Challenges before the UPA govt

MAYBE it is by sheer coincidence that the lead editorial “UPA birthday: More credits than debts” (May 21) assesses Dr Manmohan Singh’s performance as Prime Minister for one year in terms of the measure envisioned by Martin Luther King Jr: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy” (quoted in ‘Thought for the day’).

The NDA’s boycott of Parliament on the issue of tainted ministers did present the precipitated political challenge for the government. In the backdrop of the coalition system of government, Dr Singh candidly said, “Politics and economics do not function in a vacuum”.

The democratic system has now unleashed new forces. There are new challenges and it has become necessary to develop new guidelines as to who is a tainted minister and who is not.


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As the Prime Minister has rightly suggested, the issue of tainted ministers needs to be debated and decided once and for all. I suggest the following points for consideration: A minister should not be considered tainted till a charge-sheet is framed. It should be binding on the judge who frames the charge-sheet to decide whether or not the minister concerned be allowed to discharge his duties, pending finalisation of the case.

Cases of such ministers should be finalised expeditiously within a specific timeframe. Political parties should not have double standards on this issue. Criticising other parties for the practices they themselves have followed when in power is not at all correct. Attending Parliament session should be made mandatory for all MPs.

Lt-Col H.S. GUR (retd), Hisar


The editorial “UPA birthday” has given more credit than debits to the UPA government. Dr Manmohan Singh is, certainly, an outstanding economist with impeccable credentials and good image. But he is called as a “weak Prime Minister” because of the style of functioning of Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

The Prime Minister has failed to discipline leaders like Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav. The Congress has also been sowing the seeds of appeasement to improve its vote bank. The 50 per cent reservation for Muslims in Aligarh Muslim University is a case in point.



The UPA government’s pamphlet on the completion of its one-year rule claims many achievements. Dr Manmohan Singh tries to convince people that his government has been doing the best for growth. Sadly, however, it has little to offer to 80 million senior citizens.

The government should prepare budgetary plans for senior citizens as per the ratio of their population. They deserve a monthly old age pension of Rs 2,000 each (if they are not recipients of any other government pension), free health care, and free rail and bus passes as in the West. The government should construct harmony lodges for those old people who are not being looked after by their children.

SHER SINGH, Ludhiana

Changing Haryana’s face

CHIEF Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has taken many steps to change the face of Haryana in the past two months. He has improved the lot of the aged freedom fighters by substantially enhancing their pension.

Proposals to help the farmers, extend the Delhi Metro to Bahadurgarh, Faridabad and Kundli, setting up of education and medical cities, providing incentives for export of fruit and vegetables will all help develop the state.

The Chief Minister should also consider the plight of aged government pensioners and provide the much-awaited relief @ 5 and 10 per cent to those crossing 65 and 75 years respectively. They should be brought on a par with the Punjab government pensioners.

T.C. KATHPALIA, Chandigarh


Bush entrapment

A flurry of media initiatives has rocked the world. Nobody is certain who are all behind the Newsweek story of desecration of the Quran at Guantanamo, the New York Times story of the US soldiers’ brutalisation or the graphic photos of Saddam.

My favourite is about the role of Zionists, out to create trouble for Mr Bush, for his sudden stiffening of attitude over Israel’s reluctance to leave Gaza. As Newsweek, The New York Times and The Sun are controlled by Jewish interests, it is a piece of cake for them to join together and mount a concerted attack on Mr Bush, to warn him against his moves against the Zionist homeland.

Entrapment is a game that can be played at all levels — from small-time drug dealers to big-time world leaders. Mr Bush is in for some rough time, unless he catches the bull by the horns.


Ban hooters

The Deputy Commissioner and the Senior Superintendent of Police of Ropar district should enforce the ban on the use of pressure horns and hooters by vehicle drivers. Vehicles plying on the road connecting Mohali with Ropar and violating the ban should be challaned. Ambulances and fire tenders may be exempted. The district administration must take steps to check noise pollution.

Col B.S. GHUMAN (retd), Mohali

Pits, not potholes!

The Haryana government should take steps to repair the road between Yamunanagar and Karnal via Indri. Some portions of the road have deep pits and these are not just potholes! The Chief Minister should do something positive before the monsoon sets in.

V.P. DHAMIJA, Yamunanagar

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