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Bharatiya Janata Party
Chairperson Narendra Singh Tomar
Parliamentary Chairperson Narendra singh Tomar
Leader in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj
Leader in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley
Founded 1980
Headquarters 11 Ashoka Road
New Delhi, India
110001
Newspaper Kamal Sandesh
Ideology Progressivism
Hindutva
Integral humanism
Nationalism
Economic liberalism
Free market
Alliance National Democratic Alliance (NDA)
Seats in Lok Sabha 114
Seats in Rajya Sabha 55
Website
Official Website
Politics of India
Political parties
Elections
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Bharatiya Janata Party
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Bharatiya Jana Sangh  · History of the BJP  · Organisation of the BJP  · Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha  · Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh  · Bharatiya Kisan Sangh  · BJP Mahila Morcha  · BJP Minority Morcha  · List of MP in the 14th Lok Sabha

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) (Hindi: भारतीय जनता पार्टी [भाजपा]), translation: Indian People's Party) is a major political party in India, founded in 1980. The party is associated with Hindu nationalism and advocates conservative social policies, self-reliance, free market economics, foreign policy driven by a nationalist agenda, and strong national defense[1].

The BJP, in alliance with several other parties, was in power from 1998 to 2004, with Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the Prime Minister and Lal Krishna Advani as his deputy. It is the biggest constituent of the National Democratic Alliance which is currently in the opposition.

Contents

History

The BJP is the current form of the erstwhile Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS, Indian People's Union), which was founded in 1951 by Syama Prasad Mookerjee as the political wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The fortunes of the young party took a dip in 1953, when Mookherjee was jailed in Kashmir by then Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru[citation needed]. After Mookerjee's death in prison, the BJS lasted for 24 more years, but never seriously challenged the power of Indian National Congress[citation needed]. It did however groom future political leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani, who were in the party when it was a constituent of the Janata Party government in 1977[2].

The Janata government did not last long. Morarji Desai resigned as Prime Minister, and the Janata party was dissolved soon after. The BJS had devoted political organization to sustain the coalition and was left exhausted by the internecine wars within the Janata Party.

In 1980 Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, founded the Bharatiya Janata Party with Vajpayee as its first President. The BJP was a strong critic of the Congress government that followed the Janata rule, and while it opposed the Sikh militancy that was rising in the state of Punjab, it also blamed Indira Gandhi for divisive and corrupt politics that fostered the militancy at national expense. Leader Darasingh opines that Vajpayee thus "brought in Hindu-Sikh harmony."[3]

However, The BJP never supported Operation Bluestar, the BJP strongly protested violence against Sikhs in Delhi that broke out in 1984 following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by one of her Sikh bodyguards. Vajpayee was known and commended for protecting Sikhs against Congress-followers seeking to avenge the death of their leader.[citation needed] The BJP was left with only two parliamentary seats in the 1984 elections; the party, however, had established itself in the mainstream of Indian politics, and soon began expanding its organization to attract young Indians throughout the country. During this period Vajpayee remained center-stage as party President and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, but increasingly hard-line Hindu nationalists began to rise within the party and define its politics.

The BJP became the political voice of the Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir Movement, which was led by activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the RSS, and was seeking to build a temple dedicated to Lord Rama at the site of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya. Hindu activists believed the site was the birthplace of the Lord, and thus qualified as one of the most sacred sites of Hinduism.

On December 6, 1992, hundreds of VHP and BJP activists broke down an organized protest into a frenzied attack, and brought down the mosque. Over the following weeks, waves of violence between Hindus and Muslims erupted in various parts of the country, killing over 1000 people. The VHP was banned by the government, and many BJP leaders including Lal Krishna Advani were arrested briefly for provoking the destruction. Although widely condemned by many across the country for playing politics with sensitive issues, the BJP won the support of millions of conservative Hindus, as well as national prominence.

