It would take a book to enumerate the ways in which a combination of populism, political cowardice and petty opportunism have succeeded in paralysing the government. Suffice it to say that by the time he made his threat, the consensus that he had evolved within the nda in December 1998, that the coalition partners would refrain from public criticism of the government's policies while he would ensure that the right wing of the Sangh parivar would not try to foist Hindu monolithism on the coalition, had become so badly frayed that it was on the point of coming apart. The Sangh parivar ceased to be quiescent from the moment that K.S. Sudershan became the sarsanghchalak of the rss.
Vajpayee and Yashwant Sinha's economic policies, especially their efforts to control the fiscal deficit that lies at the root of the prolonged slump in the economy, have been systematically opposed. The Tehelka scandal gave the rss a chance to attack Vajpayee's mainstay in the pmo—Brajesh Mishra and N.K. Singh—and led to the exit of the latter. With that Vajpayee lost the one civil servant in his office who had given a crisp new edge to economic reform. Worse still, both the nda and the bjp ignored his pleas to treat the issue of corruption as a national problem arising from the lack of a system for election funding, and decided instead on a highly charged mud-slinging match with the Congress. The last straw, however, was the rss' opposition to, and later criticism of, the Agra summit.