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Nitish’s Dilemma

Remembering Emergency

June is the month to remember the “emergency” for lessons that we never learned. Of late, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been in the forefront of memorialising it while the Congress party usually feigns amnesia on this count.

What Makes BJP Really Different

It is not very difficult to identify features that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) shares with other parties. As actors in a common political environment and institutional set-up, parties evolve many similarities. However, it would be a mistake to overemphasise these similarities.

Party with a Difference?

From adopting winnability as the core principle of nominating candidates to removing political appointees of the previous government, and in dealing with governments of opposition parties, the behaviour of the Bharatiya Janata Party has been so much like the Congress that the latter would rejoice in the assurance that there is no mukti from its ways and manners. The crucial difference between the BJP and other parties is that it is able to instil a sense of destiny not just among its rank and file but also the general public and convince it that the party is doing desh seva while others have been doing only politics.

India’s Second Dominant Party System

The conflation between nationalism and Hindutva has been the backbone of the new hegemony. That is why the Bharatiya Janata Party has been so happy with intellectuals trying to problematise the nation. That particular intellectual initiative simultaneously places the BJP in a position of immense advantage and ensures that “anti-BJP” would necessarily be equated with the anti-national! Independently, both ideas—Hindutva and development—are potent political discourses. By weaving them together with nationalism, Narendra Modi has bound them into an arsenal of his political offensive.

India’s Second Dominant Party System

The conflation between nationalism and Hindutva has been the backbone of the new hegemony. That is why the BJP has been so happy with intellectuals trying to problematise the nation. That particular intellectual initiative simultaneously places the BJP in a position of immense advantage and ensures that “anti-BJP” would necessarily be equated with the anti-national!  Independently, both ideas—Hindutva and development—are potent political discourses. By weaving them together with nationalism Narendra Modi has bound them into an arsenal of his political offensive. Therefore, the coming times would be less about electoral victories and more about the onward march of this hegemony in the realm of popular imagination; about how democracy shapes up in Modi’s new India.

Interpreting the Mandate in Jammu and Kashmir

Congress in the Times of the post-Congress Era

Behind the dramatic demise of the Congress in 2014 is a long history dating back to the 1970s and 1980s. The Congress has often chosen to ignore those deeper reasons for its recent decline. Similarly, the failure of the Congress as also its possible strengths become evident only when we disaggregate the decline of the party state-wise. This leads to a curious but useful pointer-- the party may have to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party in states where it is locked in a bipolar contest with the BJP in order to create political space for itself. Above all, this paper argues that more than the leadership issue, the factors responsible for the decline of the Congress are the organisational neglect and complete abdication of politics. The paper then maps the challenges and limitations facing the Congress, particularly in its third life, the phase of survival.

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