The Central Force Behind India’s Fourth Party System

The Central Force Behind India’s Fourth Party System

Ecomonic and Political Weekly , 1 March 2021

Is the BJP's rise a result of piggy-backing on Narendra Modi’s unique appeal or did Modi fast-forward a historical process that was imagined and set in motion by the Bharatiya Janata Party and its predecessors almost a century ago? We argue that a long-term political realignment was perhaps made inevitable by the ideological shift along with the structural makeup of the Indian society and Modi can be more pointedly credited with quickening the pace of history. We also suggest that Modi’s leadership, in no small part, has helped contain the emerging contradictions within the BJP system. However, it is unlikely that the departure of Modi would represent an abrupt end to the BJP-dominant system, rather the increasing electoral expansion of the BJP indicates further shifting of India’s ideological space in the party’s favour.