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HVK Archives: Prospects of impending elections (Part II of IV)

Prospects of impending elections (Part II of IV) - The Observer

Observer Political Bureau ()
4 November 1997

Title: Prospects of impending elections create flutter in political
dovecotes (Part II of IV)
Author: Observer Political Bureau
Publication: The Observer
Date: November 4, 1997

BJP works hard at cloning UP

The Bharatiya Janata Party leadership feels that mid-term elections are
round the corner and, consequently, the activities of the party top brass
are aimed at having the Uttar Pradesh experiment repeated at the national

Indeed, the jumbo-sized ministry of Mr Kalyan Singh in UP appears to have
just one reasonable explanation - that the party is interested in having
the message sent out loud and clear that it was more willing to have
adjustments or alignments with regional groupings and parties and would
give a "decent treatment" and "due place" to each and every group in the
power structure. The experience of the Atal Behari Vajpayee-headed 13-day
BJP Government has evidently enabled the party leadership to emerge more
mature and wiser. The political heat in the Capital has rapidly been rising
as can be gauged from the fact that three important leaders called off
their scheduled overseas visits recently.

While Mr Vajpayee and Mr L K Advani called off their visits to the US and
Spain, respectively, the proposed visit of Malaysia by Prime Minister I K
Gujral has also been reportedly cancelled.

>From the existing socio-political matrix, the following reasonings are
sought to be deduced by the BJP leadership:

BJP was once again likely to emerge as the single-largest party, but was
expected to once again fall short of the two-third majority in the Lok Sabha:

Congress' score was likely to go down even further as that party was likely
to remain embroiled in inner-party rumblings and contradictions: and

A determined bid had to be made to ensure that the experience of the
Vajpayee Government was not repeated.

In order to ensure that the BJP was considered less of an untouchable
party, it appears to be willing, as of now, to drop contentious issues like
the party's position on the construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya and the
demand that Article 370 be scrapped.

To that extent, the BJP is apparently willing to dilute its philosophy and
thinking. Mr Advani, in an interview to a news agency recently, remarked
that in matters- of overall governance, specific party ideology did not
have any Place.

In the BJP's scheme Of things, the Swadeshi issue will, therefore, be a
major poll issue, along with corruption.

The party expects to find friends on the Swadeshi issue as the United Front
is considered to have been exposed on its stand on the economic reforms
while even the Congress has taken several steps backwards on the subject.
The party also expects the issue of corruption to be a major poll plank
during the next general elections and expects to benefit from it in
electoral terms.

The BJP's calculation is that a majority of the corruption cases in the
courts or elsewhere were against the Congressmen, while the BJP had
substantially remained free of such charges even on date. The BJP,
therefore, feels that time has come for the party to hold on even more
firmly to the Centrist party slot, which the Congress was likely to vacate

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