Created: 6/4/1998

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Undaunted by Critics

Some members of Prime Ministerpuly coalition ue expressing displeasure with the Pakistan baiting and self-congiatulatkm that have followed the recent nuclear tests and saber ranlmg overunjabi regional party publicly has said the tests undermined programs to foster people-to-people ties to Punjabis across the Pakistani border.

ther BJP coalition partners arc spurning the BJP's calls for national unity and are threatening to pull out of the government, press reports suggest leaders from India's southern states are less supportiveonfrontationiil approach in Kashmir.!

The tests unified the BJP. however, and the party does not appear concerned about revolt within the coalition. The BJP retains the largest voting block in lhescats in the MS-seat lowerand opposition parties are unable to act together; moreover, the BJP routinely gets votes from an array of noncoalition parties.

The BJP has felt secure enough about its hold on power to leave its coalition partners out of key decisions: public statements indicate no ally was consulted or even informed before the blasts onnday.(

Several regionalTamil Nadu heavyweight Jayalaliiha (whondhra Pradesh stalwart Chandrababund West Bengal gadfly Mamataeriodically voice defiance of BJP policies to test the coalition, but theyhared vision.

The BJP still openly espouses the goals of its election manifesto, but Vajpayee has admonished some outspoken officials, like his personal adviser and the Defense Minister, for their intemperate remarks about Pakistan and

Press accounts suggest the BJP retains much of the popularity it gained from the tests, keeping alive the possibilitynap election, particularly if rbe coalition becomes too unruly.

An election would be an enormous expense, as wellogistic burden during monsoon season, which typically docs not end before mid-September |


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