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Political scientist Rajni Kothari had written how what he called the Congress system had developed its hegemony over India in the decades after Independence. This hegemonic system provided political stability in a very diverse country because it mirrored the complexities of India.

It will be three years this week since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept to power in the general elections after an energetic campaign led by Narendra Modi.

The party has since had even more success in local elections—with important exceptions such as the loss in Bihar. It is fair to say that the BJP is now the hegemonic force in Indian politics. All opposition politics is now a reaction to what the party does.

The BJP system is not a threat to democracy any more than the Congress system it is replacing was. The key is credibility. The political challenge is whether the new hegemonic force in Indian politics can become a big tent rather than reflect the Manichaean world view of its ideological core.

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