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Bharatiya Janata Party

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP; "Indian People's Party") is one of the largest political parties in India. It is the successor party of the BJS, which merged itself into the Janata Party in 1977. The BJP was formed as a separate party in 1980 after internal differences in the Janata Party resulted in the collapse of its government in 1979.

Founder (of BJS): Syama Prasad Mookerjee (1901-1953)

Today, it is the dominant component of the National Democratic Alliance which forms the present Indian government which is currently headed by AB Vajpayee with Lal Krishna Advani as the deputy prime minister. The party has close ties to the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) organization and is considered by many to be responsible for inciting Hindu-Muslim riots in a number of occassions. Muslim groups claim that workers of the BJP were responsibe for destroying the historic Babri Mosque in Ayhodiya.

The BJP considers itself to be a Hindutva party and defines Hindutva not in terms of religion but as Indian-ness. According to the party this is in consonance with the root meaning of the word Hindu by which the Arabs referred to all people inhabiting India. However the BJP is considered by some to be a Hindu-fundamentalist or even a Hindu-fascist party.

In 2002, Abdul Kalam, architect of the Indian nuclear programme, was nominated by the BJP inspite of being a Muslim to become President of India and he won the subsequent elections for the post. Some people relate this to BJP's dependence on the votes of other parties in the electoral college.

On January 10, 2004, the BJP hinted at the possibility of elections to the Lok Sabha to be held earlier than scheduled in March. (The Constitution of India gives this right to the Prime Minister)

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