Tainted ministers: waiting for consensus

YOUR editorial “Criminals in Politics” (August 10) is yet another example of your paper’s relentless fight against criminalisation of politics. The Election Commission’s request to the government to let it implement some of the reforms is also encouraging.

There is some silver lining to the prolonged disruption of parliamentary proceedings by the BJP on the question of “tainted” ministers. I wish they would continue with it in a sober manner for some time more till all major political players in this drama had come together to sort out things. In this context, the EC’s representation to the government cannot be more perfectly timed.

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil’s proposal to convene an all-party meeting on this issue is also welcome. Almost all parties have black sheep, but they will be bound by their public pronouncements in the recent past. It will be difficult for them to retract from their stated positions. It is an opportunity which saner elements on both sides of the fence should not miss. The EC, too, should not dilute its stand on this crucial issue under political pressure.



Practically, it will not be easy to reach a consensus in the presence of such thoroughly tainted politicians as RJD supremo Laloo Prasad Yadav and his RJD, LJP and JMM Cabinet colleagues. Will they ever agree to dismantle their political fiefdoms and careers?

The very survival of this government is dependent upon their support. The Opposition has little to lose in arriving at a consensus this time. It is the nation that will lose if the consensus doesn't come soon.


Anger in Una

I fully share the tone and tenor of the editorial “Anger in Una” (August 2) and whole-heartedly endorse the editorial plea.

Staging strong protest over an issue agitating the public mind is undoubtedly a legitimate democratic right of the people. However, the cherished right must be exercised with due care and restraint, lest it should spit misery on the innocent public.

One hopes that the authorities must have by now identified “disruptive elements” who tried to fish in troubled waters and aggravate the situation. One also hopes that they must be keeping an eye on them to prevent more such bids.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Turmoil in Manipur

The situation in Manipur is shameful. Can one imagine what went through the minds of the “conservative” Indian women when they had to resort to shedding their clothes to agitate against the cruelties of the Assam Rifles.

Rape, it seems, is one of the special powers given under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA)? Whether the dead woman was a rebel or not is not the question; the question is if security personnel had taken her into their custody, how could they kill her? Was she more dangerous than Masood Azhar? What effect will such an act have on the impressionable minds of children who always salute the men in uniform. The guilty should be prosecuted for their ruthless demeanour.




It is painful to bear the high-handedness of the staff of the toll contractor at Dera Bassi overbridge. The staff is underage and illiterate, which shamelessly give a halt signal to all vehicles carrying the government insignia.

If the driver argues about the car belonging to a government department, they simply refuse to listen and curtly ask you to pay Rs 11. If you argue further, the boy-on-spot blows whistle and the musclemen of the contractor appear on the scene and start misbehaving with the driver and the officer traveling in the car.

In their judgement, any vehicle other than an Ambassador car is a private car. This treatment is most insulting.

On the contrary, the staff posted at toll barriers of the National Highway Authority of India are well-behaved and respectful. They politely signal all government vehicles to go ahead. Are the rules of the PWD, Punjab, different from those followed by the Government of India, or else, is the contractor so powerful that he can impose his own rules to fleece the government and insult its officials.

The toll for government vehicles is borne by the government (both state and Central). Do the officials in charge of this barrier have any answer?

P. S. BHINDER, Gurgaon

Disaster management

During the recent heavy rain in the Ghaggar catchment area, floods have ravaged lives and property. The Narwana branch of the Ghaggar has got breached at two more places. This canal started leaking some time earlier at RD 1,44,000, but it was not considered feasible to procure supplies even for a few days to carry out effective repair, as water was badly needed by farmers and even a brief closure was not possible. See what happened as a result.

It is essential to adopt disaster management, but instead a blame game has kicked off between the CMs of Punjab and Haryana. Irrigation engineers of Punjab are too preoccupied to carry out urgent repair and may not be able to give top priority to the work at the Narwana branch, so Haryana should chip in. Farmers of Punjab located near the breach site should come to the rescue of farmers of the Haryana area.

Dr G S DHILLON, Chandigarh

Tax reforms

Recently, the Finance Minister stated that he was more worried about the non-salaried class like doctors, lawyers, brokers, exchangers, big farmers (who enjoy all the luxuries of life and pay no tax). The poor lambs with fixed income are chopped again and again, whereas the aim should be to catch the big fish and “groom the small fish”. Strength be to the FM.

Prof. Y.L CHOPRA (retd), Bhatinda

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