ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Divided Sangh

Why is the Bharatiya Janata Party so divided, despite its political momentum?

The massive media-driven hype that has been created over the prime ministerial candidature of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is perhaps creating the atmospherics of a popular wave in his favour. At the very least, it has projected Modi as the “natural” choice for prime minister and has driven out almost all news of the fissures within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) family in general.

There is hardly a state where the BJP and the Sangh parivar are not fractured by competing factions. There are divisions within the BJP; there are divisions within the larger Sangh parivar which often overlap and sometimes run counter to the BJP factions. In most states where the BJP has a significant presence – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand – these are visible and well known locally but have not yet led to any major breaks. In states like Karnataka and Jharkhand these divisions have led to the break-up of the BJP, which the party is finding difficult to overcome. In Gujarat, though there are repeated and rancorous divisions within the BJP and the RSS, Modi has managed to politically defeat his rivals and make them electorally irrelevant. The national leadership of the BJP is deeply divided too, not just with the “rebellion” of L K Advani but along varied axes. As any observer of Hindutva politics knows, it was a combination of threats and promises which finally managed to get the fractious “national” leaders to “unitedly” back Modi for the prime ministerial candidature.

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