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Akhil Bharatiya Jana Sangh
FounderSyama Prasad Mukherjee
Founded21 October 1951; 71 years ago (21 October 1951) [1]
Dissolved23 June 1977; 45 years ago (23 June 1977)
Split fromHindu Mahasabha
Merged intoJanata Party (1977–1980)
Succeeded byBharatiya Janata Party (1980–present)
IdeologyHindu nationalism[2]
Integral humanism[4]
National conservatism[5]
Economic nationalism[6]
Political positionRight-wing[7]
Colours  Saffron
ECI StatusNational Party
Election symbol
Diya, a traditional oil lamp, was the symbol of the party

The Bharatiya Jana Sangh (abbreviated as BJS or JS, short name: Jan Sangh, full name: Akhil Bharatiya Jana Sangh;[8] lit.'All-Indian People's Organization') (ISO 15919: Akhila Bhāratīya Jana Saṅgha ) 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.[9] In 1977, it merged with several other left, centre and right parties opposed to the Indian National Congress and formed the Janata Party.[10] 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 the Bharatiya Janata Party.


Syama Prasad Mukherjee, founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh
Syama Prasad Mukherjee, founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh

Many 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 Mukherjee left the Hindu Mahasabha political party that he had once led because of a disagreement with that party over permitting non-Hindu membership.[11][12][13] The BJS was subsequently started by Mukherjee on 21 October 1951[14] in Delhi, with the collaboration of the RSS, as a "nationalistic alternative" to the Congress Party.[15]

The symbol of the party in Indian elections was an oil lamp and, like the RSS, its ideology was centred on Hindutva.[citation needed] In the 1952 general elections to the Parliament of India, BJS won three seats, Mukherjee 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.[citation needed] After the death of Mukherjee 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).[16]

The strongest election performance of the BJS came in the 1967 Lok Sabha election in which it won 35 seats,[17][18] when the Congress majority was its thinnest ever.[19]


Main article: Hindutva

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.[citation needed]

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.[20]

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.[citation needed]

Chronological list of presidents

# Portrait Name Term
Shyama Prasad Mukherjee portrait in Parliament.jpg
Syama Prasad Mukherjee 1951–52
2 Mauli Chandra Sharma 1954
3 Prem Nath Dogra 1955
4 Debaprasad Ghosh 1956–59
5 Pitamber Das 1960
6 Avasarala Rama Rao 1961
(4) Debaprasad Ghosh 1962
7 Raghu Vira 1963
(4) Debaprasad Ghosh 1964
8 Bachhraj Vyas 1965
9 Balraj Madhok 1966
10 Deendayal Upadhyaya 1967–68
Atal Bihari Vajpayee tribute image (cropped).jpg
Atal Bihari Vajpayee 1968–72
L. K. Advani 1973–77
See List of presidents of the Bharatiya Janata Party

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.[21][17]

Year General Election Seats Won Change in Seat % of votes Ref.
1951 Indian general election 1st Lok Sabha 3 3.06 [21][18]
1957 Indian general election 2nd Lok Sabha 4 Increase 1 5.93 [17][18]
1962 Indian general election 3rd Lok Sabha 14 Increase 10 6.44 [17][18]
1967 Indian general election 4th Lok Sabha 35 Increase 21 9.41 [17][18]
1971 Indian general election 5th Lok Sabha 22 Decrease 13 7.35 [22][18][23]


  1. ^ "Founding of Jan Sangh". Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  2. ^ Graham, Bruce D. "The Jana Sangh as a Nationalist Rally". Hindu Nationalism and Indian Politics. Cambridge University Press. p. 94.
  3. ^ Thachil, Tariq (2014). Elite Parties, Poor Voters. Cambridge University Press. p. 42.
  4. ^ Kochanek, Stanley (2007). India: Government and Politics in a Developing Nation. Cengage Learning. p. 333.
  5. ^ Baxter, Craig (1969). The Jana Sangh: a biography of an Indian political party. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 171.
  6. ^ Marty, Martin E. (1996). Fundamentalisms and the State. University of Chicago Press. p. 418.
  7. ^ Field, John Osgood. Electoral Politics in the Indian States. Manohar Book Service. p. 28.
  8. ^ Donald Anthony Low, ed. (1968), Soundings in Modern South Asian History, University of California Press, pp. 372–, GGKEY:6YPJXGZBWJQ
  9. ^ Gurumurthy, S (16 October 2013). "Lifting of the ban on the RSS was unconditional". The Hindu. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Syama Prasad Mookerjee: Lesser-known facts about the Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder-India News , Firstpost". Firstpost. 23 June 2021. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  11. ^ Urmila Sharma & SK Sharma 2001, p. 381.
  12. ^ Kedar Nath Kumar 1990, pp. 20–21.
  13. ^ Islam 2006b, p. 227.
  14. ^ "Founding of Jan Sangh". Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  15. ^ Sharad Gupta; Sanjiv Sinha (18 January 2000). "Revive Jan Sangh – BJP hardlines". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  16. ^ 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
  17. ^ a b c d e Archis Mohan (9 October 2014). "The roots of India's second republic". Business Standard. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  18. ^ a b c d e f Andersen & Damle 1987, p. 165.
  19. ^ "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 13 January 2010.
  20. ^ "Anti-cow slaughter mob storms Parliament | From the Archives (dated 8 November 1966)". The Hindu. 8 November 2016. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 26 January 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
  21. ^ a b Nag 2014, chapter 1.
  22. ^ Nag 2014, chapter 4.
  23. ^ "Members : Lok Sabha". Parliament of India. Retrieved 2 August 2022.


Further reading