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Regional parties diluting Centre’s authority

HK. DUA’s article “The weakening Centre: Consensus needed on national issues” (March 29) echoes a faint tune of distress regarding the proclivity of decadence in India’s policy. Sardar Patel shared Wavell’s belief that India could be governed firmly or not at all.

Freedom was followed by maneuvered controls devised to assist the flow of speed money, nepotism etc. The mechanism has led to an unequal distribution of wealth. The separate electorates led to the Partition. Still, reserved constituencies with birth-based reservations for 10 years to feed them to divide the social fabric were introduced, since perpetuated by amendments. Such a provision could have been made by in-built safeguards by parties acting as guardians as a board.

All these measures are progressively weakening the Centre compounding electoral matters. Nehru and Indira Gandhi stemmed their tide by their personalities managing working majority in Parliament. Their successors were not tall like them; so the rot accelerated. The distorted system has now braved its fangs. Regional satraps keep up the heat of squabbles exploiting local problems.

The regional parties have emerged as a reckoning force to dilute the Centre’s authority. The Centre must come up with electoral reforms to arrest further decay. Regional parties failing to make any impact outside their fiefs should be debarred from contesting parliamentary elections. The Independents could pave way for a two-party rule at the Centre as in the UK. Thanks to the Supreme Court, the Election Commission and the media, who have functioned as sound guardians, the system will survive.

V.I.K. SHARMA, Jalandhar


 

II

For the last decade or so, India is facing a sort of political vacuum. The coalitions - whether led by the NDA or the UPA - are motley of small parties whose political ideologies are devoid of national perspective and smack of parochial outlook.

In such a scenario, national consensus on vital issues of economic development and security is difficult. I endorse the writer’s view that “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.”

Nobody can underestimate the impact of UP politics vis-à-vis the country at large. The sordid state of affairs started with the decline of political hegemony in UP. And I don’t see light at the end of the tunnel even after the UP elections. The BJP and the Congress will have to be satisfied with third and fourth positions. I am reminded of the late Jaya Prakash Narayan’s call for a national government to evolve consensus on serious issues.

LAJ PAT RAI GARG, Hisar

III

The growth of regional parties with parochial agendas is not in the interest of a developing nation. Leaders of national parties should set aside their ego and be friendly with those who have gone astray and honour their regional aspirations that do not harm the national interest.

They should try to persuade their detractors so that national parties help strengthen the Centre. Different examples cited in the article prove that either the NDA or the UPA have had to succumb to the pressure of their coalition partners. Mr Clean is surrounded by many leaders of doubtful integrity.

Let us hope that the article has its effect on the floating voters and they exercise their votes for national parties and ignore regional parties.

SHYAM SUNDER AIRI, Kapurthala

IV

Like Mr Dua, I too don’t believe in opinion polls. The people of UP today are wise and most of them speak just to please the ruling party for the sake of their survival. But when the D-day comes, they will vote for some one else. This has happened earlier and this will happen this time too.

I differ with the writer’s opinion that even Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee had to roll back many policy decisions to please his allies. It may be partly true, but Mr Vajpayee had no such person, controlling the affairs by remote control as Mrs Sonia Gandhi has been doing, humiliating the country’s most honest Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh. Surprisingly, Dr Singh, even after such humiliation, has not uttered a word.

MULTAN SINGH PARIHAR, Jalari-Hamirpur (HP)

V

Mr Dua has rightly stated that no one in the government or Opposition has taken any initiative to evolve consensus on issues like Kashmir, foreign policy, criminalisation of politics and electoral reforms.

The UP election scene cannot be compared with that of Punjab and Uttarakhand. In UP, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party are strong and can fight both the Congress and the BJP. In Punjab elections, Captain Amarinder Singh and Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo tilted the balance in favour of the SAD-BJP combine.

Though in UP, both the SP and the BSP regimes are known for misrule, in the absence of electoral reforms, their chances of winning the elections cannot be ruled out. This might lead to a hung Assembly.

RIKHI DASS THAKUR, Palbhu (Hamirpur)

 

Fill vacancies to expedite justice 

The Punjab and Haryana High Court is having a shortage of nearly 20 judges out of the sanctioned strength of 53. How can justice be expedited with so many vacancies? The litigants are suffering because of the vacancies.

Why can’t the two state governments proportionately elevate seasoned and senior most sessions judges from their states to the High Court? This will open promotional avenues for judges and help speed up the dispensation of justice.

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

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