The battle has thus been joined. And for the first time in the country’s history, it will be fought mainly, if not entirely, on economic grounds. Even the old battle, pluralism versus Hindu monolithism, seems to have faded, at least temporarily, into the background.
Why has economics suddenly become so important? If one were to go by what BJP pundits are telling us, it is because a decade of economic liberalisation has awakened a thirst in people for economic growth. A dazzling array of new products has arrived in the market, and year by year they have become more affordable. Television has begun to change values and take the country towards consumerism. More and more people are defining well-being as a widening of their choices. They are thus becoming impatient with governments that seem to stand in the way of progress in the name of the poor.