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

Debates must precede political decisions

Both the BJP and the Congress have perfected the art of making cosmetic changes whenever the going gets tough in any state. The BJP has done the same thing once again by replacing Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank with BC Khanduri as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand. At least for the record, the BJP should make it clear why it was changing its Chief Minister. After all, in this age of the Right to Information Act, the people must be taken into confidence why a national political party, the BJP, has changed its Uttarakhand Chief Minister five times. So much for continuity and its faith in its own leaders!

Recently, the BJP was forced to change its Chief Minister in Karnataka also after the Lokayukta report. The Congress is no different in this respect, and it changes its Chief Ministers and state party presidents on the grounds that never form part of public debate even within the party.

The fact is that political parties, when they come under attack in any state due to allegations of corruption, simply change the Chief Minister instead of acting against such practices. After the entire Anna Hazare agitation, the political parties must understand that they will have to broaden the sphere of public consultation as far as such changes are concerned. Change of Chief Ministers cannot be an internal party matter anymore. Just as new laws require pre-legislative debate, similarly all political decisions must reflect a healthy, inner party democratic debate and notions of transparency.

HARVINDER KAUR, Gharuan (Mohali)

City roads

I am a retired officer and resident of Chandigarh. While I have always appreciated this city for its cleanliness and beauty, one thing baffles me year after year. I find it inexplicable that every year the city’s roads are dug up causing inconvenience to people. Sometimes this is done to lay underground pipes, at times for some other purpose. This has been going on for many years. Recently, they are also digging up areas in front of homes. This causes inconvenience to residents.

Moreover, there seem to be too many parks in the city now. There should be some playgrounds left for children to play. Parks are helpful, but playgrounds are also essential. The Chandigarh administration should have a planned approach to build this modern city. There is also a lot of traffic chaos on certain roads. The city needs to have a plan of its own.

RAHUL SINGH, Chandigarh

Food Security Bill

When Anna Hazare was busy protesting against corruption, all Indians were busy watching his daily routine. What the media failed to focus on was another major news story, which should have been reported with far more vigour. This was the postponement of the National Food Security Bill from the monsoon session to the winter session of Parliament.

Earlier, despite the Supreme Court pointing in this direction, the government had failed to ensure distribution of surplus foodgrains, even as large stocks were rotting in FCI godowns.

It is time to improve our public distribution system. It is sad that in a country where millions go hungry every day, we will have to wait for someone like Anna to go hungry for a few days to draw our attention to the problem.


Education system

I agree with Shelley Walia that there is a need to have an academic culture in which we could have wide-ranging experience that would lead to the overall development of research and teaching (“Allow everyone to have a voice” September 20). In fact, this is not happening. The problem is, education has remained, more or less, a one-way process.

But the influence of “corporate thinking” cannot be wished away. The primary concern of everyone is to start a course which will be acceptable to the corporate sector. Research endeavours are also, primarily dictated by the current interests of the companies. This hampers new modes of thinking, and does not allow education to become truly a liberating experience.

HARISH JAIN, Jalandhar

A wild conjecture

A widely-circulated American survey report states that in the 2014 General Election to the Lok Sabha in India, the two main political parties — the BJP and the Congress — would project Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the Congress general secretary, Rahul Gandhi, as their Prime Ministerial candidates, respectively. To my mind, the prediction seems just a wild conjecture by the wily Americans simply to test the political waters in the country.

The BJP has for the august office several other strong contenders—Mr. LK Advani, Mr. Arun Jaitley and Ms Sushma Swaraj, for example.

For the Congress, it would simply be suicidal to treat the incumbent, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as a sacrificial goat at this juncture. Mr. Singh, albeit reticent and unassuming, is highly intelligent, experienced and, above all, a man of unimpeachable integrity. He has, over the years, carved out for himself a niche among the hearts of the people and won their sympathy. No doubt, he is an asset to the party and its best bet. His claim for another term as the country’s Prime Minister can be ignored only at the party’s general peril.

Mr. Gandhi can, of course, be inducted into Mr. Singh’s Cabinet. This way he would be gaining the requisite administrative experience — an imperative of the august Prime Ministerial office.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Yatras for a cause

With prominent leaders of political parties deciding to undertake yatras yet again, it is pertinent for them to decide on how these yatras are going to help the people of this country (Undertaking political yatras, September 20). BJP leader LK Advani’s yatra against corruption and in favour of good governance may not be of much practical value to the common man. If these yatras are undertaken with a view to listen to the woes of the common man, one can still feel that they may serve some useful purpose. If Advani ji decides to listen to the problems being faced by the people due to corrupt practices of officials or as a result of bad governance, one can still feel there is something for the common man. But if his yatra and those undertaken by other leaders are merely for political gains, there will not be much for the common man to come out on the streets to cheer for them.

Let these yatras be for a good cause. Politicians will look for political gains, nothing wrong with that. However, such gains should be associated with understanding the pains, sufferings and aspirations of the common man. Gujarat Chief Minister would have done a commendable act if he had fed the poor, those starving and homeless, with his own hands and under his supervision. If he had visited the homes of riot victims, instead of going on fast, his gesture would have been a good one.




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