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India after the By-Elections

India after the By-Elections Bhabani Sen Gupta Apart from consolidating Narasimha Rao's leadership of the Congress government, the by-elections have only confirmed the deep and durable fragmentation of the electorate. No political party has been able to wean away entrenched support from any other party.

Power-Shift

Power-Shift Bhabani Sen Gupta The aftermath of the election has left all parties, except the BJP, exhausted in body and mind. The Congress(I) is ready to fade away as the leading political force between now and the next election which is probably only three years away The leaders of the Janata Dal are torn between Mandal and the middle classes. The Left too is passing through a spiritual crisis. But in great contrast to the dilemmas in the camps of the secular parties is the climate in the BJP which, after scanning the election results, has come to the conclusion that the mood of the people is with it.

People, Parties and Power

CALL it 'electionitis' or 'electionics': when a democracy is forced to go in for two elections in 18 months, it is sick; when even the second election does not promise a stable government, it is very sick. The politicians blame each other for the sickness; they are determined to disown their collective responsibility. But, as Camus once put it, in a democracy everyone is guilty of what goes grievously wrong. If our democracy has come to a pass where it cannot elect a government that works or even lasts a fairly long time, all of us have to sit down and scratch our heads to discover what really has gone wrong, and how serious is the wrong that has happened and whether it can be righted in the normal process of democratic remedies of which election is only one.

Transitional Turmoil

Transitional Turmoil The current political disarray and the social turmoil in large parts of the country are the signs and consequences of the tensions in India's multinational, multicultural political milieu within which innumerable political and social experiments are taking place.

Power, Peasantry and Poor

Power, Peasantry and Poor Bhabani Sen Gupta V P Singh's political thinking is still a great deal blurred, and there is the irresistible temptation to indulge in wayward populism, to be pleased with symbols rather than substance. He has to remember that the electorate will judge him sternly by what he has been able to deliver in concrete terms and not by what he has promised or what he has legislated for.

After the Crisis Taller or Smaller

After the Crisis: Taller or Smaller? Bhabani Sen Gupta The apocalyptic view of the July crisis and of V P Singh's 'failure' to provide leadership springs from a basic lack of understanding of how the National Front government came into being, what its major commitments to the people are, what can reasonably be expected of it and what precisely its role in India's no-longer-linear political evolution is.

The Melting Pot That s Pakistan

The 'Melting Pot' That's Pakistan Bhabani Sen Gupta It is not the army that poses the biggest threat to democracy in Pakistan; it comes from some of the long-term malevolent impact of the Afghan crisis: guns, drugs, an abundance of money that no one has earned.

Limits of Consensus Politics

Punjab and Kashmir are, of course, problems inherited by the National Front government. But how depressing is the sight of the government trying to deal with them with inherited means and ideas.

Supping with Neighbours

Supping with Neighbours Bhabani Sen Gupta Unless South Asia resolves its regional conflicts and gets down to work together for mutual and collective development, the economy of this region will remain isolated from the global process of integration. The lead must come from India because of its size and status.

Punjab Fading of Sikh Diaspora

particular state, small ethnic groups exist next to the dominant group, they too must have a place in the sun; they could be barely six hundred thousand, as in the hills of Darjeeling, or four million, as with the Bodos in Assam, they must nonetheless be assured of their full democratic rights within the portals of the union of India. How do such nice sentiments go with the assertion that we hold on to Kashmir at whatever cost, period, the wishes and predilections of the people of the valley do not matter?

CHINA DIARY

G P Deshpande Words like 'class' and class struggle had been out of fashion in China for quite some time. They seem to have, been banished now. It is now the economic interests of China which have taken the central place, If economic modernisation has to go through, the dominance of the Communist party has to be maintained. Everyone has got the message and, at least for the time being, China has left turmoil behind and is a picture of stability, growth and inflation.

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