"I am opposed to fundamentalism of all types—whether it is fundamentalism from the Left or fundamentalism from the Right."
—Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
That remark, as well as another move—distancing himself from cabinet colleague Mani Shankar Aiyer's stand on Veer Savarkar at his maiden press conference on September 4—may have endeared Manmohan Singh to the RSS-BJP combine, but it has left the Left parties (whose 60-plus MPs sustain the UPA government) fuming and sections of his own party embarrassed. Only sections, because Manmohan's studied neutrality has resonated with many in a party grappling with strategies to counter the BJP's no-holds-barred ideological onslaught.
Congress spin doctor and Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh defends the PM: "Dr Manmohan Singh is staking out the classic liberal position of the Congress which eschews dogmas and ideologies of both extremes." On whether it is tenable to equate the Right with the Left especially since the Left is the UPA's lifeline, he retorts, "Taking the Left's support doesn't mean we emasculate...