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Mamata: the challenges ahead

Uttam Sengupta’s article “Didi as the Chief Minister” (May 16) was informative, comprehensive and well-researched. Ms Mamata Banerjee’s phenomenal rise as a mass leader in West Bengal symbolises the empowerment of Indian women.

The credit goes to her that she has single-handed succeeded in overpowering the powerful Left parties led by the CPM in West Bengal despite being a frail woman with a diminutive figure. She has told the people of West Bengal that her victory is dedicated to ‘Maa,maati aur manush’ (motherland and common people.)

She seems to have appealed to the Bengali people in the recent years. She has come to redefine and reshape the very idiom of Bengali folks. Having won the Assembly elections, she has become a household name in India. But we all know, the election euphoria will die away after a few months and she will have to understand the basic problems of rural unemployment and poverty and try her best to solve them. Her core vision and philosophy will be tested.

The lack of adequate and balanced industrialisation and urbanisation has kept the state a laggard so far in comparison to some other states.

The Left government under the leadership of Jyoti Basu was able to empower the agriculture workers, marginal farmers and the Dalits through different welfare schemes.

Ms Banerjee has been able to defeat the CPM politically yet she will find it very hard to emulate the unique simplicity of her predecessors. She is a great rabble rouser but she does not have any well-defined political programme and philosophy to implement pro-people welfare schemes at the grass-roots level. She faces some formidable challenges; one is removal of rural poverty through industrialisation and the other is suitable tactics to persuade farmers to give their land to the state government in public interest.

Besides this, as the writer has also pointed out rightly that she is mercurial and intractable by temperament. During the NDA rule when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister, she resigned on the slightest provocation and withdrew her resignation several times. She can fly into rage at any time and this is her biggest limitation. She must be aware that Left parties remained in power for 34 years because they tried to study the common people’s basic problems from close quarters and remained committed to democratic life values and secularism. She will have to confront the Maoists also who do not believe in the efficacy and fairness of parliamentary form of government.


Osama’s death

TV Rajeswar’s article “Death of Osama bin Laden: The lessons to learn for India” (May 10) gives a timely warning and alerts the nation to be more cautious as war on terror is not over. Indeed, the killing of Osama has brought laurels to the Americans but it does not eliminate Al-Qaida and its ideology. India should be realistic enough to understand that more attacks/ blasts cannot be ruled out, as the civilian government in Pakistan is just a puppet in the hands of the army, the ISI and the terrorists.

Keeping in view the prevailing scenario in our neighbourhood India should reorient its forces, beef up the security apparatus to meet the threat, and gear up our intelligence so that prior information is fed to all concerned for prompt action. The failure to tame terrorism would not only endanger India’s territorial integrity and sovereignty but also result in disastrous de-stabilisation of the entire world.

Capt S K DATTA, Abohar

Going on

The middle “75, still batting” by Shriniwas Joshi (May 11) was indeed encouraging for all those wishing to keep batting.

I completed my 75th run on March 2 this year, hold a single figure handicap in golf that I play four to five days a week. Only the other day, good 21 years after I retired in 1990, a person I met for some work, took me for a serving brigadier. Thus far, I have dealt with the 11 fielders counted by the writer, fairly well and this piece impels me to cope with them still better to attempt a century.

Brig SANTOKH SINGH (retd), Mohali


In the middle Mr Joshi talks of all the deadly sins — gluttony, anger, lust, pride, envy, sloth and avarice. As gluttony turns into perversities, anger into sadism, lust into debauchery, pride into aggrandisement and envy into contempt for others. All these sins are an inherent part of human nature but at the same time they are essential in life as they help to sustain man’s interest in the life.


Indo-Pak ties

To the news report “India capable of Abbottabad-like strike (May 5) I would like to add that the government was right in saying that India cannot carry out a similar action to capture Dawood Ibrahim who is said to be in Pakistan. There is a big difference in Pakistan equation vis-à-vis India. However, the Army Chief’s statement on the issue should have been avoided as it has attracted sharp reaction from Pakistan government.

The operation of Abbottabad may have had the tacit support of Pakistan government. The US and Pakistan are dependent on each other and have good relations. However, any escalation of tension between the two countries may result in a nuclear war, which will result in irreparable loss of life and destruction for both the countries.



The editorial “Army Chief’s comment” (May 12) advising Gen V.K. Singh not to have bragged out of turn was absolutely apt. Even Air Chief Marshal voiced his opinion about India’s capability to carry out such surgical strikes (news report, May 5).

The two chiefs ought to have exercised their discretion and sobriety. Unlike the US, which is situated far away, India has to coexist with Pakistan-the immediate neighbour. Smoothening of irritants and confidence building measures should be of utmost priority.

Maj BALDEV SINGH, Ambala Cantt

Indian hospitality

Amar Chandel’s middle “If Osama was holed up here!” (May 6) was an excellent piece of writing written with his pen dipped in irony. To quote just one paragraph: “Even if the government gathered the political courage to send a raiding party (to kill Osama), Mayawati would have objected vehemently to the composition of the commando team if it did not have enough Dalit representation.”

I think the writer could have enhanced the wit of the piece if he had referred to the traditional Indian hospitality by quoting a line from a film song: “Mehman jo hamara hota hai, woh jaan se pyara hota hain?”

M. K. KOHLI, Gurgaon



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