Thursday, June 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Confusing Left stand on next President’s choice

I read with interest Satish Misra’s “On record” (June 22). CPI General Secretary A.B. Bardhan is “clear” on the issue that the “election of President is always a political contest.” Let us examine what Mr Bardhan has to say in reply to a question: “It is worth recalling here that it is we who had first suggested that it would be good if we can decide the issue by consensus:” When you consider the issue as a political contest, why did you suggest a consensus, one may ask Mr Bardhan.

He laments that “unfortunately, the NDA did nothing.” The glaring contradiction is staring in one’s face. He also admits that the Left parties reached the conclusion later that “a political contest should take place.” Clearly it dawned upon them only when they were not consulted! To take refuge under the prevailing conditions in the country was a lame excuse.

On the candidature of Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam, Mr Bardhan says “I am not discussing the personality but I am on issues.” He further says “The question here is not of choosing between personalities or supporting anyone personality.” But in the same breath he maintains “Though his (Dr Kalam’s) eminence as a scientist is beyond question but I am not aware of his having expressed views on any of the various issues that have faced the country or affected the nation.”


Mr Bardhan also lays down the qualifications for the President of India. He says: “We would like a President who is aware and sensitive etc.... After all a nominee for the President is bound to be an eminent person of great integrity and learning.” Obviously, Mr Bardhan is trying in vain to separate the two while underlining and denying the importance of the personality in the issue of “Presidency”. Perhaps, a dialectical approach!

CPM General Secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet declared at a press conference in the very presence of Mr Bardhan that the “People’s Front is no more there.” But the latter says, “Who has walked out of the Front? Only one party has done so and tomorrow others may join it.”

Both Mr Surjeet and Mr Bardhan are contradicting each other. Mr Jyoti Basu, a well-known CPM leader, a prominent office-bearer of the Peoples’ Front declared at Kolkata that he would form another Third Front. That he said after the official announcement of the Peoples’ Front’s demise.

What inference can one draw from the varying and contradictory voices coming from within the Left Front? Is it not in absolute muddle?

A word about the CPM’s stand in particular would not be out of place here.

After the finalisation of Dr Kalam’s name the first reaction of CPM spokesman Sita Ram Yachuri was that he lacked political experience. A day later he said that Dr Kalam was not acceptable because he was an NDA nominee. The latest and till date objection is that he is being used by the RSS and its Parivar. Nobody knows what the CPM spokesman will say next.

Last, but not the least. Why was no big face visible on the day Left Front nominee Lakshmi Sahgal filed her nomination papers? Only the third and fourth rung leaders accompanied her to the cross. One wished that the old lady could have been spared this humiliation. One feels sorry for her being made the sacrificial goat at the altar of the Left Front’s rank opportunism. The excuse that the Left Front was busy in celebrating its silver jubilee is adding insult to the injury.


Overcoming greed

Under the umbrella of a failing legislature, an ailing executive and a cumbersome judiciary, it seems difficult to put the nation on an even kneel. A few “catches” here and there may not suffice to curb corruption. An all-out crusade is needed to remedy the worsening situation, aptly described by an Urdu couplet:

“Baton se bhi badli hai kisi kaum ki takdir, jugnu ke chamakne se andherey nahi jate”.

The misplaced emphasis on raising the standard of living should shift to improving the standard of life bared on moral values. There is no dearth of religious and spiritual teachings to cleanse our life only if we have the inclination to free ourselves from the shackles of greed.

Secondly, the punishment for corruption needs to be made more stringent, say life imprisonment or even the death penalty. Thirdly, the judicial procedure for trial be made simpler and speedier. Ill-gotten property should be promptly attached at the initial stage and finally confiscated on conviction.



The other day Defence Minister George Fernandes issued a statement regarding cross-border infiltration. As per his version, infiltration has almost stopped. Two days later the Prime Minister issued a statement that cross-border infiltration still continues. Before issuing sensitive statements they should at least consult each other.

P. K. WALIA, Chandigarh

Update website

Mr Parkash Singh Badal is still the CM of Punjab and Mr Tota Singh is Education Minister for the Punjab School Education Board if someone happens to visit the, “Messages” section of its website. The new government has completed more than three months, but the school board authorities have not updated the contents of their website.


Siding with the corrupt

Apropos the news item “NDA team to assess Punjab situation” (June 16), is it not surprising that Mr Badal, even after losing badly in all recent elections, is still taking the side of corrupt people who have amassed money and calls the current raids against economic offenders at high places as political vendetta?

By trying to take the NDA with him Mr Badal perhpas is thinking of drowning the NDA’s sinking ship also! Hum to dubey they sanam, tumhen bhi saath ley dubeyn gay”!

RUPINDER B. SINGH, Thorntonheath, UK

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