ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Tamil Nadu : Shaping Things to Come?

With the AIADMK's victory in the Sathankulam by-election, Jayalalithaa can once again reveal - and revel in - her enduring supremacy. All the same she is not one to let grass grow under her feet and is focused on next year's parliamentary poll. But it is hardly possible for her to ruminate over the national scene now, with her plate filled with regional - rather, local - problems. There is the running battle with the DMK and the acrimonious exchanges inside the assembly, with the debate turning to past events. Outside the house too, the fury of allegations and counter-allegations continues. Events have turned strongly dramatic with the Queen Mary's College affair.

Re-imagination of the State and Gujarat�s Electoral Verdict

The BJP's electoral victory in Gujarat last year has further cemented the grasp of the Hindu right in all aspects of the state's social and political domain. The rise of reactionary politics was itself an outgrowth of different socio-political movements that Gujarat was witness to since the 1970s. It is the absence of any progressive class/caste movement or a new social movement, this paper argues, that has made Gujarat susceptible to experiments with and sustenance of right wing ideologies, especially the politics of the Hindu right.

History of the Undoing of History

Despite the recent controversy that has dogged history writing in India, since ancient and even pre-modern times, patricians and rulers have used history for control as well as for moral/administrative education and entertainment. This apart, historians too have been guilty of focusing too much on empiricism rather than seeking to dwell on the nature and philosophy of history.

Uttar Pradesh : Postures and Promises

Elections in UP have often served up the writing on the wall to governments at the centre. The BJP understandably sees its performance in the forthcoming assembly elections in the state as critical for its fortunes at the centre. Last month the man chosen by the BJP high command to spearhead its electoral strategy in UP completed a year in office.

By-Election Results : Warning Bells

With only a few months to go for the assembly elections in UP, the results of the by-elections in two Lok Sabha and nine assembly constituencies across seven states could not have come at a more inconvenient time for the BJP. For the Congress, on the other hand, there were signs, already visible in the May assembly elections, of some revival of fortunes. The party has won four of the assembly seats at stake.

Uttar Pradesh : Election Games

Ever since he became chief minister in October last year, Rajnath Singh has viewed himself as BJP’s man of destiny in UP. The move to bring him back to UP was an attempt by the party to shore up its sagging fortunes in the state that had reached their nadir in the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, with the BJP winning just 29 of the 85 seats. Since then, his every move has been anxiously watched by the party high command, as he has set about charting his path for the assembly elections generally expected in March next year.

BJP: Without Direction

If indeed the BJP had held back its full approval for the prime minister’s invitation to Pakistan’s president Musharraf and for the Agra summit, there was little evidence of self-congratulation over the failure of the summit at the national executive meeting of the party. However, the resolution on the matter typically displayed no hesitancy about apportioning blame and there appears to have been some satisfaction about having ‘done our best’. Whether this nonchalance is sufficient backing for future forays into India-Pakistan parleys, remains to be seen.

NDA: Electoral Performance and Future Strategies

The BJP finds itself in a serious bind as the UP elections approach. Should it take up the temple issue, as advocated by certain hardcore elements, it might risk losing the support of key allies at the centre. On the other hand, for the BJP to win the elections on its own looks increasingly onerous.

West Bengal Election

Although the media has been enthusiastically predicting the ouster of the Left Front in the assembly elections in West Bengal, the outcome, in reality, is still uncertain. While Mamata Banerjee may have escaped being tarred by the Tehelka episode, with her resignation further enhancing her image, the sudden shifts in the anti-LF coalitions may have been a gain for the LF. However, the CPI(M)'s limited parliamentarism and loss of vision have meant that many voters irrespective of class or ideology would like nothing better than to see the exit of LF in the state.

In the Name of Secularism

The Left's obsession with anti-BJPism has been taken to absurd lengths in Tamil Nadu. It has invested what is a fight for power between the DMK and the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, in which the BJP is virtually uninvolved, with secular/communal connotations and, on those false premises, chosen to join the AIADMK-led front, turning a blind eye to the proven charges of corruption against Jayalalitha. Worse, the Left has actively opposed the formation of a third front, even though in the long run the Left in Tamil Nadu will gain only by expanding its base and aligning with parties such as the TMC, thereby loosening the duopoly of power of DMK and AIADMK.

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