Debate over a debate
Apropos of “Open and shut case in house, again”, one fails to understand the logic in the Congress Party’s stand that a debate on FDI in multi-brand retail is not acceptable under rule 184, but could be taken under rule 193. In the same breath Congress leaders insist that the decision to allow FDI lies in the hands of the executive and does not require parliament’s approval. This shows that the government is insensitive to the common man’s concerns. It is beyond comprehension as to what will happen to this executive decision once the debate brings out the sentiment of the country against FDI.
—Haridasan Mathilakath, Navi Mumbai
Apropos of “Open and shut case in houses again”, although permitting FDI in multi-brand retail was an ‘executive’ decision, it has the support of only the Nationalist Congress Party in the ruling UPA alliance. Practically all the opposition parties, most of the partners in the UPA and even some Congress ruled states like Kerala are opposed to this. In a democratic state, executive decisions should not go against the opinion of the ‘majority’. The government went ahead and announced this policy decision in a hurry even though the rules are not in line with the Foreign Exchange Management Act, which would have to be amended before the FDI decision becomes operational. The Supreme Court has indicated this. If there is a change of guard in the states that go in for elections next year, the new governments could review this FDI matter. Given this uncertainty, the MNC retail giants may not venture into India soon. The Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and DMK may bail out the government after extracting their ‘pound of flesh’. The government should act pragmatically in the long-term interest of the country and not to push up the Sensex that is not the real indicator of economic health.
—N Ramamurthy, Chennai
Ahead of the winter session of parliament, the prime minister had sought the cooperation of the opposition to get through the heavy legislative agenda before it. More than anything else, he was probably trying to find a way to avoid a repeat of the impasse that has stalled proceedings in recent parliament sessions. Sadly, the current has begun on a similar note with the Bharatiya Janata Party and Left parties demanding a discussion on FDI in multi-brand retail. But with the SP and BSP not singing from the same sheet, it appears we are headed into yet another prolonged stalemate that will further damage the image of the house of representatives.
—Pachu Menon, Margao
Good for India
Apropos of “Kasab’s hanging does no good to UPA-2 or to India”, the writer lists six reasons why the case should have been handled carefully and with a lot of introspection. I will give you five reasons why Kasab’s hanging does good for India. First, the hanging provides healing for the victims of 26/11 and their families. Second, while Amnesty International may argue about human rights of the convicts, who will stand up for the human rights of widows, orphans, dead soldiers and those who have been handicapped for life? Third, abolishing the death penalty will encourage such ruthless acts. Fourth, Kasab was 14th on the list of convicts to be hanged, but he had become an additional burden to the security apparatus and he could have also become the reason for another Kandahar. Fifth, Kasab’s stay here was also eating a big amount of the taxpayer’s money. Finally, there is no question of allowing terrorism to win.
—Som Mirpagar, Mumbai
It has been suggested that the government went ahead with the hanging of Ajmal Kasab with undue haste and secretly to gain political mileage and blunt the opposition attacks on various issues. But this strategy can also work against the government. Arvind Kejriwal, for one, would not miss such an opportunity!Kejriwal highlighted the case of an NSG commando, who suffered permanent disability in the operation against the 26/11 attackers, but had been denied pension and other benefits. The government has countered the charge, saying that the commando was paid Rs31 lakh ex-gratia. Clearly, one of the sides is lying. But the issue raised by Kejriwal that deserves attention is that while an employee must serve at least 15 years to be eligible for pension, members of parliament get pension even if they have been MPs for only a day!
—Anil Bagarka, Mumbai
Apropos of “The Indian state has lost its compassion”, following the arrest of the two girls in Palghar for their posts on Facebook, expressing dismay over the shutdown on the passing away of Bal Thackeray, there has been a debate on censorship of the social media. Such a censorship would be an anachronistic measure, when we value freedom and free speech. However, in an inflammable and fragile atmosphere, like we witnessed last weekend, we ought to exercise some self-restraint. Shaheen Dhada may not have foreseen the repercussions of her post. On the other hand, Shiv Sena CEO Uddhav Thackeray had appealed to Shiv sainiks to maintain calm and largely they followed responded to his appeal and this must be appreciated.
—KP Rajan, Mumbai
Apropos of “CM earns high command ire for state funeral”, the Congress leadership is justified in expressing its displeasure over the Maharashtra chief minister granting a state funeral for Bal Thackeray, and that too at a public place, without as much as giving a thought to the ramifications of such a decision. The Shiv sainiks deified Thackeray, but he was not a hero for all Maharashtrians, let alone the country. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who was given a public funeral, was a national hero who united the country with his inspirational call for Swaraj. In contrast, Bal Thackeray’s chauvinistic strategy divided people. By allowing a public funeral for Bal Thackeray, the chief minister has made himself vulnerable to pressure by the Shiv Sena on the issue of a memorial for Thackeray and other such demands that could turn out to be discomforting.
—Vijay Mohan, Chennai