Tuesday, May 6, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Rallies at state expense are abominable

The thought-provoking editorial “Laloo’s lathi rally” (April 30) is a timely hint to those politicians who blatantly misuse government machinery for their party purposes. Your contention that today almost every party, when in power, indulges in such practices is cent per cent correct. To say the least, the very idea of spending the honest tax-payers’ money for political extravaganza, is simply abominable.

The ever-growing trend of such political “tamasha” in the country doesn’t augur well for the future of our democracy. Apart from showing outright contempt for public probity, such practices betray the “couldn’t-care-less” attitude of the leaders, in power. Every now and then there is a political rally being held somewhere or the other. Such rallies cripple the civil administration. In fact, the bureaucrats and their staff have to bend backwards to ensure the success of the rally. Laloo’s lathi rally on April 30 contained all these ingredients and much more. Besides spewing political venom on his main political adversary — the BJP, Laloo was at his theatrical best, making provocative statements and spinning the usual yarn.

Sadly, the rally resulted in the death of two prominent-political leaders, injury to scores of people, burning of over a dozen vehicles, similar incalculable damage to other property etc. It would be a Herculean task to calculate the total cost of all such rallies at the national level. Indeed, it would be a mind-boggling figure — a colossal waste of money and precious resources.


More interestingly, the devastating effect such rallies have on the psyche of our youth can be really telling. They quickly learn the manipulative art of “politicking” in sharp contrast to developing a healthy respect for-say, manual work or any other form of “work”. That perhaps accounts for our general contempt for dignity of labour.

Our political leaders are largely responsible for this aberration. They must remember that they carry, no authority whatsoever, to squander public money. There are well-established norms and stipulated procedures for spending public money. The rules must be strictly followed. Or else, we would soon be moving towards a perverted form of government called ‘kleptocracy’ — where there is an irressistible urge and scope for people to steal.

Hence, unless curbed and controlled now, the prevalent “political rally culture at government expense” will surely affect adversely the healthy growth of democracy in our country. Our national leaders, the public-spirited among the intelligentsia and the media, in particular, must synergise their efforts to condemn and root out this perilous practice, before it gets too late.

Brig. G.S. KHIMTA (retd.), Shimla

Punga Rally

The proceedings of Laloo’s Lathi Rally, pre and post happenings, the tone and tenor of Laloo’s speech made me dismayed, tense and restive the whole day long.

I dreamt on April 30 that Laloo organises another rally, “Punga Rally”. He delivers another ludicrous speech with gimmery, lark postures and tries to demoralise and ridicule the Central leadership and ridicules all the three organs of the government. He mocks at the vital national issues and exaggerates the local, petty odd issues and blames the Centre for the woes of the Biharis thereby instigating the people of the State to settle scores with the Centre.

He plays every act of tomfoolery but there is none to applause, applaud, cheer up and encourage. It makes him sink to the back seat. Heart-broken, he retires in a corner of the CM lodge with Rabri alone to console.

I wish the dream could be true and Indian politics cleansed!


Negative approach

Apropos of your report “No to negative marking”, the majority of deserving candidates feels that the hypocrisy of the vociferous claims of “transparent examination with a fair chance to all” has been broken. In the examination centre allotted to me and a few others i.e. the Thapar Institute, the invigilator initially ignored the question about negative marking, but announced the same during the optional paper (Mathematics) as in the 1998 examination. Instead of admitting his department’s mistake, the chairman gave a piquant statement, justifying the practice!

Contrary to the claims of the examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, the mathematics paper had 150 questions to be answered in 120 minutes. Whereas in the UPSC paper, to ensure a level-playing field, the questions are 100 for mathematics and 150 for arts subjects, to be attempted in the same time. It can be claimed that the PPSC paper on mathematics cannot be attempted in a given time by the majority of PSC-I teachers. Unfortunately, it has become a habit for the PPSC to play with the future of deserving candidates. The authorities should look into the matter and do justice to the candidates.

Shabeg Singh, Patiala

Widen the road

Manikaran is a common pilgrimage for Hindus and Sikhs. It is situated 35 km from Bhuntar (Kulu) in the deep mountains at a height of 6,000 feet. The metalled road running across the river is narrow. The road is not all-weather. A bus takes about two hours to cover the distance. During the rainy season, road blocks due to landslides are common, causing inconvenience to tourists and pilgrims.

The road should be widened with safety parapets. It should be made an all-weather road. There seems to be shortage of funds. It will be a good gesture if the SGPC provides some funds for widening of the road. It will benefit the Sikh pilgrims most. This will also encourage faster development of the town.

Col. G.B. SINGH (retd), Patiala

Incorrect report

The report “Cable operators beat up the customer: mob manhandles Civil Surgeon” (The Tribune, April 28) is not correct. It does not have a grain of truth. It is true that the mob manhandled me, but I was never beaten up. The incorrect report has tarnished my unblemished image in the eyes of the people and society at large.

Your correspondent should have cross-checked facts before reporting the news, especially when the matter involved a senior administrative officer like me.

Dr P.D.Sharma, Civil Surgeon, Mansa

Our Correspondent writes: I stand by my report.


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