Chapter

Dismantling the ‘Congress System’

Julia M. Eckert

in The Charisma of Direct Action

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780195660449
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199082001 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195660449.003.0009
Dismantling the ‘Congress System’

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This chapter investigates the expansion of the Shiv Sena into the Maharashtrian rural areas after the mid 1980s, and the socio-political context of the ‘Congress-system’. Inspired by the ideology of Hindutva, the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance formed the only effective alternative to the Congress’ structures in Maharashtra, and thus were able to attract many who sought alternative avenues of political mobility. The electoral campaigns of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance were run on the common terrain of Hindu nationalism and communalism. The politics of the Shiv Sena towards Dalits illustrates the party’s usual strategy to win over minorities: offers of acceptance with threats of violence. The author discusses the alliance arithmetic of the Shiv Sena and the BJP, and how factionalism within the Congress helped in their victory in the 1996.

Keywords: expansion; Congress-system; Shiv Sena; Bharatiya Janata Party; Maharashtra; Hindutava; Shiv Sena/BJP alliance; electoral campaigns; Lok Sabha elections; power

Chapter.  10611 words. 

Subjects: Indian Politics

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