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An invitation but not to a party


Sinha is a hate figure for
many in India

Cracks appeared in India's ruling coalition soon after the party leading the government, the Bharatiya Janata Party, fared poorly in local elections in February.

Even as India's finance minister, Yashwant Sinha, announced his annual budget in parliament in the last week of February, religious riots were breaking out in a western state ruled by the BJP and tension

was growing in another large state over the building of a temple on a disputed site.

A chorus of protest greeted Sinha's announcements of modest cuts in subsidies on diesel fuel, cooking gas, fertilizers and government savings schemes. Not surprisingly, he has rolled back some of those cuts. A government whose political moorings are weak cannot push too hard on economic reform.

In the din over subsidy cuts, other reforms contained in Sinha's budget, particularly for foreign investors, are likely to slip through parliament.