The margin of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) 2019 election victory took many political analysts by surprise. And, according to new research, the BJP’s resounding victory marks the beginning of a radically new chapter in Indian politics.

In an article published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, an American think-tank, Milan Vaishnav and Jamie Hintson use historical election data and post-election studies to show that India has moved on from coalition politics, which characterized Indian politics from 1989 to 2014, to a new dominant party system which is premised on a unique set of political principles.

To illustrate BJP’s dominance, they show how the party has made inroads into uncharted political territory (such as East India) and draw support from nearly all Hindu caste groups. Even at state level, the BJP’s clout is increasing with the party contributing 32% of all Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) across India. According to the authors, if the BJP performs well in upcoming state polls in Haryana, Jharkhand, and Maharashtra, it could claim a majority in the Rajya Sabha by the end of 2020.

The authors also suggest that the reduction in India’s political fragmentation, weaker political competition and increased voter turnout over the last two general elections have contributed to the BJP’s rise.

Finally, underpinning this dominance, the authors suggest, is BJP’s new, nationalist narrative which resonates strongly with Indian voters. The BJP, partly through Narendra Modi’s charismatic leadership, has developed an image as being pro-development and anti-corruption. Supplementing this a well-resourced national party machinery far ahead of its competitors. All these factors suggest that India is now witnessing a new electoral order.

Also Read: The Dawn of India’s Fourth Party System

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