Tuesday, July 15, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


Congress must assess its own role first

THE three-day Vichar Manthan Shivir of the Congress at Shimla culminating with a 14-point political charter is a crafty move to woo the voters. How can any manthan be meaningful unless it undertakes a debate on the causes of its dismal performance during more than 45 years of its rule before? Its new slogan is: ‘Congress ka haath, garibi ke saath’. But what happened to its earlier slogan of ‘Garibi hatao’?

During its long rule, poverty, unemployment and lawlessness continued to spread, slums abound and standards of education consistently fell and security of the citizens' life and limb disappeared. Corruption spread like cancer and became institutionalised. As for their secular credentials, the less said the better.

What steps did the Congress take to curb the growing fundamentalist madarsa culture which is now sought to be curbed even in Islamic Pakistan? Is their any mention in the party's charter of any attempt in this direction?



The Directive Principles of State Policy lay down that the state shall endeavour to secure for its citizens a uniform civil code throughout India. Is there even an oblique reference to the implementation of this provision? No. All talk of equality before the law and the goal of secularism are just a ploy to grab votes.

The party is also silent about its past performance. As for Nehru's vision of foreign policy, who can forget the tragedy of Partition, the intractable Kashmir dispute and the disappearance of Tibet as a buffer state because of that policy?

There is hardly a word of praise for the vision of Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel or Rajagopalachari who were also the leading lights of the party at some time but differed with Nehru. Rajaji led a crusade against the licence-quota-inspector raj long before Dr Manmohan Singh was born as an economist.

If Congress comes to power, it will be not because of its clean image or past performance but because of the misrule of the NDA and widespread corruption in the BJP ranks, of which Punjab, UP, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat are shameful examples. Whom should the voter choose? The villain who is in the saddle now, or the villain who is holding out a carrot for the future?

R.L. SINGAL, Chandigarh


The editorial “Shimla Musings, Congress looks for a vote bank” is a realistic analysis of the mindset and confused state of the rank and file in the Congress. But the whole scenario should be analysed in a broader perspective. There is no immediate danger to the BJP's invincible position unless Congress leaders meet it with a counter-offensive. Elections to some State Assemblies will be fought on local issues.

There is confusion in the Congress regarding its policies and poll allies. Its backroom boys will coin catchy slogans like ‘Garibi ke saath’ and expose corruption. But the party think-tank should formulate matching strategies based on ground realities.

The Congress should realise that the voter's approval of its policies is all that matters. And so, it should match the BJP’s communal card with a statement that it has kept the issue of leadership in abeyance and that the will of the people will prevail. This will help Congress neutralise the pre-poll irritant and lethal weapon in the BJP’s armament — the foreign stigma of Mrs Sonia Gandhi.

The Congress should maintain its national character. It should go alone in all states except in Jammu and Kashmir and Maharashtra. In Maharashtra, just as the BJP has no alternative than to ally with the Shiv Sena, the Congress has no option than to ally with the NCP.

In Tamil Nadu, Ms Jayalalithaa is impulsive and unreliable. The Congress should hammer an MGR-Indira Gandhi style arrangement with Mr Karunanidhi’s DMK. In Bihar, the Congress should continue its alliance with Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav’s RJD.

In UP, it should rebuild its own house first. Priyanka, through her whirlwind tours, may attract votes for the party. It should come on equal terms with Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party with a clear understanding that it will extend wholehearted support to him in state politics.

Dr TIRATH GARG, Ferozepur City


Defective promotion system

THE promotion system in the Senior Secondary Schools in Punjab is very defective, unfair and needs major overhauling. While promoting teachers as lecturers, highly qualified and meritorious teachers with Ph.D and M.Phil degrees are generally ignored whereas third divisioners are given promotion.

Surprisingly, the “total service” of the candidate is taken into account instead of the teaching experience in the particular subject. Also, no due weightage is given to Ph.D or M.Phil degrees. Unfortunately, a majority of the promotee school lecturers are third divisioners; they have absolutely aptitude for the subject they are required to teach after promotion as lecturer.

To make teaching more effective and qualitative in the Senior Secondary Schools, only highly qualified teachers should be promoted as lecturers. To avoid the entry of poor stuff, the minimum qualification for the post of School Lecturer should be at least 50 per cent marks in the post-graduation. Due weightage should be given to Ph.D/ M.Phil degree holders. Instead of total service, teaching experience in the subject concerned should be taken into account for purposes of promotion.

Dr HARNEK SINGH KOMAL, DAV College, Bathinda

Registration blues

It was sad to see long queues for a change of address in the registration card (RC) of vehicles in Chandigarh. As per the Canadian rules, one has to change his/her address in the Driving License (DL) and the RC of the vehicle within seven days of the change of residence.

There are specific computers installed at all the plazas/malls where one can go and insert his/her DL and RC and change the address there itself. The new address is recorded in the Transport Ministry database and you don’t have to pay any fees or to go to the ministry's office and stand in the queue.

If Chandigarh’s UT administration is issuing Smart cards for DL and Vehicle RC, why the change of address can’t be done by just filling a half page form? As the information in the chip can be changed by pressing a few keys on the keyboard, one need not pay Rs 200 for that.

The IAS officers have made simple systems lousy; they do not understand what is possible with the new technology these days. I wish these guys serve the people better by making the procedures simpler and easy to follow.

HARPREET JATANA, Toronto, Canada

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