The simplest way to understand the enormity of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory Friday in India’s election is to place it in historical context.
For the first time since 1984, India’s voters have given a single party rather than a ragtag coalition a majority in Parliament. The BJP won 282 seats, 10 more than the 272 needed to reach the halfway mark in the 543-seat lower house of Parliament. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance coalition snagged 336 seats.
For the first time ever, India’s traditionally left-leaning politics has moved decisively to the right. Even when it won more seats than the left-of-center Congress Party in three elections in the late 1990s, the BJP always lagged its rival in share of the popular vote. This time the BJP snagged nearly one third of the national vote, while Congress claimed less than a fifth. The BJP also made inroads into…
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