Letters to the Editor

Print edition : January 19, 2018

Gujarat elections

IT was a pyrrhic victory for the BJP in Gujarat for it caused immense damage to the secular credentials of the country (Cover Story, January 5). Prime Minister Narendra Modi adopted divisive politics to get the votes of those disgruntled with his policies. The campaign reached an abysmal low when he said that Pakistan was keen to establish Muslim rule in Gujarat. He wantonly failed to foresee the damage it caused to the social fabric of the nation.

However, the people of the State have resurrected the Congress with their votes. Although the party did not win enough seats to form a government, it can play a positive role in the opposition.

S.S. Rajagopalan, Chennai

THERE was no anti-incumbency factor in Gujarat. The BJP has ruled the State for over 22 years non-stop. Some people wanted a change. Some businessmen did not like the implementation of GST, so there was a shift of some votes to the Congress. The impact of Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani was less than expected.

Mani Shankar Aiyar’s comments about the Prime Minister in a speech and Kapil Sibal’s suggestion in court that the Ram Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid case should be put on hold were responsible for the swing in votes in favour of the BJP.

Sravana Ramachandran, Chennai

ALTHOUGH the BJP secured its sixth consecutive victory in Gujarat and wrested Himachal Pradesh from the Congress party, the latter has made inroads into the so-called impregnable fortress of the BJP. The Gujarat result may be called a win-win situation for the BJP and the Congress. It is the first time since 2014 that the Congress has succeeded in presenting the BJP with a meaningful challenge, and it can now look forward, with confidence, to taking on the BJP in forthcoming elections to State Assemblies, including those in BJP-ruled States.

Unlike in Gujarat, in States such as Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the Congress has efficient leaders who can project themselves as credible faces before the electorate. It will be difficult for the BJP to stave off the anti-incumbency factor in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Impudence has become the hallmark of the BJP leadership in the last few years.

Buddhadev Nandi, Bishnupur, West Bengal

THE BJP’s projections that it would comfortably win 150 plus seats in Gujarat and at least 50 in Himachal Pradesh proved to be wrong. Although it retained its Gujarat bastion, the fight was not as easy as the BJP might have thought it would be.

Rahul Gandhi almost single-handedly took on the BJP brigade, which was led by the Prime Minister himself. The BJP now has to ponder over how to take on the Congress more effectively, and the Congress has a lot to rejoice for given the fact that it has had a great comeback after successive debacles since the last parliamentary election.

Gwshad Basumatary, Kokrajhar, Assam

THE BJP’s victory in Himachal Pradesh and its retaining power in Gujarat ensure its dream run and the ruthless roll of the Modi juggernaut. These can be attributed to the unabated popularity of Modi and to the party’s high-voltage campaign, which the Prime Minister led from the front and which was supported by party president Amit Shah and a battery of Union Ministers. The credit for the twin victories undoubtedly goes to the Prime Minister, whose personal charisma resonated with the electorate, especially in Gujarat.

It was creditable that the BJP was able to buck the anti-incumbency factor in spite of the formidable challenge posed by Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani. The election was a virtual referendum on the policies of demonetisation and GST, and even though the BJP came out with flying colours, it needs to take note of the resentment exhibited by the voters.

There are lessons from the Gujarat elections for both parties. The BJP cannot afford to be complacent and look to the Prime Minister for electoral victories in future Assembly elections.

B. Suresh Kumar, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

THE article “Gujarat’s battle lines” (December 8) gave a true picture of the situation in the State. The claims about “development” of the State are sheer propaganda. Any southern State is far above Gujarat in many aspects in terms of development. The BJP is creating a north-south divide in the country. There is too much emphasis on Hindi, and development projects are mainly initiated in the north of the country. The southern States provide ample labour opportunities to people from the northern States. If there is no uniformity in development in a country like India, then fissiparous tendencies will arise.

G. Neela Megham, Bengaluru


AADHAAR is against privacy and is not worth the risk to people’s personal financial security (“Obscenity of hunger deaths”, January 5). It is being unconstitutionally forced on people and is proving to be the source of much harassment, particularly for senior citizens. In fact, the government’s insistence on Aadhaar means that it feels that common people are untrustworthy.

