|Thursday, April 20, 2000,
Ex-PMs bid to salvage future
MR H.D. Deve Gowda's love and concern for Mr Laloo Yadav and Mrs Rabri Devi are symptoms of a frustrated politician who is dreaming of some coveted berth in the Government of India in the distant future if the former happens to be in a position to pull the strings. Mr Deve Gowda conveniently closes his eyes to the travails of the unfortunate people of Bihar who have been facing death and deprivation under Mr Laloo Yadav's dispensation for almost a decade now. He also forgets the inconvenient fact that the former Bihar Chief Minister was first chargesheeted by the CBI when the Janata Dal was ruling the roost at the Centre. He is accusing the CBI of being pressurised by the Prime Minister because Mr Vajpayee's elevation to that position and the prospects of his staying there intact continue to rankle in his heart.
This is also the reason why the four former Prime Ministers whom India Today, in its column "Flipside" this week, has christened "The Ex Files", have come together to find ways and means of toppling the Central government.
|To Mr Chandra Shekhar, the fiery Young
Turk of yesteryears, today reduced to the pitiable
position of being the head of a little known party, with
absolutely no chance of ever coming to power again, Mr
Vajpayee as Prime Minister is a thorn in the flesh.
How to dislodge him from that throne? Last year a few days before our Independence Day, he thundered (hoping that hostile MPs would listen to him and unite) that the BJP-led government could be thrown out within a week, only if the Congress took the lead. But to his great dismay Mr Vajpayee was able to unfurl the national flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort on August 15, 1999.
Mr V.P. Singh, the messiah of the Dalits and the author of "mandalisation" of our polity, whom Ms Tavleen Singh satirically calls "Mr Social Conscience", spends six months a year in London at the poor tax payers' expense because, as he puts it, Indian water is not good enough for dialysis. It certainly is good enough for the dwellers of jhuggies and jhomparies for whom his heart is constantly bleeding.
During the crucial confidence vote in the Lok Sabha last year he telephoned to his friend, Professor Soz of Kashmir at the dead of night from London to vote against the confidence motion and help dislodge the Vajpayee government. But inscrutable are the ways of destiny! Though Mr Vajpayee did lose the motion of confidence by one vote, the Constitution allowed him to function as Prime Minister and take crucial decisions during the undeclared war with Pakistan, unhindered by unsavoury interruptions of hostile elements in our Parliament since there was no Parliament to face.
Mr V.P. Singh, Mr Chandra Shekhar, Mr Deve Gowda and Mr I.K. Gujral (who has not been able to find a party to prop him up) have all come together in their desperate bid to salvage their future from the tentacles of wily BJP men. But poor Laloo, according to their reckoning, is innocent! All talk of Bihar bleeding "under him" is nothing but hogwash.
Elections and Congress
The editorial "Congress is poll wary" (April 10), castigating the party leadership for repeatedly postponing the organisational elections under one pretext or the other and thus weakening the organisation, is appreciable for its forthright tone and tenor.
There is no gainsaying the fact that at the moment the historic party is a shambles. The party in question must set its house in order if it has to play a meaningful ride in national affairs.
I fully share the editorial view that as an authentic liberal force with nationwide appeal, the historic organisation has still a major role to play. For that matter the party must go in for vigorous internal democracy, allowing sufficient room for intra-party dissent, failing which the desideratum would remain a far cry.
Raja Sansi airport
It is a matter of great satisfaction and pride for Punjab as a whole and Amritsar district in particular that the Central government has announced the upgradation of Raja Sansi airport to an international airport, and the work will be taken up shortly.
Raja Sansi is the name of a village at the outskirts of Amritsar. It is a historic village as Maharaja Ranjit Singh's ancestors used to live there. The Maharaja himself belonged to the Sansi tribe.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh's rule in Punjab is well known to everyone, especially to the students of history. He was unquestionably a democratic ruler. I, therefore, suggest that the name of Raja Sansi international airport should be named after this great son of Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It will be a great tribute to the Maharaja.
Plea for enhanced DA
More than five lakh Punjab government employees and pensioners seek the immediate release of the additional DA instalment at the rate of 1 per cent which has become payable to them from January this year.
The Central government has already sanctioned the DA instalment for its staff and pensioners. They will be paid the arrears in cash along with the salary/pension for April. The Punjab government should follow suit.
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