BJP fails to hoist flag
The BJP tried very hard to raise the flag over Lal Chowk, Srinagar on Republic day. But they failed, although the means by which they were foiled were strange and could prove to be illegal if the matter does arise in court. Trains were turned back, roads were barred and senior BJP leaders arrested the minute they touched the soil of Jammu. Eventually the BJP had to settle for a symbolic raising of the flag in various parts of Jammu.
The BJP, no doubt stinging by the loss of face, has threatened various actions against the UPA government and the State government of Omar Abdullah, including the filing of cases. These threats may or may not amount to anything but they had to be made and they were.
The most obvious thing however is that the BJP's support base has been exposed as hollow. If tens of thousands of supporters had stormed into Srinagar then the government would have been helpless in preventing the BJP from doing anything. But that was not the case. A few hundreds at best tried their luck.
Keep in mind that the effectiveness of the J&K police was proved so definitely in the stone-throwing frenzies the Kashmiri's indulged in earlier this year. The overall impression was not of an elite squad of motivated men capable of convincing an angry determined mob to quietly disperse and go home. But they were good enough to thwart the efforts of the BJP.
The UPA and Omar Abdullah used dubious and possibly undemocratic methods to enforce their writ. However, in the end, when push came to shove the BJP just could not gather the support they were so sure they had.
Better luck next time!
Image: Police restrain BJP activists protesting against the Jammu and Kashmir government outside their party office in Jammu on Wednesday.
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Text: Vinayak Hegde/PTI/IANS
For the week of 21 to 28 January