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No intrigues, please - The Asian Age

Editorial ()
March 4, 1998

Title: No intrigues, please
Author: Editorial
Publication: The Asian Age
Date: March 4, 1998

The electorate has just now told the world that it does not
consider the Bharatiya Janata Party an untouchable anymore. In
this essential respect, let its adversaries - and their number
may actually decrease, as the distinctive whiff of power travels
towards the saffron brigade - will do well to learn the difficult
art of patience. Sheer blockade, just for the sake of stopping
the BJP, will be a counter-productive strategy. Intrigue is the
last, and the least, option of the defeated. Spin doctors of the,
secular brigade, firmly believing in the adage that a politician
is never dead till he is really dead, may try to stop the BJP at
all costs; but that will be at the cost of social peace, because
the BJP, with the likes of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the
Bajrang Dal in its arsenal, will take to the streets. While a
fuller and more comprehensive picture will be available only
later, let it be said that the BJP and its allies have thrived at
the expense of a rather disembodied United Front. The Congress
has actually improved its tally, but certainly must have been
hoping to improve more. However, convenient theories that the so-
called "Sonia effect" did not work will be better off being
somewhat more objective, because prior to her joining the fray,
the Congress was widely it feared as incapable of reaching even
three figures. Among the other factors that have been at work in
this election is the anti-incumbency factor; even the Left Front
in West Bengal has not been its usual stolid self, and Ms Mamata
Banerjee has shown that her brand of street-singing is sweet
music to many in that state, Mr Ramakrishna Hegde has also staged
an admirable comeback via his Lok Shakti, to provide vivid proof
that even in the south where it was no great shakes previously,
the BJP has managed top make a significant dent. The BJP's gains
in the south have a touch of rather delicious irony about it, for
not too long ago, it was conceived to be a north-Indian party
wedded to the indi, Hindu, Hindustan philosophy. Hard,
sustained work, especially in Karnataka seems to have worked;
while in Tamil Nadu, Ms Jayalalitha, staging a remarkable
comeback herself, has helped the BJP make some kind of inroad. If
one were to see any underlying, essential, message of the
electorate, it is rather complex. Anti-incumbency has worked
against Mr Manohar Joshi, Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and Mr Bansi
Lal; however, the politics represented by these gentlemen has
actually shown an increased acceptability. This is rather
intriguing, but even for this, an explanation or rationale can be
found in the fact that all these state governments have not
exactly managed to please the people of Maharashtra, Rajasthan
and Haryana respectively. Talking of anti-incumbency, Mr M.
Karunanidhi and Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu too seem to have
suffered. All in all, the picture at the end of the India's most
intriguing election, is perhaps more clear than many had
expected. The parties must now accept the essential message.

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