‘The transformation of the BJP from a small player in the political scene to the premier, possibly new dominant formation in India has led to much comment but not as much quality scholarship as one might have expected. Dr Mehta brings to this subject the keen energy of a journalist and observer with the patience of an archivist. His analysis has much that will excite, surprise, and provoke critical thought even as it informs and gives a sense of perspective.
‘It is especially notable how work on the growth of the Sangh and the party in the last two decades are matched by careful examination of key moments in the early years of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh. A book that will be indispensable for the study of contemporary India.’
—Professor Mahesh Rangarajan, Chair, Ashoka Archives of Contemporary India, Ashoka University, and former Vice Chancellor, Krea University
‘I’ve had the pleasure of reading drafts of all the chapters of Nalin Mehta’s manuscript on the Bharatiya Janata Party. In my opinion, it is going to be a classic, a book that will be read widely and for a long time. Its readership will include scholars, political activists and anyone whose job or interest lies in understanding contemporary India and the processes that have shaped it.
‘First, the book is founded on an impressive original database, assembled for the first time for this project. This database enables Mehta to test and analyse the changing characteristics and growth spurts of party membership in ways that have not been done before.
‘Second, Mehta uses his energy and connections as a journalist to reinforce the book with extensive interviews. Again, they are new and original, not re-hashes of other journalists’ work. They are detailed and often colourful. More important, they enable Mehta to test the findings of the database by asking questions of both senior and rank-and-file party members. Do people on the ground “fit” with what the data appear to be saying?
‘Third, Mehta is a journalist and media analyst, but he is also a scholar with a PhD and a groundbreaking book, appreciated both by academics and general readers, on the explosion of the Indian television industry in the 1990s. His scholarship has enabled him to give a historical depth to the new book—to go back to original sources to explore how individuals, parties, organisations and ideas rise and fall.
‘Fourth, Mehta can write. In the manuscript, he finds his voice as a detective, an analyst and a storyteller. It is a voice that only someone with his varied experience can achieve.
‘Fifth, the book raises big questions for political and social studies. To what extent, and how, do individuals shape political parties? To what extent do communications limit or empower political organisations? How unique is India’s recent political experience and how much is it part of trends and processes? What is to be learned from India about political organisation and democratic government in the twenty-first century? The book’s focus on the way that the political convictions of a few can be disseminated and organised using twenty-first-century technologies has international significance.
‘This is an important and readable book. It is going to be around for a while.’
—Professor Robin Jeffrey, Visiting Research Professor, National University of Singapore; Emeritus Professor, Australian National University, Canberra & La Trobe University, Melbourne
‘Mehta’s masterful account of the evolution and rise of the BJP deftly weaves an enormous amount of material into an expansive and authoritative account of modern India. This brilliantly revealing portrait of the inner workings of the party—its ideological bedrock, organisational structure and economic outlook—is brimming with insights about India’s cultural contradictions, political alliances and searing religious tensions. Mehta’s benchmark study deftly brings together the freshness and vigour of on-the-ground reporting with scholarly precision and vivid descriptions of India’s political, economic and social systems. An urgent investigation of Indian democracy, its electoral system and voting patterns; written with anthropological attentiveness to local idioms, gender structure, caste conflict and class relations: a major achievement.’
—Professor Assa Doron, Professor of Anthropology and South Asia, Founding Director, South Asia Centre, Australian National University, Canberra
‘This is a remarkably well-researched and thoughtfully constructed account of the rise of the BJP under Prime Minister Modi. It is a book that must be read by any political scientist interested in post-1991 India. Its use of textual and quantitative data is a brilliant example of empirical academic work. It will greatly improve the discourse on India’s political economy.’
—Professor Shubhashis Gangopadhyay, Dean, Indian School of Public Policy; Visiting Professor, University of Gothenberg, Sweden; Visiting Professor, University of Groningen, Netherlands
‘Nalin’s work in this book re-establishes hope in the future of political journalism in the country. For a variety of reasons, some well-known and some less-known, political journalism in India has been losing its bite and its objectivity. Nalin combines deep data analysis, extensive research, wonderful ground reporting and balanced perspective in a crisp text with attractive charts to show how to inform and engage people with political writing even in these polarised times. This book is a must-read for anyone looking to look beyond the noise and understand modern India. It will appeal to diverse audiences: specialist as well as general.’
