05/26/2008, 00.00
INDIA
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Hindu nationalists in decisive victory in Karnataka

The Bharatiya Janata Party takes 110 out of 224 seats and increases its series of recent election wins. Now BJP is turning its attention to next year’s Union elections. A Karnataka bishops talks about it.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won state-wide elections in the southern state of Karnataka. The Hindu nationalist BJP was already in power in coalition with the Janata Dal until last November but in this poll made major gains, winning 110 (against 79) seats out of 224. The Congress, which leads a coalition government at the federal level, has lost instead.

The “result shows that the BJP's victory will continue right up to the general elections” in 2009, said Lal Krishna Advani, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in the next Union elections.

Since 2007 the BJP has accumulated victory after victory in various states; it now aims at taking over the central government on a platform of opposition to “betrayal, inflation and terrorism” against the Congress Party’s pledge of “stability”.

“The Congress government’s utter failure to control the prices of essential commodities, its soft policy on terrorism and its insensitivity towards the plight of farmers, have angered the common people all over the country,” Advani added.

Karnataka is politically important and its capital Bangalore is the hub of India’s booming IT India.

The BJP’s victory is also cause for concern. “In some states where the BJP is in power the ways minorities are treated raises some concerns,” said Mgr Henry D’Souza, the recently appointed bishop of the Bellary diocese who will be consecrated on 12 June. However, “society expects every party to behave in a civilised manner,” he added.

Overall he is “neither pessimistic, nor optimistic” about the future government of Karnataka because in the end the “Church does not take part in party politics but works with all those who work for the people.” (NC)

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