ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Surge of Communal Militancy

Surge of Communal Militancy together adversaries like the Left parlies and the BJP representing fundamentally opposed social forces. Yet the common objective of unseating the present government may hold together a functional, albeit shaky, coalition, at least until the elections are over. The complex dialectics of this situation, in which the demands of sustaining a heterogeneous alliance have to be reconciled with the need to appease the respective social bases, will involve all the major opposition parties in delicate balancing acts. The BJP's rhetoric, under pressure from organisations like the RSS and the Shiv Sena, took on a belligerent note at the party's annual convention in Bombay, with even moderate leaders like Vajpayee compelled to assume a hardline stance. The Janata Dal, for whom the alliance is vital since its continued existence as an influential force in Indian politics is to a large extent contingent on its electoral performance, cannot afford to be overly allergic to the BJP, on whose political agenda the business of installing an idol at Ayodhya is as important as that of installing a non-Congress government at the centre. At the same time its enthusiasm for an alliance with the BJP will be tempered both by the fear of alienating minority votes in favour of the Congress(l) and the possibility of being disowned by the Left. In these circumstances the Janata Dal can do little else but equivocate in order to buy time in which to pressurise the BJP to tone down its stand to a level that may just be acceptable to the Left. The BJP may find it difficult to altogether ignore pressure from the Dal, but to succeed in toning down the BJP's communal stand, the Janata Dal will also have to ensure thai the Left's perspective of the BJP is less hostile, if only as a temporary arrangement. Even if such a renunciation of mutual antipathies is effected it js obvious that there can be no fundamental change in the positions of the different parties. Consequently what should be anticipated are the usual exercises in tonal modulation intrinsic to all political bargaining that is conducted within restricted manoeuvring spaces.

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