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BJP must get rid of aged leaders

The real plight of the present-day BJP comes through in the editorial, “A Rudderless BJP: Hurtling from crisis to crisis” (Nov 10). This party was catapulted into the role of a national alternative in 1998 under the stewardship of Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Thanks to the Kargil victory, the BJP won a second term in 1999. Later, some elements within the party decided to cash in on the positivity of national sentiment and they forced an election six months ahead of the scheduled end of the term. That gamble, however, boomeranged. Congress president Sonia Gandhi successfully cobbled together an alliance and narrowly defeated the BJP and the NDA at the 2004 hustings.

The BJP was expecting that the oft-repeated anti-incumbency sentiment would put them back into power in May, 2009, but the clean image of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the power of the youth brigade under the command of Mr Rahul Gandhi put an effective stop to the BJP’s ascendancy.

During their heydays from 1998 to 2004, a lot of rank opportunists had jumped on the bandwagon of the BJP. Such elements are the first to ditch when adversity hits you. The recent revolt by the wealthy mine magnates of Karnataka is one of such desertions, which are bound to occur in future. The BJP should brace for many more in the coming days.

At present, things look bleak for them, but politics is known to spring surprises. If the Congress commits some unexpected blunders, it will hand over power on a platter to the BJP. The people of India expect the BJP to get rid of its aging lack-lustre leadership and hand over the baton to the honest and go-getter youth.


Shocking behaviour

Mr Abu Azmi, a Samajwadi legislator, not being allowed to take oath in Hindi in the Maharashtra Assembly is really shocking. How are these legislators, who swear by the Indian Constitution, allowed to defy the Constitution?

What kind of nationalism do these legislators posses? On the one hand, they consider themselves to be the flag-bearers of Indian ethos and nationalism; on the other, they are insulting the nation itself by refusing to recognise the national language. It is high time the Central government took strict action against these hoodlums.

Dr MANDEEP SINGH, Yamunanagar

Vegetable growers

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s unwarranted statement encouraged the speculators and traders to keep up the prices (editorial, “Farmers vs housewives: Traders are running away with moolah” ( Nov 7). Despite the apprehensions of Mr Pawar, the paddy arrivals are likely to touch around 140 lakh tonnes, marginally below the last year’s arrival. Keeping in mind the plight of the poor people who have been hit hard owing to price rise, he should desist from making such statements in future.

Similarly, the demand to increase the wheat MSP to Rs 1,300 per quintal will further add to the woes of the housewives as the wheat flour prices continued to be Rs 17 per kg in the retail market. In fact, it is a matter of concern that prices of other essential items like vegetables, milk and sugar are touching the sky in a state like Punjab which is a major producer of these items. It is better to examine the causes of abnormal price hike, rather than putting the blame for everything on the Centre. Efforts should be made to help the vegetable growers instead of luring them to paddy cultivation, as is evident from the news that farmers cultivated Pusa 1121 variety of paddy on more than 20 per cent of land as compared to the previous year. Furthermore, the raids on hoarders and profiteers should not be limited to a festive season or confined to a particular commodity.


Charismatic Indira

Hats off to Mr Nihal Singh for writing on an excellent leader, “Indira Gandhi: A product of her time” (Nov 3). She proved to be a charismatic and brave leader. She was more charismatic than her husband, the late Feroze Gandhi, but after his demise Mrs Gandhi remained a lonely person and channelled all her energy towards her father. She was her father’s daughter, and India’s dear daughter, too.

SANJEEV, Amritsar

Educate all

Mr H. K. Dua has rightly asserted that the masses living in remote areas should get access to education, as over 30 crore persons still could not read signboards on railway platforms (news report, “Remote areas should get access to education: Dua” by Kulwinder Sandhu, Nov 6). Indeed, development is not possible without education, which has to be given priority.

The youth must not forget that knowledge is the new currency. The Tribune is doing yeoman’s service by reporting, analysing and suggesting ways and means to meet the challenges facing the nation.

HARISH K MONGA, Ferozepore City

Falling water-table 

Punjab is rapidly drying. In the ’70s, one could find drinking water at a level of 20 to 30 feet. Hand-pumps were the main source of supply in every household. But the situation has completely reversed after four decades (editorial, “Falling water-table”, Nov 9).

Fighting with Mother Nature is deplorable. Exploration of reserves provided by nature in the form of water, petrol, minerals should be within limits. Over-exploitation is bound to prove counterproductive. The government has taken steps to stop the sowing of paddy before June. The act has proved a boon for an otherwise water-deficient state. Burning of the post-harvest stubble by farmers should also be stopped by enacting legislation providing a stringent penalty against the violators.

One of the ways to save the water-table is rain-harvesting. However, no government has given this idea a serious thought. No provision is made in any house for water-harvesting.

AJAY K. JINDAL, advocate, via e-mail



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