Time for a strategic rethink

This refers to the editorial “Left out of lurch” (October 15). The return of the Left parties to the UPA coordination committee, which symbolises the quest for a balance between the Left and the Congress, was bound to happen.

The Left-Congress context is crowned with questions to be discussed. There are no pre-ordained high and low points, but the prospect is held out that good behaviour by both sides can easily turn into rewards for both, given the momentum of the impersonal political process. Priorities of both differ widely, but a common strategy for the working class is a common thread that joins them along with the abhorrence of the BJP. Hence the ideological oscillations of the Left parties require careful and complex calculations.

The Left has, therefore, to write a new script that allows it to both support and oppose the government and to keep it intact for five years. On the other hand, the Congress is giving the Left a hard time on the question of seizing monopoly over the power structure.



Quota hits governance

The statement of Capt. Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab, that the 85th Amendment would be implemented in the state shows political expediency rather than necessity. This amendment provides for seniority to those employees who had been promoted on the basis of reservation.

In Punjab, the SC/ST employees are already adequately represented in all the categories of service. Punjab is the only state which provides for 14 per cent reservation in Class 1 and Class II posts. If the 85th Amendment is implemented this would wipe out the promotion chances of the general category employees irrespective of merit.

The manner in which the successive governments have been extending and enlarging the scope of reservation to various categories to enhance their vote banks shows political expediency. The quality of governance has become the worst victim of reservation.

Yet, even after 58 years of Independence, nearly 75 per cent Dalit population lives below the poverty line and the fruits of reservation are being enjoyed only by 25 per cent of them. It is high time the government thought of giving benefits to the deserving Dalits instead of implementing the 85th Amendment, which is going to be counter productive in the long run.

V.K. GUPTA, Ropar


Politicians as governors

The governor’s post should not be politicised. The appointment of politicians as governors, who after a few years join politics, is not a healthy practice.

Recently Mr S.M. Krishna, Governor of Maharashatra, expressed his desire to leave the post of governor to join active politics. Previously, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, the then Governor of Rajasthan, resigned from governorship to participate in the politics in Delhi. Mr Butta Singh, Governor of Bihar, is another controversial politician sitting in this noble seat. By their conduct they have proved that these politicians are not fit for this dignified position. It ought to be occupied by reputed educationists, doctors or engineers.

S.K. MITTAL, Talwara Township

Travel concessions

The defence services personnel enjoy the facility of free railway warrants when they go on annual leave, and get a concession warrant on availing themselves of their casual leave for home journey. However, after retirement this facility is withdrawn.

Railway employees, after retirement, get a life-long pass with family members. Freedom fighters also enjoy the free rail travel facility with family anywhere in the country. In the light of these facts, one can ask why the Defence Ministry cannot manage at least 50 per cent concession for a train journey to ex-servicemen and their widows. The states too should extend 50 per cent concession to the ex-servicemen for travels by state buses.

Lieut-Col. P S SARANG (retd), Chandigarh

Faulty meters

This is to express the concern of the general public against the exorbitant increase in electricity bills after the installation of electronic meters by the Punjab State Electricity Board.

People have experienced that these meters are running fast and are showing much higher than the actual consumption. People are really thankful to the board for its regular and long electricity cuts because in the absence of these cuts the bill amount would have doubled. Middle class people will find it difficult to make both ends meet if these electronic meters continue to be there.

It is pertinent to mention here that the discrimination in the rates has also contributed to this heavy increase in the bill amount — providing electricity free of cost to villages and charging high rates in urban residential areas.

BALBIR SINGH LAKSHMI and others, Jalandhar

Corruption in Army

A brigadier held guilty of professional impropriety and personal misconduct has been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in the Tehelka case. The other day some Army officers were arrested for misappropriating POL meant for military operations in the Leh area. Newspapers reported recently that a top man in the Army has allegedly involved himself in selling a truckload of duty-free liquor meant for the Army to commoners. The CBI recorded the details of property and other assets of the officer, believed to be having assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.

There may be many more in olive-green who may be betraying the trust of the nation for their petty gains. High standards of integrity and discipline are expected from Army officers. Anyone violating the law should be dealt with severely.



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