Rajdeep Sardesai’s warning that the BJP needs to remove the ideological confusion that has crept into the party in order to arrest its rapid decline could not have been more timely (Lotus in the mud, August 18). The BJP had no business to side with Natwar Singh and oppose the nuclear treaty with the US. That said, the UPA government should be careful about the final draft of the treaty approved by the US Congress to ensure that India’s nuclear options are not jeopardised. It was Vajpayee’s weak policy vis-a-vis Pakistan which was one of the main reasons for the NDA’s downfall.
After losing power at the Centre, the BJP seems to have lost direction. The party is facing a leadership crisis — the BJP president does not seem to be acceptable to all his contemporaries. Given such leadership vacuum, the activities that its leaders indulge in fail to have the desired effect on the public. In addition to addressing the leadership question, the BJP must rejuvenate its cadres at the grassroots level. At the same time, it needs to find real, substantive issues to focus on so as to perform the role of an effective Opposition party.
Pay hike for MPs
Apropos of the report Coming: Fatter MP wallets (August 18), there should be a limit on how much parliamentarians are paid. Pension for elected representatives is an unjustified burden on the taxpayer. Since retired bureaucrats and judges do not get any official accommodation after retirement, such facility for former Presidents, Vice Presidents, PMs and CMs is not fair and should be withdrawn. Some states have restored Vidhan Parishads in order to favour political leaders, whereas logically the constitutional provision for Vidhan Parishads should be altogether abolished.
Apropos of Barkha Dutt’s article Natwar: flip, flop, slip (August 12), what she has said about Natwar Singh and his confused mind is correct. Natwar’s stern looks, tough posture and ‘loyalty’ have all proved of no avail. I wonder what’s gone wrong with erstwhile royals like Jaswant and Natwar Singh — it looks like royal blue blood has turned yellow.
Failing the colour test
Apropos of the editorial Failing the text(s) (August 18), I recall that HT and a section of the media had shouted hoarse a few years back to blame the ‘saffron brigade’ for distorting history in NCERT textbooks. This time your criticism is astonishingly objective and restrained. Is it some colour blindness that you see only saffron and no ‘red’ or ‘green’? One can only hope that shameless politicians and partisan media keep away from academic matters.
N-deal a must
Sitaram Yechury in Wheeling dealing (August 17) has tried to underplay the importance of nuclear energy for meeting our future energy requirements. Assuming a modest annual growth rate of 6 per cent in the demand for energy, our present generating capacity will have to be increased. We have abundant reserves of coal which can last for years, but there would be tremendous international pressure to lower the emission of green-house gases, for which coal-based power generation will have to be restricted. So we will have to go in for nuclear power, and for this we need international cooperation.
Stop the madness
Muslim clerics are responsible for giving Islam a bad name and for causing destruction the world over. The result is that even moderate Muslims are under suspicion. Jehad is a holy word meant to describe a holy cause. Islam does not preach the killing of innocent people of other religions. Every religion has a right to survive. These clerics must be brought to book to save the world from destruction.
Ill-treatment to PoWs
Contrary to the provisions of the Geneva Conventions that make it binding on every country to mete out just and humane treatment to PoWs, the 53 Indian PoWs of the 1971 war and the Kargil operation who are housed in Pakistani jails are being accorded inhuman and brutal treatment. Despite several appeals by NGOs and international agencies, the Pakistani authorities have not changed their behaviour. How can a peace process proceed under such conditions?
The report Will stringent traffic laws help check such cases? (August 18), more traffic laws cannot solve this problem. What is needed is enforcement of existing laws and creation of a social environment where violation of traffic rules is not accepted. The law-enforcing authorities should make frequent announcements through the media to warn teenagers not to drive until they have valid driver’s licences. Schools should be targeted for the spread of this message, and parents should also be warned and their help sought.
No joint control
India should oppose the idea of joint control of Kashmir mooted by Pervez Musharraf. Joint patrolling will adversely affect developmental activities. Pakistan, by keeping the problem alive indefinitely, is victimising the people of Kashmir. If India and Pakistan can live in peace and harmony, the Line of Control should be declared the international border and a moratorium placed on the Kashmir issue.
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