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Smells like a lost cause

Sir — Sonia Gandhi’s determination to remove the Bharatiya Janata Party from power, irrespective of the Congress’s victory or loss, is positively strange (“Sonia sankalp: Win or no, BJP must go”, July 10). Her goal is at best vague. More vague still is her idea of how to achieve it. Does she think that aping the BJP — as she did in her Gujarat campaign — is the way to go about her mission' Above all, making a public announcement that the Congress need not be victorious in the BJP’s defeat is just another way of begging: Could someone please do the job for us'

Yours faithfully,
Debjani Choudhury, Calcutta


Bill of intent

Sir — The editorial, “Power corrupts” (July 2), very rightly questions the possibility of the implementation of the Lokpal bill. The long-pending bill has been introduced with some changes. The bill in its present form seeks to bring the prime minister, his cabinet ministers, legislators and top bureaucrats under its purview. There are already enough legal provisions which, if used properly, can take care of corruption in high places. However, the offenders mostly seem to get away scot-free by some loophole or other.

The Lokpal bill could do with a little more revision. For instance, to safeguard the prime minister from being harassed, there could be a provision for punishing persons for lodging irresponsible complaints. A greater need is to institute effective mechanisms to probe, punish and remove corrupt judges of higher courts who enjoy legal immunity, especially in the light of the steady rise in judicial crimes in the country.

Yours faithfully,
Madhu Agrawal, Delhi


Sir — The country would benefit if the Lokpal bill is passed by Parliament. In a democracy, the prime minister is primus inter pares with his cabinet colleagues and is not above the law. Thus, a bill which would make this formal by including the prime minister within its ambit can be expected to pave the way for the proper implementation of democratic rules in the country as well as corruption-free governance.

Yours faithfully,
B.S. Ganesh, Bangalore


Sir — Corruption breeds in most power centres of the state and central administrations and percolates to the rest of society. The Lokpal bill has the potential to root out corruption, but that is contingent upon its implementation.

Yours faithfully,
Phani Bhusan Saha, Balurghat


Off-track

Sir — With the Secunderabad-bound Golconda Express jumping off tracks at Warangal, doubts about the efficiency of the railways minister, Nitish Kumar, has been raised (“Train crashes off bridge”, July 3). With such accidents becoming frequent, travelling by trains has become a thing to fear. Nitish Kumar is perhaps the most unsuccessful railways minister in the history of independent India. Why is the National Democratic Alliance government not replacing him'

Yours faithfully,
T.R. Anand, Calcutta


Sir — Attributing almost every accident to some failure or the other has become a fashionable trend with Nitish Kumar. This year, there has already been some major accidents. System failure, track failure, and lack of funds are cited like a litany as reasons for such mishaps.

To ensure railway safety the Centre has allocated Rs 17,000 crore. This money has not been used for the purpose of improving the railways infrastructure. Nitish Kumar’s priority seems to be in creating a base for himself and for his party in Bihar.

On the one hand, there is the total inefficiency of the railway staff and officers, and on the other, there are the compulsions of alliance politics which secures Nitish Kumar in spite of his non-performance. This is most unfortunate.

Yours faithfully,
Tapan Das Gupta, Calcutta


Errata

Sir — In Ashok Mitra’s column on July 11 (“The enthroned lady”), Sister Nivedita has been referred to as Madeline Slade. This should, of course, have been Margaret Noble. The error is regretted. — The Editor

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