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Friday, 12 April, 2002, 21:53 GMT 22:53 UK
Analysis: BJP's Gujarat tactics
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee
Dissolving assemblies throws BJP opponents off track
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By Sandesh Prabhudesai
BBC correspondent in Panaji, Goa
line

India's ruling party has adopted a new strategy to strengthen flimsy government coalitions, according to a leading regional politician.

Goa's Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said the resignation offer by Gujarat's Chief Minister Narendra Modi should be seen in conjunction with last February's dissolution of the assembly in Goa.


It simply means the BJP is on the offensive

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar

That dissolution - at the recommendation of Mr Parrikar - effectively threw down the gauntlet to the opposition Congress party and the coalition partners of the Bharatiya Janata Party, he said.

The BJP has told Mr Modi he should stand for re-election in Gujarat.

A strong show of support for him and the BJP could perhaps silence Mr Modi's critics, who have included coalition partners in Gujarat.

Mr Parrikar said the action of calling for a dissolution of the assembly in Gujarat was a tactic.

"It simply means the BJP is on the offensive," he said.

Mr Parrikar saw how the Congress party was thrown into confusion when he called for the dissolution of the Goa assembly.

His resignation in February - halfway through the assembly's 32-month term - was an effective pre-emptive strike by Mr Parrikar and his party who feared the coalition could have been broken up if there had been another defection away from it.

Balancing act

Thus, the action in Gujarat should be seen as a clear signal to allies of the National Democratic Alliance who were among those calling for Mr Modi's head after the religious violence.

Mr Parrikar said: "If you read in between the lines of the prime minister's speech at the public rally, the message is very clear."

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee abandoned earlier balancing acts and lashed out at India's Muslim community as a whole.

BJP President Jana Krishnamurthy added to the argument when asked if the dissolution strategy would be used against anyone trying to dislodge a BJP government.

"If anyone tries to demand the head of a state in a similar manner, we well definitely follow the similar strategy," he said.

See also:

25 Feb 02 | South Asia
Analysis: India's vulnerable BJP
12 Apr 02 | South Asia
BJP stands by Gujarat chief
24 Feb 02 | South Asia
BJP setback in Indian polls
04 Apr 02 | South Asia
Vajpayee says riots 'shameful'
01 Apr 02 | South Asia
Concern over Gujarat violence
24 Mar 02 | South Asia
Rights panel censures Gujarat
07 Jan 02 | South Asia
Profile: Atal Behari Vajpayee
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