L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Heading towards troubled times

In his front-page editorial, “Sharp turns: Troubled times lie ahead” (Feb 9), H K Dua is justified in painting a grim picture of the future. For after the elections, it is certain that no single party is likely to return to power with a convincing majority. This is, yet again, bound to result in political instability and insecurity at the national level. Both do not augur well for the future of our nation, more so in the current environment of terrorism and economic meltdown.

Now, it is up to the voters to make a difference. Rising above narrow considerations of caste, region and religion, we should vote for only those candidates who are selfless, competent and deserving. In fact, there is no dearth of such candidates. We should mould a strong public opinion for clean politics.

Incidentally, it is the poor, illiterate and other backward sections among the voters who are gullible and most likely to vote for those who wield muscle and money-power. This adversely affects the election results. Such voters need to be properly educated to cast their precious votes judiciously. The Election Commission and all other organs of the state must ensure that the elections are free and fair and held peacefully. Let there be a combined effort to stop the undeserving from coming to power.  



In the face of the instability which lies ahead we should have a two- party system in the country. Otherwise, the regional parties will keep coming together for convenience and narrow selfish goals. The nation’s progress will be stalled.



The emergence of regional parties at the national level with a single- point self-serving agenda is the biggest threat to democracy. Why can’t their role be confined to the state level?

The need of the hour is that Indian electorates should exercise their franchise in favour of the BJP or the Congress and regional parties, including Independents, should be barred from contesting elections for Parliament.

Sooner or later, the leaders will have to plan for a two-party system. That alone can bring about political stability in the country. 


Pensioners’ healthcare woes

The Railways provide medicare to its pensioners who are members of RELHS (Retired Employees Liberalised Health Scheme). As per standing instructions of the Railway Board, pensioners are to be issued medicines for one month to avoid hardships in commuting.

Certain medicine, not available in the railway drug store are to be locally purchased. Due to financial crunch, the Railways has not cleared the bills of chemists running in lakhs of rupees.

Now, the Railways provides medicines only for 10 days to the pensioners. Thus, they have to make repeated rounds to the railway health unit every week, first for getting the medicine registered and then next day for delivery of the medicine. The aged pensioners are unduly inconvenienced because of this.

The Railway Minister is boasting of a surplus budget but does not care to allot more money for the healthcare of its employees and pensioners, which is a matter of regret and shame.

SHER SINGH, Chairman, N. Railway Pensioner Welfare Association, Ludhiana

Mandir is no issue

BJP Chief Rajnath Singh’s “Ram mandir” speech at Nagpur may have aimed at pleasing his superiors, but to the common man it was no more than a political gimmick. In fact, the BJP’s Prime-ministerial candidate, Mr Lal Krishna Advani, understands this and has remained totally mum in his speech about Ram mandir.

Mr Advani knows that not only the BJP’s allies, people also expect a strong leader, whose focus ought to be on good governance, alleviation of poverty and illiteracy, communal harmony, employment and betterment of women and the downtrodden.

Raking up the temple issue is not going to cut ice with the people. A few months ago, the electorate made it clear that it votes for development and progress, not emotional issues.


Former diplomat

I have seen the article “Italian envoy’s statement on Netaji ‘hurtful’” published in your newspaper of February 4.

First, the Ambassador of Italy to India is H.E. Mr Roberto Toscano and not, as stated in the article, Mr Alessandro Quaroni.

Mr Quaroni is actually a retired Italian diplomat, who has never been the Ambassador of Italy to India. He recently visited India in his private capacity.

Such discrepancies have caused some statements by Mr Quaroni to be attributed to the Ambassador of Italy to India, which has in turn created unnecessary misunderstandings.

GIOVANNA MIRELLI, Press Attache, Embassy of Italy



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