WITH the Congress floundering, the B J P is on a post-Kargil high. But there are gaps in the teflon arm our. Its trouble with its allies even if a deal is hammered out on the Janata Dal issue is going to be the soft underbelly as far as the campaign goes. The likes of Sharad Yadav and J.H. Patel asking for votes to for instal the "fascists" in Delhi and vice-versa is a scenario tailor-made for the Opposition. And if B J P hardliners have their way and manage to scupper the deal, the "N D A is falling a part" slogan fits perf e c t l y. Either way, some damage is certain : in BJP that old ghost Advani/R S S vs Vajpayee/moderates has been resurrected, seat-sharing negotiations are going to be hell and knives are already out on the question of state-level leadership in Karnataka and Bihar between the "new look JD" and the B J P.
The governments ongoing war of attrition with the President is another sticky issue. BJP leaders know that if the charges on the telecom bailout, the hurry to get Indian Airlines to buy aircraft, the populist sops and reshuffle of bureaucrats acquire credibility, even their strongest supporters in urban, middle-class India may be receptive to the Opposition campaign.
Even the advantages accrued to the BJP due to Vajpayees hand-ling of Kargil can, potentially, be neutralised. Provided, say many in the Congress and Left parties, the Opposition runs a slightly less hysterical campaign on why Kargil happened at all.