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India's Hindu nationalists tighten grip over ruling BJP

Published on Aug 17, 2014 4:08 PM
 
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah (right) talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a BJP National Council meeting at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Aug 9, 2014. Several members of India's most powerful right-wing Hindu group were named to positions within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), officials said on Sunday, Aug 17, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI - Several members of India's most powerful right-wing Hindu group were named to positions within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), officials said on Sunday, signalling a more overt role for the party's ideological parent that usually operates in the shadows.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) provides the backbone to the BJP and other Hindu groups in the country, its members are known for their austerity and a life-long commitment to building a militarily strong and economically prosperous India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who swept to power in May, joined the secretive Hindu group in his early teens, rising eventually to become one of its propagandists, espousing "Hindutva" or Hinduness as the cultural identity of India.

On Saturday, Mr Modi's handpicked head of the BJP, Mr Amit Shah, named a new team to lead the party into a clutch of state elections this year that it hopes to win after a triumphant national election.

 
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