Letters

Letters to the Editor

Print edition : June 24, 2016

Assembly elections

Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have once again established the popularity and charisma of Jayalalithaa and Mamata Banerjee (Cover Story, June 10)

Despite canards, fierce criticism and corruption charges being levelled against the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, the voters of West Bengal have reposed faith in her leadership by voting her party back to power. Although people knew that the Trinamool Congress had an edge over the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Congress alliance, many were surprised that it won more than 200 seats. Her success can be attributed to the development work her government carried out during its previous stint. Over the years, she had also managed to erode the support base of the CPI(M). Many now believe that her party might play a decisive role in national politics too.

Jayant Mukherjee, Kolkata

The Trinamool Congress may have swept the Assembly election, but that does not diminish the relevance of the Left-Congress alliance in the State’s electoral politics. It is true that West Bengal saw violence and regressive politics during the 34-year-long Left Front rule. But what we have been witness to in the last five years of Mamata Banerjee’s rule is much worse. Political violence has spiked, so have atrocities against women. The State Human Rights Commission has been languishing. The entire law and order machinery has been rendered ineffective to the point where the men in uniform appear to be in perpetual servitude to Mamata Banerjee. Innocent citizens have been put behind bars for daring to question her brand of politics. She has repeatedly attacked the judiciary and the Election Commission in a language unbecoming of a Chief Minister.

Corruption and scams have become a living reality. Even the education sector is in disarray. Given all this, it came as a surprise that the people of West Bengal still decided to repose their faith in Mamata Banerjee and her party. Political experts have attributed her victory to the slew of social welfare measures she undertook in her first tenure as Chief Minister.

Susobhan Sarkar, Kolkata

The Assembly elections marked a milestone for women in politics. Jayalalithaa and Mamata Banerjee proved their credibility as political leaders. One is seen as a down-to-earth person while the other is perceived as a celebrity. But they are similar in the way they fought patriarchal culture in politics with grit.

The articles “Bucking the trend” and “Resounding victory” brought out their personalities well.

Kalaiselvi K.T., Puducherry

The coverage of the State elections was factual and accurate. Jayalalithaa’s victory is pyrrhic because after winning 91 per cent of the seats it contested in 2011 (150 out of 165), it could only win 59 per cent of the seats it contested in 2016 (134 out of 227). The rout of the People’s Welfare Front can be attributed to the voters’ rejection of Vijayakanth as the chief ministerial candidate and not to a lack of trust in the other leaders of the Front.

I am ashamed of the role money power played in this election. It is high time people came together to see that the “Thirumangalam formula” has no role to play in future elections.

S.S. Rajagopalan, Chennai

One is truly amazed at and appalled by the senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh’s complacency in assessing his party’s performance in the Assembly elections. Given the massive drubbing it suffered, it is clear that the electoral fortunes of the party are at a nadir. The rout has rubbed salt into the wounds of a party that is yet to come to terms with the magnitude of its defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

Its defeat can be attributed to the seething resentment and anger of the common man against its misgovernance in Assam and its inability to ward off allegations of corruption in the solar/bar scams in Kerala. The election results are also a sad pointer to the fact that the Grand Old Party adamantly refuses to learn from history and continues to live in a mode of self-denial. Its fall can be attributed to its disconnect with the people, coupled with its reluctance to look beyond the Nehru Gandhi family to revive its electoral fortunes. That said, it would be premature to script the epitaph of the party, which has bounced back strongly from other crises, presenting itself as the only credible national alternative to the Bharatiya Janata Party.

B. Suresh Kumar, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

Mamata Banerjee and Jayalalithaa have maintained their winning ways. Jayalalithaa was not only fighting a resurgent opposition but also poor health, but the people of Tamil Nadu decided to go with her proven record in administration. Mamata Banerjee had her share of worries as well, including a hostile Centre, the Sharada scam and the flyover collapse but proved that the people of West Bengal were with her.

The elections were a lesson to the BJP as well, which tried hard to increase its support base. The Congress, as expected, failed miserably.

