Caught Between a Laloo
and a Hard Place
Laloo Prasad Yadav's histrionics in Pakistan are a reminder that the shelves will be empty when Indians go shopping for leadership during next year's parliamentary elections. Laloo, part of a "peace delegation" to Pakistan, is proclaiming to Pakistanis how much in love India is with them. Pakistanis of course are gushing over his performance; their generals and jehadis alike must be laughing their heads off to see an Indian politician visiting them and lionizing the Indo-Pak love affair even as they continue to send terrorists to kill, maim, blow up and traumatize the hapless state of Jammu and Kashmir.
In next year's elections, the main opposition party led by Sonia Gandhi will doubtless form coalitions to break the NDA hold on the center. Laloo's RJD, Mulayam Singh Yadav's SP and many other parties depending upon Muslim vote banks will be courted, and there is some chance that this coalition will be able to form a government. With so much dependence on Muslim interests, such a government will doubtless continue and expand on the clueless "peace process" that can not proceed without concessions to terrorists.
The other choice would of course be the NDA, which has ruled for five years now at the center. Led by the nationalistic BJP, the NDA came in with a bang, carrying out world-defying nuclear tests, but is leaving with a whimper, having been beaten into submission by Pakistani jehad. Its leadership, from poet Vajpayee to paper tiger Advani, have blown hot and cold, but eventually come down to where Pakistan wanted them. The NDA's dalliances with the Uncle Sam have not paid off, and Pakistan, replete with jehadis and terrorists, is still a "front-line ally in the war on terror", and recipient of billions of dollars of American aid. The net effect of NDA policies has been a lot of talk, but little to show for it. A government led by Mulayam, Laloo or Sonia would have shown very similar results after five years in power.
Thus at next year's elections, there is no hope from any side that the next government can take the jehad bull by its horns and send it to a decisive defeat. The fate of Kashmir hangs in balance. With even the so-called nationalist government not willing to take measures to strengthen national security by not bowing to Pakistan and removing the long-standing and growing cancer of Article 370, the state is headed towards further Talibanization-Pakistanization. Don't count on the state of Jammu and Kashmir to remain standing as the last bulwark against Islamization of the Indian subcontinent. The end may not be too far from now, perhaps within this decade.