Features

India's new congress

International

Issue: "Year in Review 2004," Jan. 1, 2005

Indians tossed out their country's Hindu nationalist government in May in an election upset, handing a seemingly weak National Congress Party a decisive victory. The booming economy, growing at 8 percent this year, proved to be a handicap for the Hindu nationalist ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Millions of poor Indians resent the country's newfound wealth, which is mostly boosting the middle and upper classes. But the BJP's loss was especially good news for Christians and other religious minorities, the victims of violent attacks and restrictive laws instigated by the Hindu nationalists. After eight years in the wilderness, the victory was resurrection for Congress-and for secular rule.

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