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Weak Centre not in national interest

H.K. DUA’s article “The weakening Centre: Consensus needed on national issues.” (March 29) voicing concern about a weakening Centre is genuine. Certainly, the Uttar Pradesh elections will have deciding effects on the coming presidential election and the Lok Sabha elections in 2009.

I agree that a coalition government does not necessarily throw a fragile government at the Centre but the absence of a dominant national party in a coalition government at the Centre does not lend it stability and a potential to give a policy direction to the country of India’s size. Unstable coalitions at the Centre prevent the evolution of the much-needed coherent policies.

Examples of weak governance during the NDA regime are there. Similarly, the present UPA government supported by the Leftists is also facing constraints in its proper functioning. The Opposition while knowing all these facts always remains blood-thirsty and does everything to pull down the government.

Marginalised and underprivileged sections, because of their socio-economic backwardness, fall an easy prey to the misleading preachings of the regional parties who freely harp on casteism and communalism. Therefore, both the Congress and the BJP will have to review their ideologies and policies and be truly secular and democratic. Their role - as a ruling party or as an Opposition - must be constructive and always in favour of national interest. They must together lead other political parties of all hues to evolve consensus on national issues as advocated by Mr Dua.

SUDESH KUMAR SHARMA Kapurthala


 

II

The article voices the concerns of every thoughtful citizen. True, the country’s political firmament is covered with dark clouds of uncertainty which do not augur well. W.B. Yeats’ words in The Second Coming aptly sums up the situation, though in a different context, thus:

Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold;

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Really, the worst of the politicians hold complete sway over the system and are full of misplaced zeal. Where do we go from here? I think, the solution lies in outright rejection at the hustings of self-seeking petty politicians who prop up their myopic agenda based on parochial considerations of regionalism, casteism etc. and turn a blind eye to national interest.

Clearly, a great political awakening and patriotic fervour among the masses is the need of the hour and herein lies the greatest responsibility of the Fourth Estate in mobilising the public opinion and evolving consensus on matters of national interest.

AMRIT SACHDEVA,Kaithal (Haryana)

III

One can understand the difficulty of pulling along with many parties, but it is unavoidable. Perhaps politics is no more ideology-oriented. How to win elections and form government seems to be every political party’s motto.

Strangely, even to win an election has become a mission. Still, national and regional parties are expected to conduct through consensus and not confrontation. Consensus on foreign policy or domestic issues is not difficult. It would be easy if parties accommodate each other’s positive points.

Unfortunately, though some views appeal to the voters’ conscience, due to petty politics, members oppose it. We know that two plus two makes four, but politicians may love to call it three or five. Problems must be examined objectively and impartially. Just for vote bank politics, parties should not address to their constituencies alone.

GURDERSHAN SINGH, Chandigarh

IV

Coalition regime is here to stay but it is presently driven by selfish motives. Generally, there are two main rival parties who perpetually remain at daggers drawn. One of them, ignoring the other, woos the splinter groups or independents who call the shots, thus weakening the authority of the major partner in the coalition.

It these larger parties sink their differences in national interest and resolve to work unitedly, smaller parties will also join hands leading to the elusive national consensus or vanish in due course paving the way for a two-party system.

Sometimes I wonder if well-meaning efforts of top editors like Mr Dua or readers like us are not going waste on the incorrigible politicians.

Wg-Cdr C.L. SEHGAL (retd) Jalandhar

V

The writer seems worried about the outcome of Uttar Pradesh elections and its subsequent impact on the national political scene vis-à-vis the UPA government at the Centre. Why do we find so many regional parties today? It is because of the failure of the national parties to deliver the goods. However, the bane of the regional parties is their propensity to evoke regional, caste and minority sentiments.

SHER SINGH, Ludhiana 

 

Give senior citizens their due

Nationalised banks give senior citizens benefits at 60 years of age or above in the form of higher interest rates on their deposits. But the Income Tax department, which also comes under the purview of the Finance Ministry, gives the benefit of tax exemption only to those who are 65 years of age or above.

Isn’t it a paradox that the same Ministry is applying different yardsticks for senior citizens? It was expected that the Union Finance Minister would remove this anomaly in this year’s Budget, but he has not done it.

Incidentally, the Railway Ministry gives railway fare concession to those who are 60 years. In all fairness, Mr Chidambaram should lower the senior citizen’s income-tax exemption age from 65 to 60 years.

Prof Y.P. MAKKER, Malout

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