Aadhaar cannot be considered as legal in any democratic country. The Supreme Court must be presented with all the facts to date relating to the misuse of Aadhaar by even reputed companies. Also, a referendum should be conducted where citizens should be allowed to state whether they are for or against it.

M. Kumar, New Delhi

Rahul Gandhi

THE more than a century-old grand old party has got a comparatively young president in Rahul Gandhi as there was no other internal challenger to his leadership (“Long road ahead”, January 5). This is his opportunity to revive the Congress as the party has reached its nadir, losing one State after another.

The Gujarat Assembly elections have proved that Rahul Gandhi can mobilise not only his party but other like-minded parties and leaders to take on the BJP. He has to convince people that his party is a viable alternative to the BJP. For that to happen, it should highlight people’s issues with constructive criticisms and suggestions. Mere “Modi bashing” will not help his party get support.

D.B.N. Murthy, Bengaluru


BITCOIN has been making news since it came into being (“Making merry on bitcoin”, January 5). But can it be banned? Is it a commodity or something else? For the first time in the economic history of the world, governments are facing a threat to their control over their own currencies. Central banks in different nations are yet to accept a definition of the virtual currency. Japan, Estonia and Australia, among other countries, have recognised bitcoin. Belarus wants to become a global cryptocurrency hub by giving tax incentives on bitcoin trading. Some banks in the U.S. are planning to set up cryptocurrency trading desks.

Deendayal M. Lulla, Mumbai


THE article “Waves of grief and anger” (January 5) was an empathetic account of the impact of Cyclone Ockhi on the fishermen and their dependents in Kanyakumari district and of the callous attitude of the authorities. It is appalling that even now both the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government are not able to say how many fishermen died and how many are missing. In contrast, the Kerala government has categorically placed on record the number of victims from that State.

The experience of Indian fishermen, who rely on traditional methods and sea vessels, is completely different from that of fishermen in other countries.

There is no separate government Ministry for the fishing sector.

It is inhuman that fishermen were not given enough advance warning. The interregnum of seven years, which is based on British-era laws, between a person going missing and being declared dead and survivors being eligible for compensation must be scrapped.

Perhaps, families of victims that cannot be traced should be given some interim financial aid against official registration, and after a calendar year, the civil authorities must issue a purported conditional death certificate so that the heirs can get the total compensation amount.

B. Rajasekaran, Bengaluru

IT is sad that so many fishermen are still missing in the aftermath of Cyclone Ockhi. Unfortunately, the government machinery does not seem to be serious in addressing the issues arising out of the cyclone. To date there is no report to show that aerial search operations were carried out to look for the missing fishermen. The cyclone also caused great damage to rubber and other crops in Kanyakumari district. The protests of the fisherfolk, especially from Kanyakumari, against the lethargic attitude of the government have gone unheard.

Proper warning systems and safety measures should be in place to deal with cyclones. And serious efforts need to be made to repair the roads and other infrastructure damaged by the cyclone in Tuticorin, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari. The Central government and the Tamil Nadu government should take all possible steps to help those affected.

P. Senthil Saravana Durai, Mumbai

Russian Revolution

FRONTLINE deserves kudos for the Special Issue on the centenary of the Russian Revolution (December 22). The “Ten days that shook the world” will be always remembered and cherished by mankind towards its journey to a humane world, which will be established on the grave of barbaric capitalism.

The socialist USSR had black spots, which can be attributed to a deviation from the spirit of the revolution. The clarion call of the revolution will surely usher in many more throughout the world in newer and better forms. The inclusion of some articles discussing the break-up and dismantling of the USSR would have enriched the Special Issue.

Purushuttam Roy Barman, Kawsik Nath and Pradyot Maishan, Agartala

THE Special Issue revealed the thirst innocent people had for freedom and the hardship they underwent to get it while the whole of Europe was under despotic capitalist governance.

Amidst all the inequality and injustice, the October Revolution sent shock waves across Europe and brought capitalists to their knees.

Muhsin Sha Mansha, Kollam, Kerala


THE article “Khilji as villain” (December 22) gave the real history of Alauddin Khilji, which is now being talked about in the country because of the film “Padmavati”. The article critically analysed the unwarranted move by fascist elements against the film and the vilification of Khilji. It is crystal clear that the purpose of the protest was to get the film banned.

Muhammed Adil Edayannur, Kannur, Kerala