for example they only reason they are not an islamic republic yet is due to the army’s loyalty to Ataturk. How much longer will it last and when will he be forgotten is another story. The expansionist element in Islam is at an instinctual level, and always will be look at the arab conquest to start with. Outside of India communism denotes anti-religion in general whereas in India communism is anti-hindu while at the same time inclined to giving Muslims and even Christians minority rights. The ultimate irony of this is that the muslim population of India are simply descendants of hindus that were converted. Wait until the muslims ask for another partition

Posted by Rob | Report as abusive

All Krittiwas writes is trash. She better do some research and study history of India beyond history as taught by books written by Christians and sickulars which is collection of lies and fed to Indians.

I doubt she would even know what Raja Bhoj did to the first Islamic Terrorist Mehmud of Ghaznavi. Sorry if this hurts anyone but folks like Timur the Lame and his descendant Babur and Babur’s entire lineage, Mehmud of Gaznavi, Nadir Shah etc were all terrorists. If someone thinks otherwise then Taliban, Al Quaeda etc are also in the same line as you would put the fore mentioned folks. Someone needs to research whether the muslims who first settled in South India were responsible for bringing the terrorists from outside.

Why doesn’t the author focus upon a better subject like the funding of evangelists and preachers in India by west and funding of muslims by islamic nation who are actively interested in changing demographies of the nation and destruction of the democratic and all inclusiveness tradition of the nation. India is turning more towards hate and losing the base (All Paths to God are Fine) as Christians and Muslims propagate more and more lies.

See this web site of Christians writing all crap and spreading hate in India d-Christ-same.htm . One can find similar web of lies being propagated by persons like Zakir Naik in India

The Christians missionaries and evangelists have stooped down to such low levels that they lift terms from Sanskrit and try to confuse people that Sanatan Dharma is Christianity… They have even lifted a term like Deepawali and associated it to spread Christianity messages. But what to say of hypocrites from west and people like Krittiwas with mentality to blame Sanatan Dharmis as if they are perpetual sinners. It is a sickular mentality and not secular mentality to time and again project that Christians/ Muslims are perpetually holy and better than perfection and Sanatan Dharmis perpetual sinners.

It is a shame that persons like Krittiwas, Ghulam Muhammed understand that Sanatan Dharma bashing is secular. Maybe they do it because bashing of Islam and Christianity will result in physical harm while bashing of Sanatan Dharma would result in limelight from media.

Posted by Rohit | Report as abusive