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Rahul needs to look beyond Uttar Pradesh

Rahul Gandhi has understood the fact that if the Congress has any hope of attaining absolute majority on its own in future elections, it will not be possible without winning in UP (the editorial, “Working to a plan”, July 11). He also knows that he cannot become the Prime Minister of India without gaining the confidence of voters in UP. His recent ‘padyatra’ (foot march) is relevant in that respect. It is true that the BSP is finding itself in a very difficult situation, but it will be naďve to write them off. Mayawati will not be easily deterred by the current developments in the state.

Though the BJP and the Samajwadi Party do not look to be in a position of strength in UP, it will not be very easy for Rahul Gandhi considering the fact that he has to rebuild the party at the grassroots. This task is difficult to accomplish in a day or two.

Moreover, Rahul Gandhi will also need to look beyond UP and try to woo the states which were ignored by the Congress in the past. The editorial rightly says that to don the mantle of the country’s Prime Minister, he must gain acceptability among the middle class. This will require him “to articulate his stand on various national and international issues with clarity, coherence and an informed mind”. His stand on economic reforms has to be unambiguous. In other words, he has to work hard to become a mass leader.



This refers to the editorial, “Working to a plan” (July 11). We must learn to appreciate good things happening in public life. We may have political differences with the Congress party but we must appreciate the way Rahul Gandhi is reaching out to farmers in the countryside of Western Uttar Pradesh.

He has successfully held the mahapanchayat of farmers in Aligarh on July 9 leaving many of his political adversaries surprised. I greatly appreciate his clarion call to party leaders to establish a good rapport with the masses of Uttar Pradesh. Though it is too early to compare him with great leaders of the past, greatness in a leader's life comes gradually. It is never visible without hard work at the grassroots level. Even if he nurtures thoughts of winning the next Assembly elections in UP in 2012, he is going about his political business in a mature way.

Rahul might have failed in Bihar, but UP is quite different. Here common people still retain memories of Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. I am of the view that Rahul Gandhi's unassuming temperament is going to pose a big political challenge to Mayawati and Mulayam Singh in the near future.


Black money

The Supreme Court has done well to appoint an SIT to probe black money (news report, July 5). Long articles by experts on black money that we often see are making matters more complicated. If there are any takers for a simple solution, here is one.

Allow black money hoarded in India to be disclosed voluntarily without any fear of interrogation by government agencies. Similarly, allow black money stashed away in foreign banks to be brought back, again without any fear of interrogation. If we persist with uneasy questions, no one will come forward to disclose anything. However, there is also a need to tackle corruption firmly. Once corruption is tackled, further generation of black money will cease.

The suggestion may appear very simplistic. However, if given a sincere trial, it may prove very effective. But the will to act is the key here.

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

Reject sensationalism

The unceremonious exit of The News of the World (the editorial, “Demise of a newspaper”, July 12) from the world of journalism is very sad for those of us who believe that journalistic norms should be above everything else. It is almost like asking a doctor to be ethical in dealing with his patients. But there is an important lesson to be learned. In search of sensational news, journalists forget what they are essentially required to do. A journalist must be after truth, and should try to be as objective as possible. In seminars, eminent journalists express their views urging the new ones to adhere to journalistic norms. But it all ends there.

Then we have our critics who tell us that this is the age of market-driven journalism. They feel that like all other products, newspapers need to sell in the market to survive. This can be done, according to them, by including only those stories that are going to be liked by the readers. Who is to decide what will be of interest to the reader. Modern journalists assume that the readers like only sensational stories. In search of sensational news they go to any extent. Reporters stalk public figures in the hope of some sensational news. We already know how Lady Diana was being pursued by paparazzi.

Newspapers and tabloids can improve only if their readers become more vigilant, and reject outright sensationalism.

ANIL SHARMA, Chandigarh



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