Book Review: The Rise of the BJP

The Book ‘ The Rise of the BJP’ is written by Bhupendra Yadav and Ila Patnaik. Bhupendra is a long time BJP politician and is currently a Minister in the Union Cabinet. Ila is a well known economist.

The Book traces the journey of BJP from its origins as Jan Sangh to the current behemoth it is now.

The Book makes for a fascinating read as it covers all the general elections from 1951 to 2019. As such, it is full of interesting details and trivia.

I was surprised to see the consistent high vote share that Socialist/Communist parties got in India till recently.

Another surprise for me was the fact that Indian National Congress till 1980s used to get more than 40% vote share which fell to less than 20% in 2014.

The Book traces the various elections and the main issues of those elections. The Book obviously has a very symphatetic bias to the BJP but does a good job in covering the vicissitudes of Indian politics.

After PM Modi & Amit Shah took charge of the BJP, the kind of focus they brought to the organisation & elections is truly breath taking.

In India, a typical voting booth is a physical location where about 1,000 voters cast their votes.There are about 1 Million polling booths in India. BJP had a person responsible for each booth. After each election , a post-mortem is done to understand reasons of success or failure.

Each booth has pages of voters called panna. Each panna has names of 20 to 30 voters.Since 40% vote share is enough to win elections, BJP targets to win around 12-15 voters of each panna. It tries to convert many of these voters to members of the party.

With this kind of focus, its no wonder that BJP is the largest political party in the world with a claimed membership of 180 million !

I would recommend this Book only to those interested in Indian politics.

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