Bharatiya Janata Party - Ideology and Political Positions

Ideology and Political Positions

Atal Bihari Vajpayee considers the European concept of "secularism" inappropriate for Indian culture, and places it in opposition to Mohandas Gandhi's doctrine of Sarva Dharma Sambhava, which he considers India's own, traditional form of secularism. He describes the Indian secular as follows:

Mahatma Gandhi describes the correct attitude towards religion as 'Sarva Dharma Sambhava', equal respect to all religions. The concept of 'Sarva Dharma Sambhava' is somewhat different from European secularism, which is independent of religion ... We may say that the Indian concept of secularism is that of Sarva Dharma Sambhava ... Sarva Dharma Sambhava is not against any religion. It treats all religions with equal respect. And, therefore, it can be said that the Indian concept of secularism is more positive.

The concept of Integral Humanism has a special place in its ideology, the BJP's right-wing politics include some aspects of modern conservatism, social conservatism, progressivism and enlightened nation which draws inspiration from India's ancient Indian culture and values. As per the party's constitution the objectives of the party are explained thus:

"The party is pledged to build up India as a strong and prosperous nation, which is modern, progressive and enlightened in outlook and which proudly draws inspiration from India's ancient culture and values and thus is able to emerge as a great world power, playing an effective role in the community of nations for the establishment of world peace and a just international order. The Party aims at establishing a democratic state which guarantees to all citizens irrespective of caste, creed or sex, political, social and economic justice, equality of opportunity and liberty of faith and expression. The Party shall bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established and to the principles of socialism, secularism and democracy and would uphold the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India."

The BJP stands for strong national defense, small government, and some Quasi-market economic policies, but Integral Humanism has been its core philosophy and identity ever since its inception. The BJP's stand on economic policies saw a sudden volte face in the mid nineties from support of swadeshi products to the embracing of free market ideas. Another important factor is the ongoing territorial dispute over Jammu and Kashmir and the wars of 1947–48, 1962, 1965, and 1971, and recently the 1999 Kargil War. The party strongly advocates the view that Kashmir should remain an integral part of the country.

Economic policy under BJP-led governments at the state and Center has been heavily focused on infrastructure building and pro-reform, which is congenial to Indian interests and to necessary conforming to international regulations, (like environment laws) market-oriented economic growth without making subtle changes to the existing policies.

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