BJP's dilemma

Published : Sep 10, 2004 00:00 IST

In examining the Bharatiya Janata Party's return to communal politics at the instigation of the Sangh Parivar, we come to a very unpleasant chapter in the political history of the BJP (Cover Story, August 27). Its leaders' decision to boycott the Parliamentary Committees has backfired.

On the advice of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Coal Minister Shibu Soren did tender his resignation but the BJP's campaign has only succeeded in making him the champion of the downtrodden in Jharkhand.

Now that the BJP has called off its boycott of Parliament, will the Opposition and the ruling parties settle down and discuss the immediate problems facing the country?

R.R. SamiTiruvannamalai,Tamil Nadu

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At last, the Union government has agreed to convene an all-party meeting to arrive at a consensus on debarring "criminally inclined" persons from contesting elections. The existing law passed in 2002 stipulates that anyone charged with two heinous crimes would be debarred from contesting elections. This is not enough to stem the rot in our polity. It provides too many loopholes to criminal politicians to tamper with and evade the process of law, while continuing in public life.

V. KrishnakumarNew Delhi

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The BJP-led Opposition has taken up the issue of "tainted Ministers" as a consequence of its frustration over its defeat in the Lok Sabha elections. The campaign is politically motivated, which is evident from the fact that charges against the Ministers are yet to be proved in a court of law. But in the case of George Fernandes there is undeniable evidence of his involvement in the Tehelka case.

Shahid AnwarReceived on e-mail

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In his interview, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee gave expression to the people's concerns. Though he said that he had not had any job satisfaction, he is discharging his duties with conscientious thoroughness and has improved parliamentary democracy by allowing all the members to speak. It is commendable that he has been trying to accord full respect to the Opposition and give it the opportunity to voice its concerns. He has won the approbation of the members of the House for his probity, fairness and quiet efficiency.

A.J. RangarajanNew Jersey, U.S.

Malnutrition in Orissa

The deaths of malnourished children in Dongiriguda ("Hunger and death", August 27) were caused by lack of health care and food security systems, and the failure of the government and the State administration, to act in time.

Rahul PadaviNandurbar,Maharashtra

Global Trust Bank

This refers to "The collapse of a bank" (August 27). This is one more instance of the new economic paradigm in operation - of privatising profits and nationalising losses.

Had it been a public sector bank, a large section of the media would have denounced it as the last nail in the coffin of socialism.

HariVirudhunagar,Tamil Nadu

Manipur's protest

It is inexplicable that the Congress-led government, while willing to throw overboard the draconian POTA, is "firm" on retaining the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which is equally, if not more, repressive ("Manipur's protest", August 27). POTA, at least, is subject to judicial oversight while the latter is not.

Kangayam R. RangaswamyWisconsin, U.S.

Dhananjoy case

Perhaps the gravity of the crime committed by Dhananjoy Chatterjee evoked outrage among a section of the people, especially in Kolkata, where the crime occurred. This anger might have worked against his getting a pardon ("Death as penalty", August 27).

Dhananjoy is no more, but could his case become representative of the movement to abolish capital punishment?

A. Jacob SahayamThiruvananthapuram


With its aggression on Iraq based on flawed intelligence, the United States has drawn the global population into the vortex of terror ("Between death and freedom", August 27). The hostage crisis involving three Indians is yet another instance of innocent people bearing the brunt of U.S. arrogance. The only solution to such problems is to isolate the U.S. and the U.K. by persuading other countries to withdraw their troops and workers from Iraq immediately.

K.P. RajanMumbai

Civil service reforms

This is with reference to the article "Administrative reforms, once again" (August 27). I could not agree more with the author when he says that it is only Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who can bring about the changes in the bureaucratic structure and functioning. The task requires integrity and straightforwardness, and Manmohan Singh fits the bill.

However, I would also endorse the committee reports which, according to the article, "seem to assume that the officers in general are dishonest and inefficient". Government officials may resent it, but the fact of the matter is that undoubtedly the proportion of such dishonest and inefficient elements in the services appear to be increasing over the years. Take for example, the practice of using government vehicles for personal work - to pick up children from schools, to visit vegetable markets and shopping complexes and so on. I wonder if all this is authorised by the government. A senior officer once told me that during his days in service if any officer was considered to be corrupt, his or her colleagues would avoid any social interaction with that officer.

S.K. KerrReceived on e-mail

Kumbakonam fire

The article "Safety and rules" (Frontline, August 13) was enlightening in the sense that it explained the legal framework set up for the safety of schools by government bodies in the metros. In spite of such stringent rules, new schools crop up every day flouting rules and regulations. But what about the situation in coaching classes, which sprout up every day in huge commercial complexes? Children spend as much time in such institutions as they do in schools.

