BSP victory

Published : Jun 15, 2007 00:00 IST

THE Assembly election results in Uttar Pradesh must have shocked the maverick Mayawati as much as they have shocked her political adversaries (Cover Story, "Dalit Power", June 1). They have also taken by surprise the psephologists who predicted that the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) would emerge as the single largest party but did not foresee a simple majority for it. But the electorate scripted a different story.

For the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the loss was massive. It lost 3 per cent share of its vote share and 37 seats. After its colourful performance in Punjab and Uttarakhand and in the civic elections of Mumbai and Delhi, the party expected a repeat performance in U.P. But the Dalit-Brahmin concord ate into its upper caste votes, putting paid to its hope of playing king-maker role in the forthcoming presidential election. As for the Congress, the less said the better.

Bichu Muttathara Pune, Maharashtra

THE onus is now on Mayawati to live up to the aspirations of the Dalit community. She was forced to switch her politics from bahujan samaj to sarva samaj for the sake of political gains. Her government should now focus on initiating path-breaking policies, programmes and actions that would usher in an era of inclusive growth and development.

Akhil Kumar New Delhi

THE BSP has built a strong organisational machinery extending to the remotest village and even has a security organisation, the Bahujan Samaj Force. The cadre of this organisational machinery should not be offered the "fruits of victory"; instead, they should be used to implement a development agenda.

Chudamani Ratnam New Delhi

THE Cover Story was thought-provoking. Mayawati's victory represents the rekindling of hope for marginalised sections, including the women of the State.

Sipra Sagarika Cuttack

IT remains to be seen whether Mayawati's larger-than-life image helps U.P. on the road to prosperity. The pollsters failed to read the mood of the electorate, being more concerned with equations on paper than the ground realities. Maybe it is time to bid farewell to exit polls.

Arvind K. Pandey Allahabad

THE voters of U.P. rejected the BJP and the S.P. and gave a decisive mandate to Mayawati, belying the media's predictions of a fractured verdict. Let us hope Mayawati provides better administration in a State which, despite having the largest number of lawmakers, is one of India's poorest.

K.P. Rajan Mumbai

THE much-celebrated "social engineering" of Mayawati in the U.P. elections was little more than "power engineering". She succeeded because voters had had enough of the Mulayam Singh regime.

The popular perception about this regime was that no work could be done without paying bribes and that Mulayam's younger brother held the reins.

Muslim voters did not fancy the S.P. hobnobbing with the BJP. However, the alliance of Dalit and Brahmin voters that Mayawati achieved is a fragile one and is bound to come under strain as soon as she starts nurturing her Dalit constituency.

Neelam Yadav Varanasi

THE S.P. is down but not out as the difference in vote share between it and the BSP is only a little more than 5 per cent. But it must undertake an exercise in introspection. The people of U.P. have proved that they are guided more by social conderations than by narrow religious sentiments.

H. Syed Mathani Tiruchy, Tamil NaduFree expression

CHANDRAMOHAN'S pornographic representations of Jesus Christ and Durga would have been deemed objectionable almost anywhere ("Attack on art", June 1). Obscenity is often a subjective matter. Blasphemy, however, is far more rigorously defined. In Britain a few years ago, an artistic representation of Christ, similar to the one made in Vadodara, was deemed outrageous and its exhibition prohibited by the government. The matter went up to the European human rights authorities, and the ban was upheld.

K.S. Jayatheertha Bangalore

THE police have registered a case against Chandramohan under Section 153(A) of the Indian Penal Code for promoting religious enmity and hurting religious sentiments with nefarious intentions. But this could not have been his objective as the pictures were part of an internal examination and Chandramohan did not put up his work for public viewing. Who gave Niraj Jain, the general secretary of the BJP's city unit, the right to barge into the university premises, destroy paintings and act as the moral police?

If a creative work in a culturally vibrant country like India can be termed vulgar, obscene or blasphemous, will the same principle apply to works of art such as the Shiva temple in Kurudrimala (Karnataka), the erotic sculptures of Lajja Gowri or the Chandela temples? It is time we gave artists the space they require and opted for peaceful platforms for debates over objectionable elements in works of art.

Alankrita Srivastava Lucknow, U.P.

IT is hard to take Indian liberals seriously because they do not seem to take their own liberal convictions seriously. While they are quick to condemn the intolerance of Hindu bigots, their commitment to free speech and expression was not much in evidence when Muslims declared themselves offended by the notorious Danish newspaper cartoons that lampooned Islam and the Prophet.

Their support for free speech is, therefore, nothing but a strategic way of advancing partisan political positions. The problem with Indian political discourse is that Indian liberals do not take a view in principle that could guide them in ethical or political argument. Consequently, every controversy has the same result: an orgy of finger-pointing that does nothing to advance a coherent moral and political position.

A. Vani Hyderabad

IT may be argued that art is a medium of expression of our feelings and thoughts, and every artist should have the freedom to express himself. But it should be noted that there is a difference between art and deliberate lampooning of the beliefs of a particular community. No one, not even the tallest intellectual or the most celebrated artist, has the right to hurt anybody's religious sentiment by depicting gods in obscene ways.

A. Megha Hyderabad

AFTER looking at the photographs of the paintings that caused the trouble at the M.S. University campus in your magazine, I am convinced that those who objected to them were right. The pictures are vulgar and indecent. India has produced priceless art, but these paintings look like caricatures. Chandramohan and the dean of the university's Fine Arts faculty were responsible for the fiasco.

K. Krishna Rao Yadav Chatrapur, OrissaJinnah

M.A. JINNAH was not an anti-hero, contrary to the way he is depicted by authors and commentators in the subcontinent. He was capable of assuming the leadership of the annual conference of the Congress of December 1920 in Nagpur. But he was insulted, and the crown of the presidency was placed on the head of Gandhi. Gandhi mixed religion with politics and usurped the Congress leadership. In launching the Khilafat movement, Gandhi chose an issue that had no connection with the Indian freedom movement. The message that went out to the people was that the Congress was "pro-Muslim". This inevitably gave rise to an organisation that positioned itself as pro-Hindu. The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh was born in the same city, in 1925. Outmanoeuvred in the race for leadership, Jinnah ultimately chose to join the Muslim League. A strictly secular person became a religious fanatic. But the Congress leadership will never accept the truth.

W.H. Pande Akola, MaharashtraDMK feud

THE resignation of Dayanidhi Maran ("Mayhem in Madurai", June 1) brings to an end a new and unusual chapter in the history of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam politics, in which someone who is obviously not in tune with the party's traditional ideology became its most visible symbol in New Delhi. Starting with his attire, Maran brought in a modern and business-like political style.

J. Akshay SecunderabadSydney `tour'

SUDHA Mahalingam deserves praise for taking the reader on a `tour' of Sydney and for providing a glimpse of the unique Australian wildlife through her excellent article and photographs ("Seductive Sydney", May 18).

Neeraj Kumar Sahidabad, U.P.
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