As one might expect, now that the immediate crisis in Mumbai is over, and authorities try and figure out who did what, why and how, the battle now shifts to the political front in India. This Newsweek piece explains:
security and intelligence forces work in the coming days to find the
identity of the terrorists who attacked the country's financial
capital, Indians in several states across the country will head for the
polls to choose members of their state assemblies.
The states of Delhi
and Mizoram hold elections on Saturday, Rajasthan in the northwest will
vote on Dec. 4, and Jammu and Kashmir is holding an ongoing election
through Dec. 24th.
These states, together with Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, which also polled this month, account for over 180 million of the country's 1.1 billion population.
Because the latest assault on Mumbai may have heightened fears among voters over their own safety, the politics of a considerable swath of the country could lurch rapidly to the right—with big implications for the growing tensions between Hindus and Muslims. These local elections could set the stage for a similar shift in national elections to be held sometime before May 2009.
The recent violence is a boon to the right-wing Hindu dominated Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP). Even before the latest violence, a series of blasts across the
country claiming at least 200 lives this year had already helped the
BJP, which has flagged terrorism as an issue in the campaign.
Even as the security forces battled the terrorists holed in Mumbai, the BJP had begun to use the opportunity to point to a weak government "soft" on terrorism. Frontpage newspaper adverts in Delhi on Friday, the day before the city goes to the polls, said the incident shows that the ruling Congress-led government is "unwilling and incapable" of dealing with terrorism. BJP leaders on the stump seized the opportunity. "There's an immediate reaction from people on the Mumbai siege, and the feedback has been very positive for the party," said a senior BJP member in Delhi to the Times of India. "Our challenge will be to convert this outrage into votes for the BJP."
Politics is the same everywhere, and what's occurring could have been anticipated, perhaps even by those who planned the assault. By all indications, the attack which has been called India's 9/11, also seems to have a bit of India's Oklahoma, and a dramatically expanded and remorselessly executed India's Columbine.
Now, with the politics taking center stage, both domestic and international, this event could well pre-sage India's own endless, politically driven "War on Terror" fueled by the next phase of it's citizens, unbridled media-fueled anger.