In the three years from 1989 to 1992, India experienced the phenomenal rise in influence of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Many observers assumed that the BJP's influence would be short-lived since it violated basic principles that had governed Indian political life since independence. Contrary to their predictions, however, the BJP emerged victorious in 1996. In its rise to national power the BJP overcame the obstacles that have traditionally hindered the growth of religious parties. However, if it wishes to succeed in the future, the BJP must be able to move from its opposition-party roots and prove its responsibility to the entire citizenry.