—Rohit Saran, Chief Editor, Times Internet
‘Nalin Mehta’s wonderful book on the BJP is a dispassionate inquiry into the genesis of the Hindutva mind space. Delineating a complete arc from its foundation to its evolution to its dominance, this study shows immense depth in going beyond traditional paradigms to investigate the party’s edifice. It is a fascinating exploration of the BJP using the microscope of modern-day technology, data analysis, interviews and archival work. This book is a political equivalent of what we in the statistical world would call “Principal Component Analysis”, boiling down a complex set of factors into clear, informed and robust explanations.
‘For a psephologist, it provides rare insights into several other dimensions and surrogates that can be used to estimate a party’s core and growing support. The conclusions shine a light on several unknown equations that blend ideology, policy and technology deployment in voter mobilisation. These are hitherto less captured within paradigms of electoral forecasting. The book also provides new scaffoldings beyond caste and community to construct the quantitative narrative of the electoral math that resulted in the stupendous victories of the Bharatiya Janata Party in recent years.
‘The book provides rare glimpses into the subtle presence of the Hindu sentiment in various debates within the annals of the Congress party even when India was first coming into her own as an electoral democracy. It leaves no stone unturned to cover every aspect of the ideological and social mobilisation journey
of the BJP and its predecessor, the Bharatiya Jan Sangh. As the political debate moves beyond the hard-wired constructs of state-led development vs capital-led development and Mandal vs Kamandal, this book provides rare insights on how to construct the voters’ mind map.’
—Jai Mrug, psephologist and Director, VotersMood Research; CEO, M76 Analytics
‘This is a rare book that balances data-driven commentary with a compelling narrative derived from scores of interviews. By using software to go through lakhs of documents, and by using his considerable energies to conduct dozens of interviews, Nalin has managed to make numbers interesting and to make stories substantial. The book is a masterful, evidence-based history of how the world’s largest political party came to be. I look forward to the conversations this sparks, and the research avenues it opens up.’
—Rishabh Srivastava, CEO, Loki.ai; Founder, DataNarratives.com
‘A gripping narrative that is built on a fascinating foundation of academic rigour, insightful political observation and comprehensive data analysis. A must-read for every student of Indian politics and history, irrespective of political allegiance or adherence. The data analysis and deep research may leave even experts stunned.’
—T.M. Veeraraghav, former Resident Editor, The Hindu; former Visiting Professor, National Law School, Bengaluru
‘Excellent book…The year’s first great political read… Nalin Mehta’s The New BJP… asks and addresses a fundamental question: How did a party with an appeal largely restricted to the trading classes in urban and semi-urban India, manage to become the first choice of the rural population in India’s Hindi heartland? And of women? It’s a question few others have asked before…Mehta sets out to answer the question with a combination of history, ground-level and inner-party insights, and lots of data…I’m enjoying every bit of a book that is the perfect read…’
—Sukumar Ranganathan, Editor, The Hindustan Times
‘I don’t think I have ever read a better book about a political party. The combination of political storis, statistical rigour and deep insights is absolutely impressive. Supporters of BJP and opponents will all be wiser after buying. Run and buy…Whatever you think of BJP I strongly recommend this book. It brilliantly describes how BJP has grown to India’s lead party. Many lessons for politically interested people everywhere.’
– Erik Solheim, Former Under Secretary General, United Nations, former Executive Director, UN Environment Program, and ex-Minister for International Development, Norway.
‘It is a seminal work written sans bias. It has to be similarly read with an open mind to have more informed debates on the “new BJP”.’
—The Hindu BusinessLine
‘Wonderful book… an exhaustive look at the at the factors behind the rise of the BJP to a position of hegemony in Indian politics.’
‘A classic…It covers the evolution of the BJP with the help of enormous data never unearthed before and extensive field work. It is a must-read book for anyone interested in understanding how Narendra Modi’s party became the world’s largest political party’
‘Mehta’s latest book The New BJP breaks the mould. It is a well-researched massive tome analysing the rise and expansion of the BJP objectively with hitherto ‘unseen’ data…It is written in an easy-flowing style. Unconventional data analysis and simple graphics are Mehta’s strength areas. Such is his force of arguments that you can’t leave it half read. By all means, this is a landmark book.’
–The New Indian Express
‘Fascinating account and gripping narration with startling insights…The book compels discourse and debate as it opens a new vista for all those engaged in politics, policy-making as well as public communications. Equally important, the book offers a fresh perspective to those who are otherwise averse to party politics…a landmark in public discourse.’
