Still Ahead of the Others
IN Uttar Pradesh, the BJP faces an electoral scenario vastly different from the frenzied one of 1991. The party no longer has a powerful emotional plank like Ram Janambhoomi, what with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad having failed to whip up similar passions over the Kashi-Mathura issue.
The party has also been forced to sidestep delicately the issue of corruption following the chargesheet against Advani and other BJP leaders. While its poll strategy now comprises raising broader issues like the Kashmir problem, infiltration from Bangladesh and the activities of the Pakistani ISI, the party is clearly once again falling back on a thinly disguised Hindutva plank.
"In every house there is an ISI agent," says Professor Shyam Nandan Mishra, member secretary of the BJP's election management committee. But with the arrest of its MP from Gonda, Brij Bhushan Sharan, under TADA, it will be difficult for the BJP to tout even national security or criminalisation of politics as a poll plank with...