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Will Gadkari deliver in his second term?

Nobody knew Nitin Gadkari before he was made the President of the Bharatiya Janata Party three years ago. He was thrust upon the BJP by the RSS which treats the BJP as its political arm.

During his stewardship of the BJP, Gadkari did no wonders. If anything, the BJP has been sliding downhill. By amending the party constitution to let Gadkari conduct the affairs of the BJP a second time in succession at a time when the Karnataka strongman, BS Yeddyurappa, is threatening to quit the party, RTI activist Anjali Damanis has accused Gadkari of being hand in glove with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar in covering up the Rs 72,000 crore irrigation scam and several other problems in the party. The BJP has ruined its chances of emerging either as the ruling party or the leading Opposition party in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

This was the time to take advantage of the Congress party’s growing unpopularity because of galloping inflation, “coalgate” and other scams and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s image taking a hit. Alas, the BJP has let the opportunity pass.

The BJP needs a charismatic leader like Atal Bihari Vajpayee. True, no one from among the top leaders of the BJP fills the bill, but Gadkari does not even qualify to be a front line leader. All in all, the BJP has made a poor choice and will rue the day it made to hand him over a second term.

RJ Khurana, Bhopal

Cut govt expenditure

Money has to come from somewhere and it does not grow on trees as truly said by the Prime Minister. The Congress backing the Prime Minister’s reform agenda is also fine (news report, September 26). But why nobody talks of curtailing wasteful government expenditure? Shouldn’t it be a part of the economic reforms?

Like electricity saved is electricity generated, money saved by cutting expenditure is like income generated. We would bear extra burden imposed on us happily if the tax-payers’ money is not wasted to provide luxurious living to politicians and others.

If the Centre and the state governments reduce the expenses incurred on the VIPs, curtail their security cover, cut down the vehicles provided to them and have a relook on the widely misused free power provision. It will save thousands of crores of rupees and a lot of petrol, diesel and electricity. But that is a big if.

The talk of the welfare of “aam admi” is only a lip service by those in power. They seem to be more concerned of their own welfare.

Wg Cdr CL SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

Divisive politics

The BJP indulges in double-speak. The party’s boast that it would roll back the FDI in retail if voted to power is a clever device to keep their vote bank of traders in good humour. Their belief is, “promises are made to break”, (editorial, BJP’s rollback talk — it would reflect bad governance”, Sept. 28)

This political outfit knows well that economic reforms are inevitable. The intellectuals in the BJP like Arun Shourie are forthright on reforms and rightly so. The editorial has aptly said if some giant retailers set up stores in states ruled by the Congress or other parties that support FDI in retail, how would the BJP force them to shut up their logistics and installations. The BJP’s stand on FDI, therefore, is far from the ground realities.

It is anybody’s guess that coalition politics is there to stay in the country. If the BJP assumes power at the Centre, it will need coalition partners. Where is the certainty that their partners would permit FDI rollback? Even their present allies are not agreeing to this stand. Punjab is one such state and others may follow suite.

Like its Hindutva agenda, the BJP has unwisely created a divide between the traders and the farmers on FDI. It is a typical example of the BJP’s divisive politics.

RM Ramaul, Paonta Sahib

Threatened tigers 

With reference to editorial Saving tigers (September 28), the court’s decision to ban tourism in the core areas of the 39 tiger reserves in India to save the big cats is welcomed.

India has a long commitment for saving tigers, but recent years have shown an alarming decline in the number of tigers and other protected species.

The decline in tiger population is a cause for concern at the international level. As the future of tiger remains uncertain, it will take just a decade for the tigers to vanish from the wild. Tigers are also important biologically to maintain the overall health of the ecosystem.

The initiative taken by the Karnataka government to deploy a commando unit — Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) — to protect its big cat population from poachers is appreciable and others should follow it.

Poachers are not the only threat to wildlife, according to the experts’ report. The number of animal deaths in road accidents is higher than deaths by poaching. There is a need for issuing directions for the implementation of controlling vehicular traffic by the National Wildlife Action Plan. Like several other countries, India has laws strictly punishing violence against animals, sometimes more seriously than crimes against human beings. Yet, these are rarely enforced.

India is home to the world’s largest population of tigers in the wild. According to the World Wildlife Fund, of the 3,500 tigers around the world, 1,400 are in India. Only 11% of original Indian tiger habitat remains, and it is becoming significantly fragmented and often degraded.

Tigers are illegally shot and poisoned for mainly two reasons; their threat to people and, most commonly, for monetary gains. We have to look towards saving the trees and forests for keeping the tiger population in tact.

HARISH K. MONGA, Ferozepur



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