Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Advani Triangulation

BJP leader L K Advani is playing the old political game of triangulation. Here, the player picks a calculated quarrel with extremists of his own stripe, thus appearing moderate in contrast.

Bill Clinton was a master of this strategy. In 1992, with America frustrated with liberalism, Mr. Clinton famously put down the African-American rapper Sister Souljah for her extreme views. In one stroke, he was able to cast himself as a centrist -- the rest is history.

Mr. Advani hopes to achieve much the same by provoking India's Saffron-Right extremists. If he is successful, he will (superficially at least) move in the direction of the Secular-Right political space this blog typifies.

This is good and understandable political strategy. After all, India's Hindu voters don't seem to be much impressed by the Hindutva extremism. Even at the height of communal tensions provoked by these dark forces, India's Hindu voters (commendably) declined to give them parliamentary majorities. It's unlikely this dynamic will ever change. Mr. Advani is smart to recognize this and try to cut his losses.

Now, it's easy to dismiss extremists who act out their beliefs; it's much harder to dismiss extremists who ably pretend to be moderates. Mr. Vajpayee's success is a case in point. This is why Mr. Advani's political move to embrace the center is a cause of some worry for this Secular-Right blogger.

We are also amused by Mr. Advani's newly-discovered warmth for Pakistan. We now have the spectacle of the BJP being more courteous to Muslims abroad, than Muslims of India. Reminds us of the Hindi proverb: Ghar Mein Sher, Bahar Chooha!!


doubtinggaurav said...

There was no Hindu voter before so called Dark Forces came in the picture (Except for 1984, which I think is a period we should be disgusted with.)
Hindu will vote as a caste not as a Hindu.
To make them realize their common political identity a much more compelling cause (for example, Ayodhya movement)is needed.
BJP existed as a nominal party before as Jan Sangh before it took up Ayodhya (ironically it was started by Late PM Rajeev Gandhi to counter act Shah Bano case)

Your surmise about Right of Center is only good in Blog- Sphere.
Do you really think that there is any scope of existence of right , where our intellectual space is monopolized by JNU wallahas

I know it may sound extremist, but I dont think is a time for british style discussions.
Considering stiff and often immoral resistance of left,We need a much more vigorous approach in order to allow growth of right.
Your advocacy of right of center,unfortunately is good only in theory, without vigour of people like Mr LK Advani, right will again be reduced to a role of benign opposition, while these leftist will make merry (as they are).
What you call moderate right, in my view is, just middle class fanstasy (if you will like to know, Prof Amartya Sen also adovcated moderate right,considering his leaning I suspect he want a benign a nominal opposition to his comrades)

Rajagopal said...

Primary Red, didn't Advani say that Pakistan of today is not the secular pakistan envisioned by its founder. I didn't it particularly radiated with warmth for pakistan.

No matter what the outcome of the crisis, the media would have called it a losing proposition for Advani.It is quite comial to see some of the experts who claimed it would be a win-win for Advani on the day he resigned now calling him the biggest loser in the end. None of the experts know what to make of this.


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