Rethinking Institutional Theories of Political Moderation: The Case of Hindu Nationalism in India, 1996-2004

Comparative Politics, 38, 3 (April 2006): 317-337.

11 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2016

See all articles by Sanjay Ruparelia

Sanjay Ruparelia

New School for Social Research - Department of Politics

Date Written: April 1, 2006

Abstract

This article examines whether India’s democratic regime moderated the politics of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during its tenure in office between 1996 and 2004. It demonstrates how the centrist logic of India’s plurality-rule electoral system, parliamentary form of cabinet government and semi-consociational federal party system compelled the BJP to moderate its official ideological position after 1996. However, it also reveals the ways in which the BJP circumvented these institutional constraints in various realms, manipulated the terms of discourse to its own partisan advantage and shifted the center of gravity in politics to the right during this period. In doing so, the article elucidates the strengths and weaknesses of institutional theories in explaining the prospects and assessing the dangers of militant ethnic-religious nationalism.

Suggested Citation

Ruparelia, Sanjay, Rethinking Institutional Theories of Political Moderation: The Case of Hindu Nationalism in India, 1996-2004 (April 1, 2006). Comparative Politics, 38, 3 (April 2006): 317-337., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2807210

Sanjay Ruparelia (Contact Author)

New School for Social Research - Department of Politics ( email )

NY
United States

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