With victory in assembly elections of Gujarat and Maharashtra in March 1995, and a good performance in the elections to the Karnataka assembly in December 1994 propelled the BJP to the centerstage. During the BJP session at Mumbai in November 1995, BJP President L.K.Advani declared that Vajpayee would be the Prime Minister of India if the BJP won next parliamentary elections held in May 1996.

In the Lok Sabha elections held in 1998 the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) obtained a simple majority. This time, the BJP (NDA) had allied with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Biju Janata Dal besides its existing allies, the Samata Party, the Shiromani Akali Dal and Shiv Sena. Outside support was provided by the Telugu Desam Party. The NDA had a slim majority, and Vajpayee returned as Prime Minister after a 13-day stint in 1996. [3] But the coalition ruptured in May 1999 when the leader of AIADMK, Jayalalitha, withdrew her support, and fresh elections were again called.

On 13 October 1999, the BJP-led NDA won 303 seats. The BJP alone had its highest ever tally of 183. Vajpayee became Prime Minister for the third time, and Advani became the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister. This NDA Government lasted its term of five years. Vajpayee and his economic team, led by Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, continuing the policies initiated by the previous Congress Government under P V Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh, pushed through major privatizations of big government corporations, the liberalization of trade under World Trade Organization rules, opening the skies to commercial airlines, foreign investment and ownership and allowed private companies such as Mahindra World City and Reliance to build Special Economic Zones where property developers could build new cities with world-class infrastructure for factories that export products.

The BJP and the NDA suffered an unexpected defeat in the general elections in 2004, and failed to muster a parliamentary majority. A.B. Vajpayee was succeeded as Prime Minister by Dr. Manmohan Singh of the Congress Party, and its United Progressive Alliance.

In the 2009 general elections, BJP again faced defeat and its strength in Lok Sabha reduced to 159 with a loss of about 17 seats. The unexpected defeat of BJP is attributed to bad performance of party in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Andhra Pradesh.

Achievements

In 2004, the Government signed the South Asia Free Trade Agreement with Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, a decision intended to vastly benefit over 1.6 billion people.[citation needed]

BJP's political alliances and their consequent dilution of hindutva ideology created a noticeable rift between the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party in ideological terms. The RSS, from where a good deal of BJP leaders have migrated, has sought the party to take a more aggressive stand on ideological issues such as the building of the Ayodhya mandir and the adoption of a Uniform Civil Code. It prefers a swadeshi economic model of "Hindu socialism". The BJP as part of NDA, while in power at the Centre, could not pursue ideological tenets such as Ayodhya or the Civil Code to ensure that its allies continued their support.[citation needed]

Organisation

The highest authority in the party is the President. Officially, the BJP constitution provides for a three-year term for the President. Recently, both Venkaiah Naidu and LK Advani resigned ahead of schedule due to factionalism and controversies. Rajnath Singh held this post from 2006 to 2009, he was succedded by Nitin Gadkari. Beyond this, there are several Vice-Presidents, General-Secretaries, Treasurers and Secretaries. The National Executive consists of an undetermined number of senior party leaders from across the nation who are the highest decision-making body in the party. At the state level, a similar structure is in place, with every state unit being led by the respective President, who also officially serves a three-year term.

The rank-and-file leadership of BJP largely derives from the cadre of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which has millions of affiliates. It also maintains close links to other Sangh Parivar organisations, such as Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (an organisation promoting protectionism).

National Leadership

State leadership

Mass organisations associated with the BJP include

Objectives and policies

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee with U.S. President George W. Bush in the Oval Office. Indo-US relations touched a new high under the Vajpayee administration.

The concept of Integral Humanism has a special place in its ideology, with the party aiming to transform India in to a modern, progressive and enlightened nation which draws inspiration from India's ancient Indian culture and values. As per the party's constitution the objectives of the party are explained thus:

"The party is pledged to build up India as a strong and prosperous nation, which is modern, progressive and enlightened in outlook and which proudly draws inspiration from India's ancient culture and values and thus is able to emerge as a great world power playing an effective role in the comity of Nations for the establishment of world peace and a just international order. The Party aims at establishing a democratic state which guarantees to all citizens irrespective of caste, creed or sex, political, social and economic justice, equality of opportunity and liberty of faith and expression. The Party shall bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established and to the principles of socialism, secularism and democracy and would uphold the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India."

