What Lies Beneath the Successes of Hindutva: Reading the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2022

AuthorPrashant K. Trivedi,Shilp Shikha Singh
Published date01 December 2022
Date01 December 2022
Subject MatterOriginal Articles
What Lies Beneath the Successes
of Hindutva: Reading the Uttar
Pradesh Assembly Elections 2022
Prashant K. Trivedi1 and Shilp Shikha Singh1
What explains the success of the Bhartiya Janta Party in the 18th Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha election?
Hindutva gets the due credit but the socio-political dynamics beneath Hindutva is often sidelined in
political discussions. What makes Hindutva appealing? Is Hindutva a fixed ideology or an ever-evolving
one? How does Hindutva correspond with the lived realities of people? How does Hindutva plug the
alternative discourse of Social Justice? How does Hindutva redefine Dalit politics? While exploring
these questions, the article seeks to shift the discourse from the site of culture-identity-ideology to
the site of social and political-economic changes. While tracking the trajectory and nature of Hindutva
politics, the article also indicates some of the trends that emerged during this election. Based on qualita-
tive data, the article argues that it was essentially the dynamic nature of Hindutva that outwitted social
justice politics.
Dalit politics, Hindutva, Indian politics, representation, Uttar Pradesh
Each election unfolds a new story; there are new dynamics that work on the ground responding to the
changed realities of the time. The Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2022 had to respond to many such
changed realities—prolonged pandemic, loss of life and livelihood, the rising cost of living and
administrative handling of people’s protests on various issues. The election results also presented a
puzzle to social scientists, many of whom have been analysing the ascendency of Hindutva using time-
tested models of identity politics, while some others tried to untangle the intricate web of culture and
politics on an ideological plane (Bhattacharjee, 2021; Palshikar, 2018). While none of these analyses was
essentially wrong, this article begins from the vantage point that there was more to it than what met eyes.
Further, recent scholarship has captured the changing nature and organizational and ideological
flexibility of contemporary Hindu nationalism. For instance, Anderson and Longkumer (2018) have
explored the evolving forms, spaces and expressions of contemporary Hindu nationalism through the
framework of ‘neo-Hindutva’. The work highlights how Hindutva increasingly permeates into new
spaces: organizational, territorial, conceptual and rhetorical. Similarly, Narayan’s (2021) account
Original Article
1 Giri Institute of Development Studies, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
Corresponding author:
Prashant K. Trivedi, Giri Institute of Development Studies, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226024, India.
E-mail: prashantcsd@gmail.com
Studies in Indian Politics
10(2) 214–226, 2022
© 2022 Lokniti, Centre for the
Study of Developing Societies
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/23210230221135832

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