Friday, November 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Cong prepares for coalition politics: importance of being Manmohan Singh

HARI JAISINGH has made a serious attempt to study the present mood of the Congress in his article "Congress prepares for coalition politics" (Nov15). Besides having a particular ideology, a political party has to be thoroughly pragmatic also if it wishes to remain popular among the common people. Of late, the Congress leaders have come to realise that they cannot come into power on their own, they must look for friends and allies. The top Congress leaders ought to accept without any reservation that at present they don't have a single leader of the stature of Mahatma Gandhi or Jawaharlal Nehru. Only Mrs Sonia Gandhi has some popular appeal among the masses, others have little mass-base. I think Dr Manmohan Singh is a first-rate intellectual and a gentleman politician. But he does not have the people at his back. After all, the office of Prime Minister must be adorned by the most popular leader of the country. Though the entire article is angled at favouring Dr Singh as the Prime Minister of India, I would like to differ with the writer.

If Mrs Sonia Gandhi wishes to be the Prime Minister of this country, what is wrong in it? I think she will prove to be a good Prime Minister in case the Congress wins the next general election. We are all aware that the Congressmen approached her and requested her to lead them. She is busy reviving the Congress these days. To the surprise and dismay of many, she has been able to assert herself as a big leader. As a widow, she has won the love and affection of millions of people of India though a few among us continue hurling abuses at her.


I don't know what the writer actually means by the expression "nationalism" in this article. During World War II, there was fascism in Germany and not nationalism as the writer argues. If we accept his views in totality, Communists can never be true nationalists. Didn't the Soviet Union people have nationalism in their hearts when they were fighting out Adolf Hitler? Can Hitler be accepted as the messiah of German nationalism? I hope my simple and straightforward questions would agitate the creative and contemplative writer's fertile mind.

I fully agree with the writer's argument that the BJP-led government at the Centre has belied the hopes of millions of people of this country. The middle classes, the peasants and workers-- all feel very badly let down by Mr Vajpayee and his colleagues. In anticipation, they are looking up at the Congressmen move with the national President more out of fear than reverence. They are miserably afraid of getting decimated politically and with the help of crowd-pulling Sonia Gandhi, they can win elections. Unlike greater leaders of freedom struggle, they are motivated by sectarian and parochial interests. They are not, in any way, committed to help the poor and weak of this country. Every Indian knows that they support the questionable economic policies of the BJP-led government at the Centre.

DR R.B. YADAV DEHTI, Fatehabad

Development suffers: Whatever else may have been the achievements of 'coalition politics' in India, it is definite that genuine peace, communal harmony and healthy economic development have suffered a setback during all such dispensations. A coalition of divergent and even opposing ideologies has the sole goal of enjoying political power and strengthening one's vote-banks. Hence there have always been serious policy differences, even threats and walkouts and unscrupulous returns amongst the coalition alliances.

Ms Sonia Gandhi's willingness to form a broad-based Congress-led coalition at the Centre in the next general election should also be viewed from this angle and her personalised thinking and calculations. Let us also not forget her dynastic mind-set when at Mount Abu she aired her views on Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka joining politics. Such plans and calculations for the 2004 elections are only to bring back the Nehru-Gandhi family to power than any serious concern for the national development and welfare.


Economic factor: Coming events cast their shadows before and the Congress is coming into the limelight. Also the anti-incumbency factor is likely to play its role. Economic problems continue to be baffling. The gap between the rich and the poor has widened. Mass unemployment, grinding poverty and corruption have assumed alarming proportions. We badly need a government that can deliver in the vital economic area.

At present economic policies are in a state of drift. In areas like youth power utilisation and education we are still groping in the dark. All this requires a different treatment in a new setting. It is now for the Indian public to decide whether the Congress can provide a transparent, corruption-free, people-friendly government.

K.L. BATRA, Yamunanagar

Minorities & BJP: The most important reason for the disillusionment of the people with the BJP, says the writer, is its attitude towards the minorities (read Muslims). In fact, the feeling is reverse of it. The educated and middle class people now fully realise that the root cause of terrorism and lawlessness in India is the policy of appeasement of the Congress.

The Press and private TV channels have played an irresponsible role in spreading hatred in the minds of Muslims against Hindus. This is evident from the this very article in which Hari Jaisingh has alleged that the (Sangh) Parivar is not reconciled to the native minorities.


Uniting factor: There is no doubt that today Sonia Gandhi is the only Congress leader who continues to draw huge crowds of people in all parts of the country. Now it is a golden opportunity for the Congress to concentrate on reorganising and revitalising itself on the well-trusted and tried principles and policies of the Gandhi-Nehru era which were based on the welfare of the people and national pride.

The need of the hour is for the Congressmen to stand together, take advantage of the uniting factor of Sonia and work for the reorganisation of the party to once again make it an effective instrument of service for the common people. The single-minded aim should be to reorganise from the grassroots, revitalise with youth and revive by really empowering the weaker sections and women.


Experts on EC's order

In the news item "EC's order correct: experts” (Nov 11), Mr P.N. Lekhi has expressed his opinion against the EC's order. So where is then a “consensus among the experts”?

The names appearing in the report are not of real experts. These advocates have their affiliation with one political party or the other. They have given their opinion on party lines. It would have been better if views were sought from non-political advocates.

DR J.L. GARG, Sunam

Mani Mahesh yatra

Now that the number of pilgrims for the Mani Mahesh yatra is increasing and touching some 5 lakh a year, the HP Government must form a Mani Mahesh Trust like the Vaishno Devi Shrine Trust for the proper management of funds and the yatra.



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