Arun S. JainAhmedabad

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The tragedy exposes the failure of the entire administration. The school was functioning in a narrow building sandwiched between two residential blocks. There was a narrow entrance, which also served as the exit. Such conditions were a clear violation of safety norms. It was an accident waiting to happen.

Diana SahuCuttack, Orissa

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Many such schools exist in every city and metropolis in India. We live in a country where security is of a high priority only in the case of VVIPs. However, in a sense, are people also not responsible for safety violations when they get building plans cleared from local authorities by giving bribes?

The interview with Dr. S. Rajagopalan not only gave an insight into the pathetic state of primary education but exposed those responsible for the deterioration. The government should plug the loopholes in the education system.

Bidyut Kumar ChatterjeeFaridabad


This is with reference to the article "Profits over people" (August 13). While the article raises several important questions on how the AIDS crisis is being tackled, it focusses on the role of "Big Pharma", which is pretty small. The pharmaceutical companies are not running a charity. The author makes a simplistic suggestion: "I have no problem with giving Big Pharma 20 or 30 years of strict patent rights to Viagra and other chemical toys." Who decides what are toys and what are not?

Most of the tropical diseases are essentially under control. And if anyone thinks tropical diseases only occur in developing countries, they are welcome to visit Florida. The real problem with tropical diseases is getting the drugs to the patients in time. It is a social problem, and not one related to research and development.

Farhat HabibOhio, U.S.


This is with reference to the article "Flood of fears" (August 13). Most of the article, including the photographs, is about the submergence of Harsud town in Madhya Pradesh, which actually comes under the Indira Sagar Project implemented by the Government of Madhya Pradesh, which is different from the Sardar Sarovar Project being implemented by the Government of Gujarat.

There has been a constant and almost organised bias in reporting against the Sardar Sarovar Project by Frontline. The Narmada Bachao Andolan, comprises a group of persons who have made a career out of opposing the Sardar Sarovar Project and are finding it difficult to close shop even after the highest court of the country has upheld its desirability from all points of view and in spite of alternative mechanisms set up by the same court for redressal of oustees' grievances.

Your publication, unfortunately, seems to have become a vehicle to project the NBA's viewpoint.

S.K. Mohapatra,Managing Director,Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd.,Gandhinagar

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Congratulations on the excellent article written by Lyla Bavadam on the Sardar Sarovar project. It takes a progressive magazine like yours to keep highlighting the colossal injustice that is taking place in the name of rehabilitation of the tribal people of the Narmada valley.

PadmapriyaCalifornia, U.S.

Budget 2004

This is with reference to your editorial "A Balancing Act" (July 30). It is very unfortunate that you have unjustly described the United Front government's 1997 Budget as a disaster on account of the implementation of the Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme. Under the scheme, Rs.10,000 crores in unaccounted money was collected.

According to the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, 40 per cent of the gross domestic product is unaccounted money and an estimated Rs.1,00,000 crores is generated every year. The widespread proliferation of black money is causing immense harm to the economy and Frontline should throw light on its genesis, proliferation and harmful effects.

Y. JagannathamVijayawada

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Finance Minister P. Chidambaram was virtually on a tight rope. His policy choices are aimed at adjusting the economy in such a way as to ensure almost full employment with minimal price inflation. But will he succeed with the Communist Parties opposing his moves?

In the post-Keynesian era, the economy does not move toward full employment without inflation. Chidambaram should aim at certain rates of employment, price stability, economic growth, and an acceptable balance of payments situation.

Reading the trend of the economy is very difficult and choosing the correct instruments to take corrective action is even more difficult. Inability to predict certain non-economic factors that affect the economy, including prolonged strikes, wars, natural calamities and changes in the international situation, will have a telling effect on fiscal management.

A.S. RajReceived on e-mail

Bhopal tragedy

Frontline's efforts at focussing on the health hazard posed by Union Carbide's Bhopal plant deserve appreciation ("An ongoing disaster", July 30). The apathy of the authorities towards the affected people, who have been suffering since 1984, is reprehensible.

Asif A. SaiyedReceived on e-mail

Law and order

This is with reference to R.K. Raghavan's column "A force with a smile" (July 30).

The author showers praises upon the London Metropolitan Police, which has set policing standards that are the envy of many modern law-enforcement agencies.

I hope our top policewomen such as Meera Borwankar and Kanchan Chaudhry Bhattacharya will interact with their counterparts in Europe such as Carole Howlett, to gain from their experiences.

Onkar ChopraNew Delhi

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