Indeed I read the editorial ?? (The Indian Express, 7-3-2008) three times to see if I was missing something from its logic. My comments in reference to its specific points are below:
?PM is trying to break the domestic political logjam on foreign policy??If the PM'sintention was indeed to achieve consensus and break domestic political logjam on the nuclear policy, he should have done his math to see if he could keep either his CPM partners or BJP in sync with progress on discussions with US throughout the period of discussions rather than afterwards. The then Foreign Minister Natwar Singh has lately made it clear that even he was not in the loop on discussions with the US on the N-agreement and was told of the N-announcement after landing in Washington.
?Deeply dismayed by the BJP'scurrent opportunistic opposition, Advani has allowed the BJP to abandon willy nilly Vajpayee'sproud foreign policy legacy??So the editorial is implying that any disagreement with the government on the US nuclear deal is the proof of BJP abandoning Vajpayee'sForeign Policy. Has it tried to educate Indian masses on the differences in the 123 Agreement between US and India vs. similar agreement between US & China (and mind you India?not China?is supposed to be the long-term natural ally of the US).
?Vajpayee will live up to his reputation as India'selder statesman and come out in defence of the deal??Again implying that opposing the deal amounts to failing to live up to his reputation as India'selder statesman. It seems to forget that Vajpayee did not go for Pokhran-II to live up to his reputation but rather to redefine India'sreputation while protecting its national interests.
?The Congress always had the option to triangulate between the BJP and the CPM??That is the truth. While speaking of truth, let'salso admit that Congress always had the option and used it for 60 years to triangulate between castes, religions, and regions. Is Congress? ability to ?triangulate? any different from Briton'sability to ?divide and conquer? or is that editorial'sway of making Congress? habitual malpractices somehow less deplorable or even admirable?
?The BJP and the CPM, which are the two most mutually hostile political formations in India??BJP has never treated CPM as untouchable but the opposite is not true. In fact, there are many public discourses on various issues of national interest in which BJP has responded to allegations against it in a constructive manner but CPM has not engaged in a public discourse with the same zeal.
?The uncharacteristic aggression and sophistication displayed by the PM in the Parliament on Wednesday underlines the Congress leadership'swelcome return to political purposefulness??Since when is ?starting to dig a well after the fire has started? seen as sophistication underlining return to political purposefulness? It is an utter failure of living up to the ?coalition dharma? that the PM?whose party does not even command majority in the Parliament?kept everyone outside of PMO?even his own Foreign Minister (from the same Congress party)?out of the loop on the N-deal with the US and is now suddenly trying to scramble to get a consensus on the deal.
?Giving due credit to Vajpayee for imagining the possibilities for peace in the Subcontinent should help undercut inevitable opposition from the BJP to the PM'snew outreach to Pakistan??The PM has not even announced any new path-breaking outreach to Pakistan. Do you know something we don?t? Also, what does the editorial mean by ?inevitable opposition from the BJP to the PM'snew outreach to Pakistan? Be it a constructive dialogue with Pakistan or economic liberalisation starting in early 90s, BJP has not engaged in ?inevitable opposition? for the sake of opposition but has in fact supported both. The editorial seems to have forgotten that Shri Vajpayee had compared Indira Gandhi to Durga Mata after the 1971 war while one will be hard pressed to find any public support by the Congress to BJP government'sactions during and after the Kargil war or Pokharan-II.
Congress and news media have spent the last 40-50 years unsuccessfully trying to imagine and create a divide between Vajpayee and Advani to no avail.