Smart

India's Election Shakeup

There's been bad news for conservative Hindus in India recently. The Bharatiya Janata Party got trounced in the recent parliamentary elections in its second consecutive loss, which has imploded the Hindu right and kicked off a collective soul-searching. In Telheka, Sudheendra Kulkarni, political adviser to the BJP, tore the party apart in a candid essay that has rocked India. Among Kulkarni's revelations: the BJP has to rethink its advocacy of Hindutva, or "Hindu-ness,"because it's unclear how the party defines Hindutva; the party failed to reach out to Hindu Dalits (untouchables); the party failed to win needed Muslim votes because the party is "so dogmatic" that any attempt to address that community's concerns is "brushed aside as 'appeasement'"; and the BJP ran an excessively negative campaign that failed to enthuse the middle class.