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Let’s Talk About: BJP’s ideological dilemma and voter base, Ep 2

From Indira’s assassination to Babri demolition, a look at events that helped the party recast itself amid the tumultuous politics of the ’80 and ’90s.

WrittenBy:NL Team

In the sociopolitical landscape of the ’80s and ’90s, the BJP found itself at a crossroads, trying hard to consolidate its support base while navigating between Gandhian socialism and Hindu nationalism under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani.

Welcome to the second episode of Let’s Talk About: BJP, which looks at events that helped the party recast itself within the Indian polity, from Indira Gandhi’s assassination, to the Mandal Commission, the Shah Bano case, Advani’s Rath Yatra and the Babri demolition.

With speakers such as Vinay Sitapati, Arati Jerath, Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, Christophe Jaffrelot, Subramanian Swamy and KN Govindacharya, this episode also explores the RSS-BJP relationship and the rise of Mandal politics.

Comparing the politics of the current BJP to the party under Advani, Arati Jerath, a veteran journalist, says, “There was a communal angle back then but it was never violent, like the kind of vigilantism that we see today. Instead they propagated cultural nationalism, a lofty idealistic ideology that was palatable to the Hindu caste…people didn’t want the violent edge that is there today.”

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