Sonia's move sparks panic in UF, BJP
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
The United Front and the Bharatiya Janata Party seem to have hit the panic button with former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's widow Sonia deciding to campaign for the Congress.
Both the UF and the BJP have put up a brave front, claiming that it will not affect their electoral prospects.
The saffron party, however, seems to be more panicky than the UF. The very fact that the BJP leaders are preparing to rake up issues like the Bofors showed their apprehension regarding Sonia's vote-catching
It is learnt that the BJP leadership, including party chief Lal Kishinchand Advani and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, have called for a series of brain-storming meetings for devising a strategy to stall Sonia's plans. Playing a key role in these sessions would be BJP leaders like Krishan Lal Sharma, Murli
Manohar Joshi, Jana Krishnamurthy and S S Bhandari.
As for the BJP's electoral prospects, political observers believe that the Sangh Parivar, notably the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's rigid Hindutva stance, is likely to disillusion the minorities who had thought the BJP was the best bet in the prevailing circumstances.
The minorities would now have a re-think, following Sonia's decision.
The UF seems equally worried, though it described her decision as an ''internal matter without any external implications''. But a major UF constituent, the Samajwadi Party seems to inching closer to the Congress. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has already welcomed the Sonia move.
Similarly, the Left constituents of the UF seem to be apprehensive. But
the Left parties's staunch anti-Congress stance has compelled their
leadership to virtually ignore Sonia's entry into the Congress.
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