Bharatiya Jana Sangh
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Bharatiya Jana Sangh

The Bharatiya Jana Sangh (abbrv. BJS or JS, short name: Jan Sangh, full name: Akhil Bharatiya Jana Sangh[7]) was an Indian right wing political party that existed from 1951 to 1977 and was the political arm of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist volunteer organisation.[8] In 1977, it merged with several other left, centre and right parties opposed to the Indian National Congress and formed the Janata Party. In 1980, Jana Sangh faction broke away from Janata Party over the issue of dual membership (of the political Janata Party and the social organization RSS), and formed Bharatiya Janata Party.


Syama Prasad Mookerjee, founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh

After 1949, members of the right-wing Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) began to contemplate the formation of a political party to continue their work, begun in the days of the British Raj, and take their ideology further. Around the same time, Syama Prasad Mookerjee left the Hindu Mahasabha political party that he had once led because of a disagreement with that party over permitting non-Hindu membership.[9][10][11] The BJS was subsequently started by Mookerjee on 21 October 1951[12] in Delhi, with the collaboration of the RSS, as a "nationalistic alternative" to the Congress Party.[13]

The symbol of the party in Indian elections was an oil lamp and, like the RSS, its ideology was centred on Hindutva. In the 1952 general elections to the Parliament of India, BJS won three seats, Mookerjee being one of the winning candidates. The BJS would often link up on issues and debates with the centre-right Swatantra Party of Chakravarti Rajagopalachari.[] After the death of Mookerjee in 1953, RSS activists in the BJS edged out the career politicians and made it a political arm of the RSS and an integral part of the RSS family of organisations (Sangh Parivar).[14]

The strongest election performance of the BJS came in the 1967 Lok Sabha election, when the Congress majority was its thinnest ever.[15]


The BJS was ideologically close to the RSS, and derived most of its political activist base and candidates from the RSS ranks. It also attracted many economically conservative members of Congress who were disenchanted with the more socialist policies and politics of Jawaharlal Nehru and the Congress Party. The BJS's strongest constituencies were in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.[]

The BJS leadership strongly supported a stringent policy against Pakistan and China, and were averse to the USSR and communism. Many BJS leaders also inaugurated the drive to ban cow slaughter nationwide in the early 1960s.[16]

Emergency of 1975

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 what was by then called 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.[]

Chronological list of presidents

1. Syama Prasad Mookerjee (1951-52)
2. Mauli Chandra Sharma (1954)
3. Prem Nath Dogra (1955)
4. Debaprasad Ghosh (1956-59)
5. Pitambar Das (1960)
6. Avasarala Rama Rao (1961)
4. Debaprasad Ghosh (1962)
7. Raghu Vira (1963)
8. Debaprasad Ghosh (1964)
4. Bachhraj Vyas (1965)
9. Balraj Madhok (1966)
10. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya (1967-68)
11. Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1968-72)
12. Lal Krishna Advani (1973-77)

In general elections

The Bharatiya Jana Sangh was created in 1951, and the first general election it contested was in 1951-52, in which it won only three Lok Sabha seats, in line with the four seats won by Hindu Mahasabha and three seats won by Ram Rajya Parishad. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee and Durga Charan Banerjee were elected from Bengal and Uma Shankar Trivedi from Rajasthan. All the like-minded parties formed a block in the Parliament, led by Shyama Prasad Mookerjee.[17][18]


  1. ^ Graham, Bruce D. "The Jana Sangh as a Hindu Nationalist Rally". Hindu Nationalism and Indian Politics. Cambridge University Press. p. 94.
  2. ^ Thachil, Tariq (2014). Elite Parties, Poor Voters. Cambridge University Press. p. 42.
  3. ^ Kochanek, Stanley (2007). India: Government and Politics in a Developing Nation. Cengage Learning. p. 333.
  4. ^ Baxter, Craig (1969). The Jana Sangh: a biography of an Indian political party. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 171.
  5. ^ Marty, Martin E. (1996). Fundamentalisms and the State. University of Chicago Press. p. 418.
  6. ^ Field, John Osgood. Electoral Politics in the Indian States. Manohar Book Service. p. 28.
  7. ^ Donald Anthony Low, ed. (1968), Soundings in Modern South Asian History, University of California Press, pp. 372-, GGKEY:6YPJXGZBWJQ
  8. ^ Gurumurthy, S (16 October 2013). "Lifting of the ban on the RSS was unconditional". The Hindu. Retrieved 2018.
  9. ^ Urmila Sharma & SK Sharma 2001, p. 381.
  10. ^ Kedar Nath Kumar 1990, pp. 20-21.
  11. ^ Islam 2006b, p. 227.
  12. ^ "FOUNDING OF JAN SANGH". Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ Sharad Gupta; Sanjiv Sinha (18 January 2000). "Revive Jan Sangh -- BJP hardlines". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  14. ^ Kanungo, Pralaya (November 2006), "Myth of the Monolith: The RSS Wrestles to Discipline Its Political Progeny", Social Scientist, 34 (11/12): 51-69, JSTOR 27644183
  15. ^ "General Election of India 1967, 4th Lok Sabha" (PDF). Election Commission of India. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 July 2014. Retrieved 2010.
  16. ^ "Anti-cow slaughter mob storms Parliament | From the Archives (dated November 8, 1966)". The Hindu. 8 November 2016. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2020. Thousands of rupees worth of damage to buildings and vehicles, both private and public, was caused by the mob which, in a violent and vociferous way, was demonstrating for the imposition of a ban on cow slaughter by Government. The parties who organised the demonstration, the number of participants in which was estimated between 3 lakhs and 7 lakhs, were the Jan Sangh, the Hindu Mahasabha, the Arya Samaj and the Sanatan Dharma Sabha
  17. ^ a b Nag 2014, chapter 1.
  18. ^ a b c d Archis Mohan (9 October 2014). "The roots of India's second republic". Business Standard. Retrieved 2014.
  19. ^ a b c d e Andersen & Damle 1987, p. 165.
  20. ^ Nag 2014, chapter 4.


Further reading

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