Some of the professed goals of the BJP are[4]:

  • Anti terror measures - Revive the anti-terror mechanism that has been dismantled by the Congress; improve upon POTA to ensure it is more effective as an instrument of deterrence and a tool to prosecute offenders without innocent people being harassed; and, strengthen the operational role of the National Investigating Agency.
  • Special Courts for speedy prosecution - Special courts will be set up for speedy prosecution of those involved with acts of terrorism. Their trial shall be fair and justice will be done for the victims swiftly.
  • National identity card of all - BJP proposes to make it incumbent for every Indian to have a National Identity card. The National Identity Card will also strengthen national security by ensuring accurate citizen identity, thus tracking illegal immigration.
  • Food security - Provide 35 kg of rice or wheat every month to BPL families at Rs 2 per kg under an improved and expanded Antyodaya Anna Yojana. This will be available against ‘Food Coupons’ redeemable at both PDS and private outlets.
  • Energy security - It proposes to invest heavily in developing non-fossil fuel-based clean energy sources, especially for electricity production. Its goal will be to add at least 120,000 MW of power over the next five years, with 20 per cent of it coming from renewable sources.
  • Urban India - In pursuit of the principle of ‘Shelter for All’, 10 lakh dwelling units for the poor will be constructed every year. For existing urban centres, basic infrastructure facilities and amenities of water, drainage, roads, electricity, environment and solid waste management will be enhanced for a clean and healthy city life.
  • Agriculture - Waive agricultural loans. Set a maximum ceiling of 4 per cent interest for agricultural loans to farmers from banks. Introduce a pension scheme for aged and helpless farmers. Create irrigation facilities for an additional 35 million hectares of land in five years: This will generate rural jobs as well as benefit farmers. Drip irrigation will be promoted along with better water management and use of check dams.
  • Keeping farmers interest protected with the help of National Land Use Policy before land acquisition for infrastructure.
  • Education for all - The success story of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, launched by the NDA in 2002, shall be strengthened, extended and concretised further in quality, content and support systems. Implementation of the mid-day meal scheme shall be revitalised on modern management lines. Akshaya Patra Scheme will serve as a model for this purpose. Universalisation of secondary education shall be speedily implemented. Special emphasis will be given to girls’ education at the secondary level. Institutions of higher learning shall be given full autonomy, coupled with accountability, in real practice.
  • Article 370 - It poses a psychological barrier for the full integration of the people of Jammu & Kashmir with the national mainstream. The BJP remains committed to the abrogation of this Article.
  • To increase bilateral ties with USA and other Western bloc countries - an ideology that BJP has supported since its formation, in stark contrast to strong ties of Congress-led governments with Russia. BJP has since sought to and improved its relations with all post-Cold War nations allied to the Western front.
  • Health for all - Set up a National Regulatory Authority for private hospitals, nursing homes and special care facilities to ensure quality services, affordable fees and prevent/punish malpractice. While private sector participation in health care is welcome, it cannot become a source of unrestricted and unrestrained profit making at the expense of the people. Clean drinking water is one of the best barriers against common but often fatal diseases. The BJP proposes to make access to clean drinking water a fundamental right for all citizens.
  • One Earth, Green Earth - BJP wants to give appropriate importance to containing climate change. Lay importance on energy security and sustainable energy pathways by setting clear targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy.
  • Religious Conversions - The BJP wants to facilitate, under the auspices of noted religious leaders, the setting up of a permanent inter-faith consultative mechanism to promote harmony among and trust between communities[citation needed]. This mechanism will also be used for a sustained and sincere Inter-Faith Dialogue between leaders of the Hindu and Christian communities on all aspects of life, including the issue of religious conversions. The dialogue should be held in the spirit of the unanimous report of the Inter-Faith Dialogue on Conversions, which was organised at the Vatican in May 2006 by the Pontifical Council for Inter-Faith Dialogue and the World Council of Churches, Geneva.

