Rise of Right.
From 2 seats in 1984 to 282 seats in 2014 and 303 seats in 2019, there is no question on the rise of right in Indian politics.
Thomas Blom Hanson in his book SAFFRON WAVE has explained the phenomenal rise of BJP and the forces of Hindutva. Milan Vaishnav also suggests that there is a big change in the electoral behaviour of people in India. For long, Indian politics was based on the agenda of secularism and minoritism. The present Indian politics is a rejection of both minoritism and Congress version of secularism and the assertion of majoritarianism in combination with the concern for good governance and development.
1] In 1984, BJP got 2 seats and 7.4% of total votes.
2] In 1989, BJP got 88 seats and vote share of 11.56%.
3] In 1991, BJP got 120 seats and vote share of 20.95.
4] In 1196, BJP got 161 seats and vote share of 20.3%.
5] In 1998, BJP got 182 seats and vote share of 25%.
6] In 1999, BJP got 183 seats and vote share of 23%.
7] In 2004, BJP got 138 seats and vote share of 22.16%.
8] In 2009, BJP got 116 seats and vote share of 18.8%.
9] In 2014, BJP got 282 seats and vote share of 31.5%.
10] In 2019, BJP got 303 seats and vote share of 37.36%.
Causes of the rise of BJP.
1] Decline in Congress.
2] Demise of the left.
3] Organizational strength till grassroot level.
4] Nationalistic rhetoric.
– NRIs provide huge support to BJP’s policies.
– Globalization has given rise to ethnic politics worldwide, leading to strengthening of religious identity.
– The rising fear of Islamic fundamentalism.
– Economic policy which matches with globalization.
– The growth of middle class in India.
6] Strong leadership.
History of BJP.
BJP is a successor to Jana Sangha formed in 1951 by Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. The other prominent leader was Pt. Deendayal Upaddhyaya.
Party believed that strong opposition was necessary for democracy. So they wanted to give strong challenge to Nehruvian consensus.
Jan Sangha was part of Janata Party govt. In 1980, over the disputes of association with RSS and policy of secularism, Jana Sangha members came out of Janata Party and formed BJP on 6 April 1980.
BJP is influenced by cultural nationalism, Gandhian socialism, positive secularism.
Unlike Hindu Mahasabha, positive secularism of BJP aims at giving equal protection to all religions.
Integral Humanism of Pt. Deendayal Upaddhyaya.
According to Pt. Deendayal Upaddhyaya, western ideas are not suitable for India because they have not been part of India’s history. India should adopt modern science but not the western way of life. He gives the example of Japan, which has modernized without adopting western culture.
Integral Humanism is a philosophy based on Indian way of life. It is a philosophy which integrates mind, body and soul.
Views of Scholars
Views of Thomas Blom Hanson.
According to Hanson, rise of BJP is not a religious phenomenon, nor is it a strictly political phenomenon. It is happening in the backdrop of the democratic transformation taking place in the country. As lower castes and OBCs are mobilizing themselves, the amorphous Indian middle class becomes anxious. Even lower class Hindus got attracted towards BJP’s majoritarianism rhetoric, constructed in the name of nationalism, cultural pride, order, development and leadership.
With the decline of Congress, people were left with two options: Left or BJP.
Left ideology lacked imagination. Left also lacked leadership. Right appeared to be a better option from all perspectives.
The sense of insecurity among the Hindus as Congress policies were seen as minority appeasement. Congress, which was once an umbrella party, has been reduced to the status of party of minority.
Left Parties in India
Praful Bidwai, in his book PHOENIX MOVEMENT: CHALLENGES CONFRONTING INDIAN LEFT. Suggests that the decline of left is an old story. It is surprising that left in India could never take root despite the prevalence of mass poverty. It is also surprising that youth in India is attracted towards right rather than toward left.
2019 elections showed the worst performance of left. Left managed to get only 5 seats and 2.33% of vote share. The best performance of left was in 2004 when they got 64 seats.
Initially left was the major opposition to the Congress. It’s vote share was double the vote share of Jan Sangha (rightist party). Today rightists are in position to form government on its own. BJP has given a halt to coalition politics. But unfortunately today, the left has got completely marginalized.
There have been following problem with Indian left.
1] Because of their shifting stand during Indian freedom struggle, left could never gain the trust of Indian masses.
2] Neither then, nor now left has presented any serious understanding of the peculiar circumstances of Indian Politics. They are still dependent on imported doctrines.
3] The principle of democratic centralism, which does not allow dissent and internal debate has been the factor for weakening of left. Left in India also has high command culture.
4] Left leaders do not have grassroot base. Most of them have been picked up from universities.
5] Left agenda was initially hijacked by INC and now by AAP. Congress was a better version of Indian form of socialism and AAP is a better version of new left.
6] There is a lack of internal solidarity among the left parties.
7] The main feature of the left politics is politics of social movements as radical democracy. But left has confined itself to the electoral politics.
8] Left in India hs not done the politics of class or development. It has also done the politics of religion and caste.
9] Globalization has made left ideology redundant. Left ideology does not meet the ambitions of youth in India.
10] Left foreign policy is completely redundant. Left has taken up the foreign policy left by Congress. Today the strongest advocate of non-alignment is not Congress, rather Indian left.
11] Left foreign policy is based on anti-globalization, anti-Americanism and pro-Chinese stand.
12] Left also lacks leadership. For 2014 elections, none of the left leaders was among the top preference for Prime Ministerial post.
13] Globalization has created foot loose workforce. Hence it is difficult to build and organize trade unions.
14] Left lost in W.B. because the left govt. in W.B. used force on his own constituency and favoured its adversarial class (corporate class).
Indian left needs introspection. It is much better if they go back to the original idea of left politics i.e. politics of social movement, radical democracy, organizing the exploited sections of society and working for their rights.1