Manmohan must make all fall in line with him
Time magazine’s dubbing of prime minister Manmohan Singh as ‘underachiever’ must surprise none and must make the Congress party do an introspection rather than be in their usual denial mode. The economic slowdown, huge fiscal deficit, a falling rupee, mega scams and policy paralysis are the bitter truths of the Congress-led UPA government headed by Singh. However, more than him, the Congress leadership is responsible for such a situation, which formed alliances with parties like TMC, DMK and the Left for whom their own political interest was above national interest. In fact, they often acted like the Opposition, imposed an extra constitutional policy dictator — the National Advisory Council — on the PM and even allowed criticism of his policy initiatives from within the party. Singh’s fault was that he failed to exert his authority on the allies and the Congress leadership and earned the image of a weak leader whose top priority was the survival of his government, and perhaps of his own too. Now, with the finance portfolio in his hands, he needs to show his mettle and push forward his agenda for the long overdue economic, administrative and political reforms and tell the UPA allies and his party plainly that either they have to fall in line with him, or he quits.
—MC Joshi, Lucknow
Although Manmohan Singh has played an important role in India’s development as an economic power, especially for the reforms he had devised as the finance minister in 1991, when it comes to being a prime minister, he has been an underachiever. The series of political scams, be it the 2G spectrum, Adarsh or the Commonwealth Games, are proof enough to show that his cabinet has suffered widespread corruption. His overall inability to operate the government has come under immense scrutiny in the recent past. It is not just the political parties, but even taxpayers who have shown disappointment and anger over his failure in these matters. He has to be accountable for each allegation and the losses suffered during his administration. It’s high time for him to come out and speak up.
—Salman Sayed, Mumbai
Higgs Boson sequel
This refers to the news that the Higgs Boson sequel will be released in TN hills. It reminds me of the famous scientist Thomas Edison who had said that “until man duplicates a blade of grass, nature can laugh at his so-called scientific knowledge”. How true he was, because one fails to understand the ‘God particle’ syndrome wherein trillions of dollars and huge manpower were involved. And now, we too are following their footsteps in a sequel. When millions of poor people have no food to eat and no water to drink, what is the use of this great scientific feat to the humanity?
—Vanita Shenoy, Mumbai
This has reference to DNA audit - Tracking Promises (July 10). It is true that every government agency makes promises galore but none of them bother to implement the same or check if they are being complied with after implementation. Your study on plastic bags (BMC’s anti-plastic drive loses steam) is an eye opener. Here, I wish to add that it’s not only the smaller shops which still continue to use plastic bags, but even big shops in some malls supply plastic bags, but at a cost. This is ridiculous and action should be taken against such shops. The government should come out with a strict law that every shop should supply goods only in paper bags or cloth bags.
—N Mahadevan, Mumbai
The government of India struck a deal of Rs6 crore to bring home thousands of largely unpublished letters, documents and photographs related to Mahatma Gandhi from auction house Sotheby’s. These articles were to go under the hammer this month in London. The archive originally belonged to Hermann Kallenbach, who was a close friend of Gandhi ever since they met in South Africa in 1904. A number of auctions of the Mahatma’s belongings were conducted in the past in order to earn a fast buck. This has indeed aggrieved the followers of Gandhi. A drop of Mahatma’s blood, which was collected by PP Nambiar on January 30, 1948, from the spot where he was assassinated, was auctioned in Ludlow, England, earlier this year. The other items that were brought under the hammer included his spectacles, letters and many other sacred relics. A letter, written 19 days before his assassination, served to reinforce his enduring belief in Hindu-Muslim harmony. This was withdrawn from Christie’s auction some years ago after a formal protest from the government of India. The country has eventually acquired this important historical record.
—Dayanand Bhat, Mumbai
In London, where we live, and the West generally, there is a growing awareness that microwaves are injurious to health and a lot of people, especially younger ones, who are aware of the dangers to health, completely shun the use of microwaves. I was, therefore, surprised to see an article in one of your issues praising the use of microwaves for all types cooking. Similarly, I constantly see advertisements in newspapers, including DNA, for the sale of aluminium utensils for cooking. Are we not aware that even aluminium is hazardous to health? Let not India be a dumping ground for the unwanted goods in the West.
—Rajnikant J Mehta, via e-mail
Drama by Cong MLAs
This is with reference to ‘Congress turns on CM for Ashok’s Adarsh taint’ (July 10). By criticising the comparatively honest Prithviraj Chavan, the Congress party is now fixing the last nail in their already sinking coffin. The party MLAs want a corrupt ex-CM to be saved. They staged a walkout at the Vidhan Bhawan in support of the tainted colleague with the Pradesh Congress chief saying that the CBI inquiry should be closed. Is the public dumb? Or is this what these MLAs think? Wake up, the voter is watching, and 2014 is not very far.
—KK Mehta, via e-mail
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Manmohan must make all fall in line with him
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