The recent election of the Hindu nationalist BJP seems likely to further erode cultural pluralism and minority rights in India.
In India’s recent national elections, a single party gained the majority of the seats in the lower house of parliament for the first time since 1984. That party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has consistently aimed to consolidate the Indian nation around certain elite Hindu cultures and marginalize religious minorities, gained its highest ever vote share (31.0%, compared to 18.8% in the last elections of 2009) and now rules the country on its own for the first time.
Its majoritarian goals contrast with the way the Congress Party, which preceded the BJP in power, presents itself. The Congress party’s rhetoric upholds pluralism and the formation of India from diverse yet overlapping religious and ethnic cultures. The ascent of the BJP could seriously erode pluralism. Without the potentially moderating effect of operating in a coalition with other parties, the BJP seems likely to heighten the Hindu majoritarian tendencies that have existed since independence, and increase minority marginalization and religious violence.
Posters in support of Narendra Modi put up in Mumbai pic.twitter.com/Kwxfb9AhTI— ANI (@ANI_news) July 18, 2013