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achieved nor Gandhi before him and the second tier officials were not strong enough. This allowed for Congress to choose Indira Gandhi the daughter of Nehru (Nehru had married with relatives of Mahatma Gandhi). In 1967 then an election occurred where Congress lost a significant portion of the Hindi belt to other groups leading the party to challenge Gandhi’s control. She led a breakaway group from Congress, which was then recognized by the Election Commission of India. This recognition reemphasized the needto have a Nehru or Gandhi lead the Congress party. Gandhi continued to lead Congress until she herself was assassinated in 1984 by two of her Sikh bodyguards (Luce). Following Indira’s death, her son Rajiv Gandhi took over until 1991 where he was assassinated as well (Schmidt). This left the Gandhi-Nehru family with only the widow ofRajiv and his son (who was too young to take over the party) and his wife Sonia was not of Indian, but Italian descent. Without a clear successor from the family, the question of the party was at stake and many of the smaller parties began to win in different areas (Schmidt). Another reason for the decline of Congress was the rise of ethno-linguistic parties andcaste based parties. For much of Indian political history the two major parties were the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), a party based on Hindu nationalism and then Congress. But the BJP was only created in 1980, although it did have precursors. But it was nowhere politically until the mid-80’s, when the implementation of the Mandal commission created a larger Brahmin constituency. In the Hindi belt itself the main alternative to the two parties are the caste based ones (Schmidt). Many of what the lower castes parties push for is stronger equality within India. One of the most famous was Ambedkar, an untouchable and one of Gandhi’s rivals before Indian independence. Whendrafting the constitution, Congress asked him for input as they represented the lower castes. Ambedkar pushed for 20% guaranteed seats in higher education for lower castes
and 50% of all government jobs guaranteed to minorities. Ambedkar showed the main goal of castes parties was for creating equality (Schmidt). In regions such as the Hindi belt that are so dominated by Hindu nationalist, the lower castes rallies around one another counteract their strength.Ethno-linguistic parties dominant outside of the Hindi belt because of differences in languages and culture, even though the majority of them are still Hindu. They are very strong in each individual state as opposed to nationally. In the Hindi belt itself there is a focus on caste-based parties because the majority of the people share the language (Hindi) and also other cultural traits. Therefore the dividing factor is actually their castes not language or culture. The ethno-linguistic parties are based in the Southern part of