Undermining democratic institutions

Even as our electoral college consisting of MPs and MLAs will choose the countryís next President today, the election process for the Vice-Presidentís post has started. Various political parties have begun to make moves under different garbs. The most intriguing is CPM general secretary Prakash Karatís proclamation that the Vice-President should be apolitical and one with impeccable credentials and a substantial record of achievement in any sphere of life.

There is nothing wrong with his statement. However, will Mr Karat enlighten the people where was his sudden high sounding ethical stance and why were the Left parties keeping mum when the Congress was busy selecting a consensual candidate for the Presidentís post?

Or does the Left not think that this country deserves a President who is a tall personality and one who befits the exalted office? For the first time in the history of Independent India, we will very probably have a President whose integrity is in doubt. Over the past few decades, opportunistic politicians have been constantly undermining the countryís democratic institutions to tailor these as per their whims and designs. And the Left parties have done equal harm to the polity.

Prof P.S. BHOGAL, Head (Pol. Science), Arya College, Ludhiana



Political parties should do some soul-searching. It is common knowledge that politics is a dirty game. But we should have avoided mudslinging in the run-up to the presidential election. We have suitable persons like Dr Karan Singh, Mr Somnath Chatterjee and Mr Narayan Murthy. Instead of selecting one of them, the UPA selected Mrs Pratibha Patil and thus devalued the Presidentís office.

The political parties should have risen above partisan politics and personal differences and selected a unanimous candidate, known for his/her stature, integrity and spotless image. We must maintain the sanctity of the high office at any cost.

S.S. ARORA, Mohali


Democracy and secularism are the two most distinctive characteristics of our Constitution where sovereignty lies with the people. The Presidentís office is unique and is held in high esteem. Even a common man has an abiding belief in this office, indicating that we are very much respectful towards the President and we consider him/her as an embodiment of peopleís faith.

Gradually, however, the people are losing faith in the political masters because of the falling standards of our leaders and devalued institutions. Now politics is synonymous with corruption and self-aggrandisement. Thatís why, people hate politicians.

The need of the hour is to have a President who is above board. There is no question of party politics and politicians here. Issues like caste, colour, creed, region or politics must not be attached to it. The President represents the face of India just as our polity, culture and civilisation.

The President is the custodian of the Constitution and secular fabric. A man or woman of high moral standard and social values should adorn this high office without any question mark on his/her personal integrity.

DAYA NAND, Loharu Road, Charkhi Dadri


Irrespective of whether Mrs Pratibha Patil wins the presidential election or not, there is need for a thorough probe into the charges levelled against her by the NDA. In all fairness, she must get herself exonerated of all the charges. Mrs Patilís statements like the one on the spiritual guru show her little knowledge of history. Wonít it be a handicap in her day-to-day functioning as the President, if she gets elected?

SANTOSH KUMAR JAMWAL, Chauki Jamwalan (Hamirpur)


On the face of it, it may be accepted that Mrs Pratibha Patil, the UPA candidate for the post of President, is an outstanding lady. But who will prevent some of her relatives with reported criminal antecedents from polluting the sacred premises of the Rashtrapathi Bhavan?

M.G. DUTT, Jalandhar City

Sky is not the limit

When you were born, you cried while the world rejoiced. Live your life in a manner that when you die, the world cries while you rejoiced. This is what Kalpana Chawla proved to be. She left her footprints on the sands of time which lakhs of people want to follow. She was the lady who lived.

Another person who emerged as a perfect combination of confidence, bravery, determination and hard work is astronaut Sunita Williams. She suffered so many hardships, leaving behind her journey and a history of staying in space for 195 days. She has become a role model for the universe.

People like us read history and people like them make history. Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams have proved that sky is really not the limit and that we need to explore beyond the sky.

MEGHA RAI, Chandigarh

Without bias

The Centre has no justification in restricting the 20,000 annual merit-cum-means scholarships to students belonging to minority communities only for pursuing professional and technical courses. The criterion of merit-cum-means should apply to all without any bias. This discrimination is also violative of Article 14 of the Constitution, which provides for equality for all citizens. The double criteria of (i) merit-cum-means and (ii) of minority community is neither justified nor legally permissible.

One wonders how our Sikh and Parsi brethren would feel about the scheme. They would not like other communities to be ignored. The merit-cum-means criterion should be made applicable for all, irrespective of caste, creed, community or religion. In the interest of justice and fair play, the government should make it broadbased.

G.R. KALRA, Chandigarh



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