Balasubramaniam Pavani, Secunderabad, Telangana

The Cover Story provided an objective and convincing analysis of the Assembly elections. Looking at the data, it is clear that the pan-Indian presence of the Congress has taken a beating and that the BJP’s honeyed poison continues to divide voters, enabling it to get a stronghold in new States. Parties such as the AIADMK and the Trinamool Congress are ruling the roost in their States because of money power and the promise of freebies.

The Left parties are struggling to win the trust of the voters because of the politics of polarisation practised by other parties. It is high time secular parties stopped bickering and came together to stop the growth of communal parties. The Election Commission should also mount long-term campaigns to arrest the influence of money power in elections. Thanjavur and Aravakurichi were a new low in electoral politics.

B. Rajasekaran, Bengaluru

The Assembly election results make it clear that people always vote for growth and development. At least now, the defeated parties should learn their lessons. They should stop slinging mud at other parties and concentrate on issues that are relevant to the people.

P. Senthil Saravana Durai, Vazhavallan, Tamil Nadu

Uttarakhand

The BJP needs to introspect in the wake of its failed attempt to dislodge a democratically elected government in Uttarakhand (“Rawat’s return”, June 10). Its calculations went wrong from day one, when it deliberately refused to have a floor test in the Assembly to ascertain whether the Chief Minister enjoyed the confidence of the house. It was clear that Harish Rawat would emerge victorious after the Supreme Court disqualified the dissident MLAs and he gained the full backing of the Bahujan Samaj Party and independent MLAs. Article 356 must only be used in the rarest of rare instances. It cannot be used to take revenge on governments in opposition-ruled States. Destabilising a democratically elected government is incorrect and wrong.

K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad, Telangana

Nepal

It would seem that the transition of Nepal from monarchy to democracy has not brought about much of a qualitative change in the mountain nation (“Awaiting Nepal’s second liberation”, June 10). Madheshis face the double discrimination of regionalism and ethnicity. The present Nepal dispensation, instead of attempting to find a solution, has taken the easy way out by making India its whipping boy. There cannot be a perceptible change for the better unless the current policy of exclusion is done away with.

Ayyasseri Raveendranath, Aranmula, Kerala

Defamation

With the Supreme Court upholding defamation as a criminal offence, now is the time for legislative intervention (“Defamation as crime”, June 10). It is a setback for free-speech advocates. Criminal defamation is not the only threat to freedom of expression; the right to be forgotten (a concept practised in the European Union and Argentina) is another. The European Court of Justice has delivered a ruling on this subject which is applicable to Europe. India needs clear guidelines on this right. What if wilful bank defaulters, criminals and divorced husbands/wives (who themselves defame each other ruthlessly by levelling false allegations in their petitions in divorce cases) among others were to approach a court of law to exercise this right, citing the ruling of the European court? This complicated issue needs to be discussed threadbare. It should also be kept in mind that a Chinese court has ruled that citizens in China do not have the right to be forgotten. The constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression needs to be realised both in letter and spirit.

Deendayal M. Lulla, Mumbai

Judicial system

While sharing the Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur’s anguish over the millions of pending cases and the abysmally poor judge-population ratio, I wonder why judges in High Courts and the Supreme Court cannot think of giving up the luxury of a month-long summer vacation and long Deepavali and Christmas-New Year holidays (“Crisis of justice”, May 27). Summer vacation for courts defies all logic. It is a colonial hangover that our judges are reluctant to give up. If the judges too work hard like government servants, it will surely help “tackle the backlog” in a big way.

K.P. Rajan, Mumbai

Yoga

Yoga is not meant for physical well-being (“Ancient gift for modern world”, May 27). It reveals and promotes inner well-being. Commercialisation of yoga to promote physical well-being has tarnished the original concept. Yoga begins with the perception of every object in its correct nature. It does not begin from the point where various kinds of postures are exhibited. In the modern world, yoga has become totally superficial in the hands of intellectuals. Basic principles have been forgotten or ignored.

Swami Sangamnath, Gokak, Karnataka

A letter from the Editor


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