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

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PUNJAB-Panchayat Elections A Turning Point

'Hindu mindset' is fast taking shape at the various levels of society. More than any intensive spelt of rioting on the pattern of Bombay or Ahmedabad, this has been one of the most enduring legacies here of the events of December 6. In fact the Hindutva combine is at present quite of capable of generating a significant response on the Kashi and Mathura controversies as well, which can prove more irksome than the Ram Janmabhoomi issue. For unlike Ayodhya, where the BJP game-plan smacked of a deliberate bid to create a controversy, in areas like Varanasi, sentiment over the Gyan Vyapi mosque- Vishwanath temple issue has a more substantial grounding. The setting of the two sites also is more open to interpretations of various hues and, in contrast to Avadh (where the Babri mosque was located), Purvanchal or east UP has a history of polarisation along communal lines. It remains to be seen whether all this will get translated into votes for the BJP (it is still possible that the backward castes and in particular the Dalits, in spite of getting caught in the Hindutva wave may end up voting for a non-BJP formation on the basis of political calculations). But generally the situation looks favourable for the party of the saffron. On the other hand, the Congress shows little signs of regaining even a semblance of popular support from different sections of society. The upper castes are now once again with the BJP, while amongst both the minorities and the secular forces in general the Congress is being reduced to playing a progressively diminishing role. Not surprisingly, the party is keeping its options open and is mixing its exhortations about safeguarding the Constitution wilh subtle kow-towing to Hindu sentiment in a bid to regain the initiative.

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