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Let’s Talk About: BJP’s new power duo and shadow on Indian polity, Ep 4

Exploring the image makeovers of Narendra Modi and the transformation of Indian politics.

WrittenBy:NL Team

With Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s retirement and LK Advani’s poll rout, the 2014 Lok Sabha election paved the way for a new power duo to take over the BJP. It was after the RSS greenlighted Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as a prime ministerial candidate.

Welcome to the final episode of Let’s Talk About: BJP, which focuses on the ascendance of Modi, and his journey from being a Sangh pracharak to Raisina Hill. With subsequent image makeovers, he managed to recast himself as a “saviour” of the Indian security state and win a landmark mandate for his party in the 2019 polls.

With speakers such as Neerja Chaudhary, Christophe Jaffrelot, Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, Vinay Sitapati, Subramanian Swamy, Yashwant Sinha and Arati Jerath, the episode also explores the transformation of Indian politics over these years.

Mukhopadhyay notes that the BJP seems to be moving away from the “integral humanism” of Deen Dayal Upadhyay. “They criticise the BJP for concentrating power and employing state institutions to handle dissent, noting that Vajpayee and Advani were more open and democratic. Today, even the local election campaigns are focussed on Modi.”

Neerja shares her experience of meeting Vajpayee, who “always” greeted her “with a smile and without any grudge”. “However, in current times, the government is less open to criticism and often uses government agencies like the CBI and ED to tackle criticism. Even in state elections, the focus is on Modi rather than local candidates or issues.”

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