Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Turnaround by the BJP after Advani's statement

It has been fairly surprising to see the statements by the BJP over the nuclear deal when it was announced. If you refer to my previous post, it would seem that the BJP, for the sake of being in opposition, was going against a deal that it would have supported in all cases if it was in power.

If you consider the deal in all its points, there are many positive factors for the deal from the perspectives of the BJP such as
1. Closer engagement with the US,
2. Access to more dual-use technology that was restricted in the past,
3. Agreement by a number of experts in the nuclear field and strategic fields that this deal seems to be a good one,
4. Deal seems to be more in tune with what the middle class in this country wants,
5. Agreement with the Indian-American community that wants a closer relationship between the US and India
All these are factors that are valued by the support base of the US, and one would have expected the BJP to try to claim credit for the nuclear deal by claiming that the deal was following the path set by it.

Some of the negatives in the BJP opposition flow from the same points as above:
1. Seems to be more closely aligned with what the Communists want, and if the BJP desires one thing, it is not to be grouped with the communist parties
2. Disonance among believers as to why the party is opposing the deal (even after it seems that a number of national security experts are fine with the deal)
These factors would have caused a great disillusionment in the support camp of the BJP, and was difficult to understand.

Well, looks like Advani wanted to get the BJP stand back to where it would have made more sense, whereby the BJP would not be seen as opposing the deal and yet make a few noises about caring for national security. Refer this article:

Advani had told The Indian Express on Sunday that “there is no problem with the 123 agreement”, if the Government addressed the concerns of the party through amendments in Indian domestic laws. Advani’s statement has created a flutter in the party, as many leaders who were uncomfortable with the original positioning that closely aligned the party with the Left and regional outfits found encouragement to push for amends.
Advani will lead the parliamentary debate for the BJP and is expected to outline the possible amendments in Indian laws that could reassure the party that India’s right to test is protected and fuel supply for India’s nuclear power projects will not be disrupted. He will also elaborate on his party’s attitude towards the US.

This looks like a quick turnaround so as to reassure the constituency of the BJP that the party has not suddenly gone into a tailspin. Hopefully with this, the BJP will play a supportive role for this deal.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 2:21 AM