The Hindutva Doctrine and Bharatiya Janata Party in 2019 Elections in India: Critical Discourse Analysis
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This study is an attempt to understand how the doctrine of Hindutva which considers Hindu- chauvinism as the spirit of Indian nationalism has played a central role in the development of populist discourse of Bharatiya Janata Party during the 2019 general elections in India. The BJP has close ideological association with ultra-right-wing Hindu organization the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh which laid foundation of modern-era Hindutva movement, and incidents of persecution and intolerance towards minorities have also increased under rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi since 2014. Especially the Muslims of India have been tagged as the foreigners by the BJP. This study uses the three-dimensional model of critical discourse analysis presented by Norman Fairclough to qualitatively assess the textual and visual discursive texts shared by the Bharatiya Janata Party and its key leaders on Twitter during 2019 election campaign. Additionally, the election speeches of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have also been analyzed through development of themes and sub-themes on the basis of the essentials of populism and Hindutva doctrine simultaneously. The mythological and historical basis of Hindutva doctrine, and theoretical debate on populism have also been taken into consideration to find answers to the research questions and it was found that the Hindutva ideology played a central role in the electoral campaign of the BJP and helped it in the construction of the people and the antagonizing others, the identification of a charismatic leader, the portrayal of politically reluctant agenda and the definition of a foreign enemy. It was also found that the BJP excessively used historical and mythological references, symbolism, ritualistic notions and promised Hindutva- focused political and constitutional reforms to assert that it was the contemporary political face of the Hindutva doctrine and that it was totally committed to the cause of Hindutva. This study hence demonstrates how the political and public discourse of the world’s largest democracy is being shaped by using ultra right-wing populist discourse as an effective tool of political communication to pave the way for reduced political liberties, undemocratic practices and Hindu chauvinism.