Part of a series on
Hindu politics

Major parties

Bharatiya Janata Party
Shiv Sena

Defunct parties

Hindu Mahasabha
Bharatiya Jana Sangh
Ram Rajya Parishad


Integral humanism
Hindu nationalism
Uniform civil code

Major figures

Bal Gangadhar Tilak
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar
Syama Prasad Mookerjee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Lal Krishna Advani
Bal Thackeray
Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya

Related authors

Vishal Agarwal
B.C. Chattopadhyay
Koenraad Elst
Francois Gautier
Sita Ram Goel
K.S. Lal
Harsh Narain
Yvette Rosser
Arun Shourie
Ram Swarup

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The Bharatiya Jana Sangh (abbreviated BJS, and often known simply as the Jan Sangh) existed from 1951 to 1980, whereupon it was succeeded by the Bharatiya Janata Party, one of India's largest political parties. Its name is Hindi for Indian People's Alliance.


The BJS was started by Syama Prasad Mookerjee on 21 October 1951 at Delhi in consultation with the RSS. The symbol of the party in Indian elections was the lamp. In 1952 general elections to the Parliament of India, Bharatiya Jana Sangh had won three seats; Mookerjee being one of the winning candidates. The BJS would often link up on issues and debates with the right-wing Swatantra Party of Chakravarti Rajgopalachari. Its strongest parliamentary performance came in the 1967 elections, when the Congress majority was its thinnest-ever.

Hindu nationalism

See Also: Hindu nationalism, Hindutva

The BJS was ideologically close to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and derived most of its political activist base and candidates from the RSS ranks. The BJS was considered the political arm of Hindu Nationalism, with the RSS being the central base. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, formed in 1967 would become the religious arm.

The BJS also attracted many conservative Congressmen who were disenchanted with the policies and politics of Jawaharlal Nehru and Congress socialists. The BJS's strongest constituencies were in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

The BJS leadership strongly supported a stringent policy against Pakistan and China, and were averse to the USSR and political Communism in India. Many BJS leaders also inaugurated the drive to ban cow slaughter nationwide in the early 1960s.


In 1975, Indira Gandhi declared a state of Emergency, and threw many major opposition politicians in jail including the leaders of the BJS. In 1977, the Emergency was withdrawn, and elections were held. The BJS, joined forces with the Bharatiya Lok Dal, the Congress (O), and the Socialist Party, to form the Janata Party (People's Party). The Janata Party became the first Indian government not led by the Indian National Congress. Former BJS leaders Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L. K. Advani became the External Affairs (Foreign), and Information and Broadcasting Ministers respectively.


After the Janata Party's poor showing in the 1980 elections, the former Bharatiya Jan Sangh members left to form the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has been one of the three largest Indian political parties since 1989

See also