HomeIndia NewsNalin Mehta's article: 'Congress system' lasted 50 years, now the new BJP...

Nalin Mehta’s article: ‘Congress system’ lasted 50 years, now the new BJP system can maintain dominance till 2047

New Delhi: After independence, for the next 50 years, the Congress party dominated the political scene of the country. After 2014 that place has been taken by BJP. Nalin Mehta, author of ‘The New BJP’ and Dean of School of Modern Media, UPES, has done an analysis of the dominance of Congress and BJP in our ally, Times of India. He writes that a few months after the death of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964, a young political thinker Rajni Kothari wrote an article titled ‘Congress System in India’. In this he argued that India’s political system is dominated by ‘one party’. It was a competitive politics but other political parties could not get stronger.

Rajni had described the Congress as a consensus party. Then the pressure of the opposition parties could not remain effective due to the dominance of the Congress. In this political system the margin of pressure increased or decreased at the time of election. However, a fragmented and divided opposition at the national level made the Congress ‘consent’ more valid. This old Congress system largely continued from Nehru to Narasimha Rao and largely collapsed by the 50th year of independence. After two decades of transition, it has now been replaced by the ‘new BJP system’.

BJP vs Others
This new BJP system has taken its roots by the 75th year of India’s independence. However, the framework of the system is still emerging. This system, which took shape during the tenure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi after 2014, has progressed following two decades of political brainstorming and experimentation in Indian politics. It can maintain its dominance in Indian politics for the next three decades i.e. till 2047, the 100th year of independence. There may be victory or defeat in different elections but the electoral struggle will be for BJP or against BJP. Something similar, as it used to be during the time of Congress.

How strong is this shift?
In the first general election in 1996, a year before India’s golden jubilee was celebrated, the vote share of the Congress fell below 30 per cent. After that it did not cross this figure. Sonia Gandhi handled this decline in 1998 by taking over the reins of the party. The Congress was also brought to power twice but the vote share could not increase.

BJP-Congress vote share in general elections.

On the other hand, the vote share of the BJP has been consistently above 20 per cent since the 1990s and crossed the 30 per cent mark for the first time in the 2014 elections. In the last election, the saffron party reached 37.6 percent.

Expansion into new areas
Although the Hindi-speaking region has helped the BJP to move forward, the saffron party’s growth in other areas is no less important. In the Northeast, the BJP dropped from 12.8 per cent in 2009 to 33.7 per cent in 2019. In eastern India, the support base increased from 9.3 per cent to 39.7 per cent. In West India it rose from 27.6 percent to 39.8 percent and in South India from 11.9 percent to 17.9 percent.

By 2047, it is estimated that Telangana, Odisha and West Bengal will also have BJP’s first chief ministers. Even in Tamil Nadu, the amazingness of the saffron party can be seen. Due to merger and acquisition, BJP can bloom lotus, on the basis of which its influence is visible in the Northeast today.

bjp congress seat share

BJP-Congress sheet share in general elections

Social Alliance, Consensus on Hindutva
Hindutva was a major obstacle in the progress of the BJP during the good days of the Congress. But ideology is no longer a disqualifier. Today it is an important part of the BJP’s core brand and its electoral chariot with precise social alliances continues to grow. Politically, it can be expected that the BJP will firmly pursue the Hindutva agenda for the next two decades.

The Yogi model can set an example for many aspiring BJP satraps.

bjp rss

BJP, RSS and Communist Party of China.

bigger than rss
The BJP has had a long symbiotic relationship with the RSS, but it has largely left behind that dependence as it moves forward. Between 2014 and 2019, the BJP expanded five-fold, almost double the size of the Communist Party of China. As of 2019, the BJP had 174 million members, which is 29 times the estimated size of the Sangh. With new women voters, social engineering and penetration into rural India, the BJP created the largest national-level cadre of its kind since the Congress in the 1950s. The BJP has set up 522 party offices in about two-thirds of the districts of India. These are important centers of deep penetration of the party.

New opposition?
Like the old Congress system, the BJP is benefiting from a weak opposition at the national level. In practical terms, the real opposition is now at the regional level. A new national opposition may take shape after the Modi era. For example, the Aam Aadmi Party can replace the Congress as the main opposition force.

However, whether or not this happens will depend on many different factors. Even a week is a long time in politics. Historian E. H. Kar said that predicting history is nothing more than a ‘parlor game’ but the direction of political change in India is clear.

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