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Supporters of India's BJP: Distinctly Populist and Nativist

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 June 2022

Sofia Ammassari
School of Government and International Relations at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
Diego Fossati*
Department of Asian and International Studies at City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Duncan McDonnell
School of Government and International Relations at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
*Corresponding author. Email:


While India's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has become recognized as a populist radical right (PRR) party under the leadership of Narendra Modi, we do not know whether this PRR supply is matched yet by PRR attitudes among its supporters. Using an original survey, we therefore investigate: Do BJP supporters display PRR attitudes? We find that those who feel close to the BJP have stronger populist and nativist attitudes than other Indian citizens. However, authoritarianism is not a distinguishing feature of BJP supporters. We argue that the similarities between the drivers of support for European PRR parties and for the BJP reinforce the idea that radical right populism is a coherent global phenomenon both in terms of supply and demand. Finally, we discuss how our study shows that party support in India is more ideologically rooted than has previously been thought.

Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Government and Opposition Limited

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