The BJP stands for strong national defence, small government[citation needed], and Quasi-market (a market where only Indian companies can benefit) economic policies, but Integral Humanism has been its core philosophy and identity ever since its inception. The BJP stand on economic policies saw a sudden volte face in the mid nineties from a support of swadeshi products to the embracing of free market ideas. Another important factor is the ongoing territorial dispute over Jammu and Kashmir and the wars of 1947-48, 1962, 1965, and 1971, and recently the 1999 Kargil War. The BJP and its supporters feel India must remain vigilant against threats from Pakistan, the People's Republic of China, and elsewhere such as Bangladesh.

Economic policy under BJP-led governments at the state and center has been heavily focused on infrastructure building and pro-reform, which is congenial to Indian interests and to necessary conforming to international regulations (like environment laws) market-oriented economic growth without making subtle changes to the existing policies.

Indian Prime Ministers from the BJP

  • Atal Bihari Vajpayee - (1996), (1998-2004): Vajpayee served as the eleventh Prime Minister of India. After a brief stint as Prime Minister in 1996, Vajpayee headed a coalition government from March 19, 1998 until May 19, 2004. He served as a Member of Parliament (MP) from Lucknow until 2009, and has since retired from active politics.

BJP in various states

BJP ruled states marked in orange

BJP is currently in power in five states (Gujrat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Chattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh) where the party enjoys a majority of its own. In five other states — Punjab, Jharkhand, Nagaland, Uttrakhand and Bihar — it shares power with other alliance partners.

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List of current BJP Chief Ministers and Deputy Chief Ministers

Controversies and criticism

  • Ram Janambhoomi - The party has been criticized for its direct involvement in the movement which culminated in the destruction of the Babri Masjid in favor of building the Ram Janmabhoomi temple.
  • Communal violence - In 2002, communal riots happened in Gujarat under BJP rule, after an attack by a Muslim mob on a train comprising mostly of Hindu pilgrims.[5]. As a result, communal riots erupted in Gujarat. The state government of Gujarat and its Chief Minister Narendra Modi have been accused of helping the Hindu mobs, a charge that it denies[citation needed]. The National Human Rights Commission criticized the government, pointing to "a comprehensive failure on the part of the State Government of Gujarat to control persistent violations of rights. A judicial commission headed by G.T. Nanavati, a former chief justice of the Indian Supreme Court, constituted to examine allegations of Gujarat state administration's involvement in the riots of 2002 said that there was no evidence to implicate either Modi or his administration in the riots.[6]
  • Expulsion of a senior party leader and founder like Jaswant Singh for writing the book "Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence" has been questioned for suppression of freedom of expression and diverse voices within the party.[7]

List of presidents of the party

Year Name Place Rationale
1980 - 1986 Atal Bihari Vajpayee.jpg Atal Bihari Vajpayee Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
1986 - 1991 Lal Krishna Advani.jpg Lal Krishna Advani Karachi, British India First Term
1991 - 1993 MMJoshi.jpg Murli Manohar Joshi New Delhi
1993 - 1998 Lal Krishna Advani.jpg Lal Krishna Advani Karachi, British India Second Term
1998 - 2000 Kushabhau Thakre Madhya Pradesh
2000 - 2001 Bangaru Laxman Andhra Pradesh
2001 - 2002 Jana3.JPG Jana Krishnamurthi Tamil Nadu
2002 - 2004 M Venkaiah Naidu.jpg Venkaiah Naidu Nellore, Andhra Pradesh
2004 - 2006 Lal Krishna Advani.jpg Lal Krishna Advani Karachi, British India Third Term
2006 - 2009 Rajnath Singh1.jpg Rajnath Singh Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
2009- Nitin Gadkari 4 copy.jpg Nitin Gadkari Nagpur, Maharashtra

See also

References

External links


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