–Prof. N. Bhaskar Rao, Founder, Centre for Media Studies
‘While I was reading it I couldn’t help wonder if Nalin Mehta wrote this as a quick crash course for the opposition- why BJP keeps winning despite so and so and why they might keep on winning. Best Indian non-fiction of 2022? Absolutely.‘
-Rahul Jaimini, Co-Founder, Swiggy
Whether you are a BJP supporter or hater this well researched book gives the reader a deep understanding of why the saffron party is on an election-winning spree…Unbiased and honest… The book is replete with rare historical records, interviews and starting insights…A riveting read that the gives you a peek into the ground realities, myths and changing politics in Naya Bharat’ – Deccan Chronicle
‘Fascinating-myth breaking research on the BJP. It’s a very thick book but very authentic and must-read to understand the BJP… Shandaar [fabulous] book. It has such information and research which will help break your preconceived notions.’
–Ashutosh, Founder, Satya Hindi News
‘Magnum opus.. explains Modi and the making of the world’s largest political party’.
-Vishweshwar Bhatt, Editor-on-Chief, Viswavani (Kannada)
‘Why does the BJP keep winning elections? No one can fill their bellies with just ideology. The New BJP provides answers through hard data on party composition, women’s vote etc…Was incredulous at the findings in this book. It’s so far from what one has been reading in academia and in the media… But data does not lie… Boggles the mind’
-Manjula Narayan, National Books Editor, Hindustan Times
‘Reads dangerously close to the truth… Nalin Mehta and his team have done monumental research and have come up with an impressive amount of data in chapter after chapter…. Nalin Mehta does an excellent job of mapping India’s transition from the default position of reliance on Congress to that of viewing BJP as an agent of change.’
‘It’s an essential book for our times. A huge achievement, really well argued, well written, easy to read and accessible. ’
– Priya Sehgal, Executive Editor, NewsX
‘It’s the most definitive book on the BJP.’
– RK Radhakrishnan, Senior Associate Editor, Frontline
‘A very important book on the BJP in an age when the party is omnipresent and must be understood… The New BJP by Nalin Mehta is essential reading.’
– Saba Naqvi, senior journalist
‘Rich data analysis (which is woefully missing in mainstream political reportage) + on-ground reporting insights make it a riveting read. Kudos on this blockbuster.’
– Harsha Subramanian, Facebook Journalism Project
‘With factual authority and academic rigour…The New BJP is an essential read for those who want to unravel the secrets behind the saffron surge.…Rather than indulging in the usual political commentary, based on subjective reasoning, Nalin Mehta’s books uses crunching of hard data to dig facts and insights… with a factual base that cannot be contested.’
‘From rich data to dispassionate analysis, Nalin Mehta’s The New BJP is a work of empirical ambition. Using innovative statistical measures, it traces the BJP’s historic journey to become India’s largest political party. Nalin Mehta’s The New BJP [is]…the most ambitious attempt at using fresh data and analytical tools to dissect different facets of the current BJP’s widening electoral appeal and social base, its policy measures and political messaging, especially the style and substance of its digital outreach….the book marks a point of departure in treatises on BJP….Nalin Mehta has offered a work of empirical ambition, with a blend of data-rich insight, the analytical frame of a political scientist, and journalistic reportage.’
‘The book does an excellent job of detailing how Hindutva actually works on the ground in India…the author’s analysis is heavily backed by data’
– Narayani Basu, The Indian Express
‘This book written by Nalin Mehta is a testament to history…Gorgeous book and extraordinary effort by Nalin Mehta. This one will define a lot of our contemporary political history.’
–Vani Tripathi Tikkoo, former Member, CBFC
‘Excellent new book.’
–Andy Mukherjee, Bloomberg
‘Provide[s] valuable insights… Seamlessly blends a variety of methodological techniques…the rich set of new materials Mehta has collected is truly impressive.’
– India Today
‘This book is a must-read treatise on the rise of the BJP under Narendra Modi.’
-Pranshu Mishra, UP Bureau Chief, CNN-News18
‘Nalin Mehta…sets aside emotions and biases to objectively examine the factor that led to the growth of the BJP over the last 15 years…it is a weighty volume that looks beyond the narrative of Hindutva politics…explains how the party has grown beyond its core base’.
‘Nalin Mehta’s book is a deep-dive into the BJP’s post-2014 phase with adequate references which locate the transformations in a historical context.’
– The Tribune
‘Am loving it’
– Ashwin Sanghi, best-selling novelist
‘Mother of all books.’
–Ravi Subramanian, best-selling novelist