Thursday, March 8, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Developments at Patna: a suggestion

THE furore caused by the opposition parties over NDA leader Nitish Kumar’s appointment as the Chief Minister of Bihar (March 4), when apparently he lacked working majority in the Vidhan Sabha, was understandable. But this was not the first time that such a thing had happened in our constitutional history.

Mr A.B. Vajpayee’s appointment as Prime Minister in 1996 in a similar situation led to his unceremonial exit just after 13 days, causing not only the loss of face to him and his party but also some embarrassment to the then President who had appointed him.

Will there be a repeat of history at Patna? The question is on everybody’s lips.

To avoid such embarrassing situations, it has often been suggested, among others, by constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap that when no party gets a clear majority the President/Governor may, under Article 86 (2) of the Constitution, send a message to the Pro-Tem Speaker that the House should elect its “Leader” with more than half of its total membership votes. The person so elected may then be appointed Prime Minister\Chief Minister.

  This will also help the formation of a stable coalition government by him with the participation of the parties, groups and members who jointly elect him on the floor of the House in a transparently democratic way.

Since Mr Kashyap is now a member of the Constitution Review Committee, one hopes he will convince it to recommend the introduction of this practice.


Unfair to Freedom Party

The article “Austria’s growing ostracisation” by Mr Mohan Bhatt, published on February 28, paints a picture of the situation in Austria, in which I have difficulties recognising the country I have known for the length of my lifetime. The stability of Austrian democracy since 1945, the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and their protection by an independent and fully functioning judicial system is not duly reflected in the piece. Xenophobia, anti-semitism and racism represent forms of behaviour intolerable in Europe — this continues to be the conviction of the people of Austria as well as of its government, as expressed in the Declaration of February 3, 2000, signed by the leaders of the two coalition partners.

I recognise that the article gives an accurate account of Austria’s liberal refugee policy over the last decades. At the same time, however, by singling out the Freedom Party, it seems to ignore the current policies in the field of immigration of governments all over Europe. To compare the policy of the Austrian Freedom Party with Hitler’s NS-party’s is to play down the latter’s horrors. A “three-fingered salute”, which is deemed to be “reminiscent of the Nazis” could only have been confused with the now international victory sign. Mr Haider’s “most striking speech... praising the labour policies of Hitler’s NS-party” consisted in one highly controversial quote during a parliamentary debate led to his losing the governorship of Carinthia in 1992 (and for which he has apologised since).

Austria has been taken aback by the declaration by 14 European Union member-states. We take the concerns expressed by our partners in the Union and by all our friends abroad very seriously.

The fact that Austria has not been informed or consulted in advance, however, contradicts the very spirit of the EU Treaty, which is based on the principles of solidarity and cooperation between the partners of the Union. Austria, to the contrary, is determined to pursue its policy of European integration in the spirit of the treaties. We will continue to cooperate with all EU institutions in a constructive and committed way. Be assured that Austria continues to stand for common values and common principles and shares a common concept of civilisation. Let the programme of the new government and its actions be the proper proof of its intentions and orientations.

Deputy Chief of Mission
Austrian Embassy
New Delhi

Infotech city

The recent decision by the government to establish a new infotech city has been widely appreciated by people in general.

Infotech and IT-related business is one of the most happening sectors right now, and India is one of the hottest destinations for investment in such sectors. The southern cities in India have taken the lead in promoting infotech industries. The lack of infrastructure has held back the infotech revolution spreading in the North.

Innovative steps like setting up a new infotech city will give the necessary infrastructure to promote the IT industry in the North, and the NRIs who have made it big in the silicon will give an enthusiastic response to such an initiative.




Restricted maps

A part of a restricted map of the Naushera sector of Jammu and Kashmir was published in a section of the Press on February 28. However, maps like the published one, prepared by the Survey of India, are a “Restricted” document. Every sheet carries a warning that it should not be copied and or published in any manner, in part or whole without prior permission of the Surveyor-General of India.

With a view to apprising the masses at large, as to where exactly the military confrontation has taken place, the news casters earlier used to make out a line sketch of such areas for use in the Press. That saved sensitive information from falling into wrong hands.

Further, whereas in today’s era of satellite picturing of land projection, any part of the earth may not be unknown to determined parties, yet placing such restricted maps of sensitive areas at the news-stands is an unwise decision, as far as I can understand.


Define the position of Governor?

Answer: The Governor is like vermiform appendix; useless when inactive, and liable to be removed if active.



Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |