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No need to hold civic elections!

Violence and booth capturing during the local bodies elections in Punjab reminds us of the Bihar election scene. Is it not murder of democracy? It is a shame that the state government has failed to conduct free and fair elections. Though all the political parties are responsible for this, the government cannot wash off its hands.

There is no democracy as political parties impose leaders from the top and none of them allow leaders to come up from the grassroots level. Workers play into the hands of top leaders who, by coaxing their innocent workers, resort to unfair means to gain political power.

Should we continue to have elections for civic bodies when the ruling party misuses the official machinery with impunity? If there is no remedy, we must allow the ruling party to nominate its men and women to administer cities, towns and villages in the state. Why waste precious money and manhours on elections?

Elections for Parliament, state legislature, municipal corporations, zilla parishads, block samitis and panchayats should be held simultaneously. This will save us lot of money, time, energy and manhours. The government can requisition the Army for election duty, if necessary.

Col KULDIP SINGH GREWAL (retd), Patiala


The editorial, “Sad state” (May 16) has sent the right signal at the right time. Panchayats have been functioning with dignity for the last 20 centuries because the rulers – the Hindus, Muslims and British -- left them alone. The villagers elected their panches apolitically, the criteria being reputation, seniority, education and social standing of the persons concerned.

On their part, the panchayats ensured that no one in the village faced unnecessary hardship or felt deserted. The happenings in Delhi, Lahore or Lucknow had no effect on panchayats and panches.

The Panchayati Raj Act has changed all that for worse. The Act has given the politicians direct access to the panchayat and the standard of the Indian politicians being what it is, the panchayats are now being openly used to consolidate vote banks at the grassroot level by all the parties. The local bodies are getting some grants, but the price paid is the freedom these bodies once enjoyed.

It will perhaps be in the interest of the nation to have a second look at the Panchayati Raj Act and save the time-tested system from falling a victim to the whims of the country’s politicians.

Dr L.R. SHARMA, Jalandhar


It is a good sign that the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) has got a perfect majority in Punjab’s rural bodies elections by winning 147 out of 173 declared seats. It is good because this is the era of coalitions and no single party could get a clear majority even at the Centre because of caste-based politics.

Our Indian society can be divided into so many classes on the basis of caste, creed and religion. As a result, politicians always exploit the societal segmentation and fragmentation and try to get votes by giving tickets on the basis of one’s caste and religion irrespective of his/her capabilities and qualifications. As for zilla parishad and block samiti elections, there is no use of these elections. It is rather a waste of funds, time and human resource. For a democratic country like ours, elections to Parliament, Assembly, village panchayats, municipal committees and corporations are enough. Once the government is formed, it should nominate the zilla parishad and block samiti members.

Generally, the results in these elections go in favour of the ruling party. Otherwise, these bodies would not be able to function properly for lack of funds and governmental support. The larger goal is to make these bodies more accountable and transparent.

KARANBIR SHAH, Qadian (Gurdaspur)

This is pure sycophancy

I read the editorial, “Loyalty index” (May 12). Arjun Singh’s loyalty is pure sycophancy to the extent of being obnoxious. He and others like Pranab Mukherjee and Digvijay Singh have already proved their so-called loyalty to the Nehru-Gandhi parivar.

However, the process of foot-licking, euphemistically called loyalty, should not come to an end! Let them name Priyanka Vadra’s children as next in line whereby their loyalty index will become more broadbased. Maybe, the Congress leaders are already preoccupied with this issue. But then, the question remains: Who will beat whom in this game of sycophancy?

D. K. AGGARWALA, Hoshiarpur


Fatal accidents

Road accidents are on the rise. The news-item, “7 of family die in road mishap” (April 21) clearly points to two main causes responsible for the fatal road accidents. One, the vehicles are often overloaded. The car in question was carrying 10 persons. Two, the drivers do not maintain adequate distance between two vehicles. The said car was, apparently, following the heavy vehicles too closely.

As a thumb rule, minimum distance between two vehicles should be maintained. For example, at a speed of 40 km per hour, the distance should be 40 feet and at 80 kmph it should be 80 feet. To this, add 20 per cent extra for vehicle’s weight and condition of its brakes and the driver’s reflex action.

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



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