Results show short-lived honeymoon now over

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 December, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 December, 1998, 12:00am

The Indian voter, in the recent state elections, handed a very clear and decisive verdict to the Hindu fundamentalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), effectively telling it to shape up or ship out.

For a party that came to power barely eight months ago with the slogan 'stable government, able leader', it was clearly a short-lived honeymoon. Now voters realise they were getting an unstable government with a disabled leadership.

From skyrocketing prices of essential commodities such as vegetables, to the deteriorating law and order situation in New Delhi, the BJP went through a succession of lows.

Besides alienating the minority Indian Muslim and Christian community with its hardline 'Hindutva' approach, it also increased regional tensions with its nuclear explosions in May, explosions which were an attempt to divert attention from its miserable performance on the domestic front.

Not only did these tests lead to a deterioration in India/Pakistan relations, but they undid seven years' worth of diplomatic efforts which had led to better relations between India and China. The BJP tampered with the Indian constitution and attempted to change the education system to make it more 'Indianised' (for that read 'Hinduised').

The Indian voter irrespective of caste, creed and religion has finally spoken out, saying that no amount of rhetoric and jingoism is a sufficient replacement for good governance.

Hopefully this will now convince the BJP Government to focus on the price and crime explosion at home rather than on nuclear explosions.

SAMIR KUMAR Discovery Bay


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