- Japan Association for Asian Studies
- アジア研究 (ISSN:00449237)
- vol.61, no.4, pp.3-21, 2015
Can we interpret the result of the 2014 general elections in India as the re-emergence of Hindu nationalism? If we can, does this mean that the majority support exclusive nationalism that is propagated by Hindu nationalists? In this article, in order to answer these questions, I analyze elector's voting behavior at national, state, and village levels. <BR>At the national level, the election issues were the mal-governance of the incumbent UPA government as exemplified by stagflation and corruption, and the exalted hope in the capacity of Narendra Modi's decisive leadership to solve these economic difficulties. In this election, the lower strata of society, that is, the Lower Backward Castes and Scheduled Castes, who were not traditional supporters of the BJP, voted for Narendra Modi's BJP. In this sense, the BJP succeeded in consolidating the long-awaited "Hindu vote" in a loose way. This does not necessarily mean that the "Hindu vote" supports the exclusive Hindu nationalism that was expressed during the 2002 Gujarat carnage. However, they did implicitly endorse the political decision that Modi took at that time. <BR>In Bihar, which the BJP has been eager to capture for a long time but had failed to do so, the BJP and its alliance won the election. On analysis, the voting behavior in the state shows the same trend as at the national level. Considering the good reputation of the incumbent JD(U) state government, this result may reflect strategic voting behavior in which many voters took account of the national elections. However, we can observe that the "Hindu vote" is loosely taking shape in Bihar, also. <BR>Lastly, at the village level, the BJP could not win in the constituency where I conducted my fieldwork. However, the BJP candidate did succeed in getting a considerable number of votes. In a Yadav dominated village, most Yadavs supported the RJD, which is known as the Yadav's party, and the Scheduled Castes supported the JD(U) government. However, among stubborn supporters of the RJD, there were some who held out strong hopes for Modi. Their main concerns are economic issues, not the exclusion of minorities. <BR>In conclusion, BJP's victory represents the aspiration of voters for economic betterment. On the other hand, the political responsibility for the 2002 Gujarat carnage has become a thing of the past. The present Modi BJP government does not seem interested in instigating religious violence to consolidate their power. However, if they fail to meet voters' aspirations, the danger of a violent exclusion of the minority is ever-present as Hindu nationalists have vigorously conducted an anti-Muslim campaign since Modi seized power.