January 25, 2011

flag at Lal Chowk: brinkmanship BJP style

BJP's anger is understandable, so is its frustration. But it is doing itself little good by the tokenism called flag hoisting at Lal Chowk on the Republic Day. It is good that terrorists have so far ignored the provocation, and the government is being firm.

What BJP wants to score with this act is to show itself in the bold nationalist frame - and it feels it will give the party some lost ground. The party perhaps feels that stopping it or allowing it to succeed, both will make BJP a champion of Indianism and show Congress as a weak party afraid to take on terrorism for fear of losing Muslim votes [since terrorists in this part of the country belong to Muslim religion and the UPA has been dilly-dallying hanging Afzal Guru, the terrorist sentenced to death in Parliament bombing case].

And what BJP is most likely to gain is a self goal if it does not listen to sanity now. Till now, BJP yatra has been peaceful and it has achieved its purpose in a limited sense. BJP must now take a high moral ground and call off hoisting of tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar.It should listen to its ally, Nitish and saner voices within the party, if there are any. It must recognise that politically too, stretching the issue will only hurt its own interest because -
  • Its core constituency of nationalist Indian is thinning in spread as well as in intensity of ferver. The upwardly mobile, neo-urban and moderate among the 'patriots' may not like it if the issue goes out of hand;
  • The focus of BJP's fight on corruption and price-rise will get severely dilutes as it will lose space to Kashmir, it will alienate other opposition parties presently with BJP in fighting corruption, it will take away the energy and focus within BJP from more pressing issues;
  • Kashmir, at least at present, is not a bigger issue than price-rise and corruption -- the twin issues on which the ruling UPA is on back foot. Raising Kashmir will only allow the UPA to breathe comfortably without giving BJP any political dividend;
  • It will also alienate its allies like Nitish, and make other regional parties avoid it during the coming assembly and later general elections.

If BJP is really serious about India, India News Today would advise it to focus on price-rise and corruption, and also put its own house in order in Karnataka. Be bold there, not in Kashmir, where peace is getting a faltering chance again.

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