Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

India's Muslims Are Anxious as Hindu Leader Takes Control

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

India's Muslims Are Anxious as Hindu Leader Takes Control

Article excerpt

For the first time in India's history, a Hindu nationalist has been picked to govern the diverse nation, raising anxiety among its large Muslim minority.

On Wednesday, President Shankar Dayal Sharma named Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the leader of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, or Indian People's Party, a mainly Hindu party, as India's 10th prime minister. Vajpayee, 60, who was foreign minister from 1977 to 1979, will be sworn in today as prime minister.

Vajpayee and his party, which finished first in India's election, have until the end of the month to gather enough support in Parliament to form the next government. That may not be easy.

After a week of chaotic maneuvering, the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies control only 195 seats in Parliament, far fewer than the 268 they need for a majority. The centrist Congress Party, which finished second, and the socialist National Front-Left Front coalition, which was third, have refused to join up with the Bharatiya Janata Party. …

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