31 July, 2021

Operation Akhil Bharatiya

For the BJP, whose national footprint is yet to match its pan-Indian self-image, this is a fight for the final frontiers

Operation Akhil Bharatiya

Assembly elections are cussedly regional affairs —they are about local satraps, debates heavily accented in the local language, and ­last-mile politics. Why then would a bunch of five assembly polls, strewn across India’s corners, elicit talk of a ‘national’ factor? Especially when they present such a mismatched bouquet? Indeed, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry have robust differences between themselves in terms of political culture and history; adding Bengal and Assam to the mix can scarcely add any coherence to the picture. Why, then? Well, because there’s one element common to all of them: the BJP as a real, live factor. And the coincidental fact of these five states being geographically so far-flung actually enables us to discern a deeper movement in Indian politics. The BJP’s own growth as a truly national presence—a feat not yet accomplished, but an ongoing process that we can map in a month from now. Almost like a ‘download in progress’ bar.

But what is the BJP if not a national party? Well, from the days...

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