This is the political party in India which since 1996 has had more seats in parliament then any other party, but never an absolute majority. They support Indian nationalism, Orthodox Hindu religious practices, enhancement of India's nuclear capability, and favor restrictions on foreign investment. The Party leader and current prime minister is Atal Behari Vajpayee. The party is currently attempting to attract the support of some Muslims.

Many accuse them of inaction or even tacit encouragement of the recent anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat. As in the United States, political parties support both local and national leaders. Gujarat is the only one of India's 28 states lead by a member of the BJP, and many believe this is one of the reasons for the central governments inaction. Atal Behari Vajpayee made some indication he would like the government of Gujarat to step down, but was persuaded to yield by party hard liners.


Review Essay in the July-August 2002 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine by Radha Kumar.