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Interrogating India's ModernityDemocracy, Identity, and Citizenship$
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Surinder Jodhka

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780198092070

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198092070.001.0001

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Between Hindu Nationalism and Coalition Politics

Between Hindu Nationalism and Coalition Politics

Jana Sangh, BJP, and the ‘Moderation Thesis’ Regarding the ‘Radical Parties’

Chapter:
(p.166) 7 Between Hindu Nationalism and Coalition Politics
Source:
Interrogating India's Modernity
Author(s):

Christophe Jaffrelot

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198092070.003.0008

Focusing on the ‘right-wing’ radical political formations in India, the essay examines how far their participation in electoral process has produced a process of moderation. As per the proposed ‘hypothesis’, when an extremist party contests elections in a democratic framework, it accepts institutions that are based on liberal principles and dilute its ideology to attract voters outside of its core constituency. When radical parties become power-driven, those who fail to win an absolute majority are likely to rely on alliances with parties that do not share its extremism. Though the extremist parties emerge from ideological movements displaying a deep sense of doctrinal purity, they gradually dilute their ideology in the process of transforming from niche into mass parties. The history of the right-wing radical parties in India shows that this process of moderation is not linear. There have been instances where while participating in the electoral process, religious political parties became even more radical.

Keywords:   moderates, nationalists, right-wing radical parties, elections, government, voters, politics, coalition politics, Hindu nationalism

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