India Shining: A question of propriety

THIS has reference to your two editorials “Elections Shining” (Feb 10) and “India spending” (Feb 13). I endorse the view that the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government should not have unleashed a massive propaganda blitzkrieg through “India Shining” campaign. Admittedly, the government has every right to educate the people about its achievements in various fields, but it should not misuse public funds for its canvassing just before the Lok Sabha elections.

The issue in question is not whether the government has the right to educate the people through official advertisements but it is the timing factor and a question of propriety for the simple reason that the Lok Sabha elections are round the corner.

In this context, I endorse Chief Election Commissioner T.S. Krishna Murthy’s appeal to political parties to follow the model code of conduct immediately, without waiting for the formal notification of the election dates. The central idea behind his appeal is to help check misuse of public funds by the government for the ruling party’s campaigning. I am surprised that while the Congress is critising the Centre, it is silent about a similar campaign started by the Karnataka Chief Minister, Mr S. M. Krishna to boost his poll prospects.




At the Centre and in the states, huge funds are spent on the salaries, perks and allowances of our ministers, representatives and officials. The expenses incurred on India Shining advertisements will be an additional burden on the exchequer. Surely, this should have been avoided not only to save public money but also ensuring a level playing field for all political parties in the ensuing elections.

Dr U.S. BANSAL, Chandigarh


The multi-crore media blitz currently being hurled at voters by non-descript departments of the Union Government make one feel uncomfortable. Even the new Chief Election Commissioner has deemed it fit to question the wastage of taxpayers' money for such partisan ends on election eve.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has a point when he says that the party in power has the right to project its achievements. But why not do so with its own funds? Why pass on “intent” to do things as “attainments”? Why create a personality cult around Mr Vajpayee, which is reminiscent of “Indira is India” days?

If the ruling party has actually delivered on its promises, let the achievements speak for themselves. This campaign must be halted in the name of ethics, if not electoral law.

J. M. MANCHANDA, Chandigarh

Abu Salem’s extradition

I appreciate the Portugal government for having allowed the extradition of Abu Salem to India. Of course, it is justified that he served a sentence for the crimes committed by him in Portugal first before he is extradited. If countries around the globe support and mantain good relations with each other, terrorism can be rooted out.

When the Portugal government could extend help, why not other countries in South Asia come to the rescue of India? Other countries should try to bring India and Pakistan closer. Of course, relations between India and Pakistan have substantially improved in the past few weeks, but South Asian countries should chip in in the larger interest of ensuring peace and tranquility in the region.

For peace, what is required is a firm commitment on the part of every country to root out terrorism from its boundaries. Moreover, the member countries should not envy each other's position and status and have mutual respect for each other’s laws, tradition and culture. Only then their efforts will fructify to make this world a peaceful and better place to live in.


Back to Bofors

Bofors is indeed one of the world’s best guns. However, its case of corruption and related files have gathered so much of dust that, in all fairness, it would be wise to just forget it and concentrate on more national and international issues relating to security, terrorism and welfare of humankind. Yes, in this year of elections in almost 10 nations including the USA and, of course, India, there are more serious issues to be addressed.


No concern for elderly

There is no place in society for senior citizens — neither at home nor outside in society where they are ignored and not cared for. Even the administration does not bother about them. The Panchkula Municipal Corporation has done something good — it has exempted the Army personnel from paying house tax. It could give similar concession to elderly senior citizens, especially retired employees who have retired from non-pensionable posts. Their case is, certainly, more deserving than the Army personnel who have decent pensions to sustain them.



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