Agenda for governance
Many people are disappointed with the Union Budget presented by the finance minister P Chidambaram. This is one more reason to look for an alternative to the UPA government. Narendra Modi’s success in Gujarat could pave the way for the success of an alternative alliance at the national level. We need change and that change must be for the better. A new government must have a prudent economic policy for real development; initiate incentives to boost industrial productivity; control price rise; minimise black money, if it is difficult to eliminate it; and evolve a strategy for a clean administration, curbing corruption at all levels. If UPA can fulfil this programme, they could return to power in 2014. But it looks unlikely, because this government is acting against the interest of the common man. The steep hike in diesel prices is hurting the poor, pushing up the cost of essentials and travel. With the government neglecting the interest of the people, it appears that we will have to elect a new party with a difference.
—Ravishankar G Iyer, Thane
Myth and reality
The BJP national council meeting in Delhi is projecting Narendra Modi as the next man to resurrect its image as a party with a difference, but the people of the country will be apprehensive of the leader whose model of development in Gujarat is suspect. For while the expensive election campaign in Gujarat focused entirely on one leader as a messiah, the reality on the ground has revealed a surprising level of malnutrition and hunger, akin to some African states. The law and order situation is also a problem and this is confirmed by the outrage expressed by a section at the Wharton School in the US, over the invitation extended to Modi to address the India Economic Forum meet in Philadelphia later this month. The BJP’s programmes on Ayodhya, Kashmir and India Shining have lost their appeal and the party is struggling with its share of scams in BJP-ruled states. And the party has not been able to make any headway in other states as the elections in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, and the north-east have shown. It is to be seen whether the party can overcome this reality to make a difference in the 2014 general election.
—Asim Boral, by email
Are Modi voters idiots?
Apropos of “Meet Modi’s No 1 Fan: Himself”, I have been regularly reading this column that has focused on Narendra Modi since it started a few weeks ago. But I have been disappointed by the jaundiced analysis of the chief minister and his work. I am no big fan of Modi, but one cannot overlook the hatred that comes through. The support for Modi, who is a mass murderer in the eye of the dynasty sycophants, has grown over the past few years. Or are these voters who support him plain idiots, as Justice Markandey Katju describes them. What is strange is that the people should support the “maut ka saudagar” over the saintly matriarch of India’s first family. This must say something about the ruling party and its leaders. Today, even the prime minister has lost his halo! Perhaps the writer is managing his kitchen at the expense of Modi in this period of economic gloom.
—Kiran Gokarn, by email
Few strong candidates
Now it appears that Sharad Pawar has also jumped into the fray for the post of prime minister. I hope there will not be some more, for if the list grows it could kill the chances of getting a strong leader other than the mediocre elements from among the Nehru clan elected to the post. The country requires a visionary leader like Narendra Modi, who has been unnecessarily painted as a villain by the know-all English-speaking media. But I am sure that the people of the country, not just Gujarat, know what is required. That Muslims in Gujarat have also chosen economic development over religious sentiment is being suppressed by the media. This could well be the case also with the majority of Indians who are not heard.
—VS Ganeshan, Bangalore
It’s sad, but true
Apropos of “Who’s to blame if the Muslim experience isn’t getting better?” I am a young Muslim man, studying in Mumbai, which also has its share of stereotypes and racism. Only yesterday, I was forwarded a chain message that talked about “Love Jihad”, describing a Muslim youth trying to convert Hindu girls by “luring them with love” and then “ultimately selling them off to Arab Sheikhs” in return for sexual favours and money. I was deeply embarrassed to receive this message from a friend. I asked her what made her send me the message and she said that she had received it from a friend and forwarded it accidentally. I am an educated young man from a well-to-do family, pursuing dual degrees at a prominent Mumbai college. Neither do I sport a full beard, nor wear kurta pajamas daily, I dress up as regular college-going youth do. Yet, a college mate forwards me such a message “accidentally”. If this is what can happen in a city, I dread to think what Muslim youth in the rural areas might have to face. I thank you for highlighting this matter. I understand that it takes a lot of courage to write about this and I respect you for this. I wish you will not publish my name.
— A student
Man from Meerut has arrived!
Bhuvneshwar Kumar justified his inclusion in the cricket Test team for the Hyderabad Test with a strong performance. His triple strike early on and another fine showing by the spinners rattled the Aussies on the opening day of the match and turned the tide in favour of the hosts. After having nothing to show at Chennai, the paceman proved his mettle at Hyderabad on a responsive pitch. One only hopes the Indians will consolidate on this effort. In the meanwhile one must celebrate the arrival of the man from Meerut!
—N J Ravi Chander, Bangalore
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Agenda for governance
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