Analysts Say Election May Show Hindu Nationalism "On the Wane"

May 17, 2004

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

On May 17, 2004 The Christian Science Monitor reported, "For India's former ruling party, the BJP, the vote-counting was barely over before the finger-pointing began. Just hours after the Bharatiya Janata Party lost power last Thursday to the left-leaning Congress Party, BJP leaders came under harsh criticism, most of it coming from the Hindu nationalist party's staunchest supporters. The focus of their attacks was the BJP's 79-year-old popular prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who they claimed diluted the BJP's core values...To many observers, however, the lesson of the election was that economic disparities could no longer be trumped by appeals to Hindu unity. In fact, in a sign that Hindu nationalism may be on the wane, voters seemed fatigued with identity politics. The BJP fared poorly in regions most affected by the violent controversies surrounding Hindu nationalists' struggle to unite their brethren around a sense that India is first and foremost a Hindu nation."