ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The BJP's 2014 'Modi Wave'

An Ideological Consolidation of the Right

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party put together an unprecedented social coalition: in addition to the upper castes and Other Backward Classes, it received support from the scheduled tribes and scheduled castes. We argue that the BJP built this coalition, in addition to energising its traditional base of social conservatives, by mobilising voters who favour less state intervention in the economy. Narendra Modi's anointment as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate aided this strategy, as Modi is widely perceived to be a socially conservative, pro-market leader. The sclerotic performance of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government over the past few years compounded the BJP's own efforts. Though the BJP's support base remains Hindu, upper caste, and Hindi-speaking, these other two factors helped the BJP break the social and geographical barriers necessary to secure an outright Lok Sabha majority.

We would like to thank K C Suri, O N Chhibber, Poulomi Chakrabarti,and Susan Ostermann for reading the earlier draft of this paper.

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