But will this unity work? The two sides have laid down the ground rules of conduct. There will be no more infighting between their respective followers in public. But will good behaviour erase the substantive differences that divide them? Can both sides agree on the shade of Hinduism good for the country, or on economic reforms? Both issues affect national political goals.
Is it certain that open infighting will not be replaced by a more deadly silent infighting that will further paralyse the government? Consider the sustained media attack on a cabinet minister described by one newspaper as Mr Sleaze. There is no doubt that the media attack is inspired from within the ruling party. That does not of course take credit away from the intrepid journalists who wrote some of the reports. Indeed, some betrayed legal acumen so acute it would have done legal luminaries like Arun Jaitley proud! Is the media assault a harbinger of things much worse to come?
By attempting a patchwork, tattered unity, the leaders in government are throwing away a great opportunity. A formal split following substantive policy differences would conceivably polarise the nation's polity to create a genuine two-party system. The rss would have relations with both parties and could afford to stay away from direct political interference.
Experience tells us that whenever the government splits at the top on some perceived policy issue, Opposition parties are led eventually to join one side or the other. Indira Gandhi and Morarji Desai proved that. So did Rajiv Gandhi and V.P. Singh. So why shouldn't Vajpayee and Advani demonstrate the same?
Such a split would lead to governance far more focused than the present paralysed, back-stabbing version of governance we witness. And who knows, learning from the past a split bjp may even succeed in creating two ideologically coherent political parties. The Congress is lucky that rss leaders lack the imagination to attempt this!
Divided you'll stand,
United you'll fall,
Stop wrecking the land,
Heed conviction's call!