Sir — So here is a problem which even Andhra Pradesh’s CEO knows not how to handle (“Naidu kin in suspension row”, Dec 4). Ramamurthy Naidu, brother of N. Chandrababu Naidu, has become a major embarrassment for the chief minister, much the way Sanjay Gandhi had become one for his mother following the Emergency, and innumerable sons are to their politician fathers and mothers. Yet, in the family business that politics is in India, such embarrassments are occupational hazards. Waywardness is sometimes mildly rebuked, as in the present case, but mostly accepted as natural. That is how killer sons get away and rioters get rewarded. In Ramamurthy’s case also the ones who have been punished are his followers. Despite setting a precedent by his impartial and professional management of the affairs of the state, Naidu has found the influence of his family an impossible thing to escape in the business of politics.
M. Chatterjee, Calcutta
Instrument of hate
Sir— Bhaskar Ghose’s article, “Hate makes good news”(Nov 26), is a good analysis of media habits in India. But it would be unfair to club all media agencies together as trying to make “good news” of hate. Some undoubtedly exploit major political issues to sell themselves. But there are also some who are serious about and committed to public interests.
The media’s role in a democratic country like ours should not be limited to the reporting of sensational events alone, it has to be extended to constructively moulding public opinion as well. Modi may have found hate as an effective instrument to consolidate his vote bank in Gujarat for this election, but such short-sightedness can only guarantee temporary gains. Time may treat him with the same kindness with which it has treated Adolf Hitler. Men like Modi cannot win the hearts of the people of our culturally diverse country. He and his cronies ought to realize that only the message of peace can ultimately endear them permanently to Gujarat.
S.A. Rahman Barkati, Calcutta
Sir-— Bhaskar Ghose is right when he says that the media and the opposition parties in Gujarat are making sure that victory goes to the champion of hate, Narendra Modi. While there seems to be no dilemma among the opposition about the need to defeat the harmful communal agenda of the saffron parivar, by some strange logic it seems to be hellbent on ensuring its own defeat. Instead of coming together in a coalition, the parties are putting up their separate candidates in each seat, thereby fracturing the anti-communal vote. The parties, led by the Congress, should first put aside their narrow outlook before challenging the saffronites.
Kalyan Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — As appropriately highlighted by Bhaskar Ghose, Narendra Modi never fails to occupy centre stage in any news concerning Gujarat. The fault lies entirely with the media for putting him in the limelight all the time without giving any importance to what the other opposition parties are up to. The latter have also failed to exploit the situation. The Congress, for one, could have done better by being less proactive. Other parties could have used their clout to intimidate Modi and build up a more congenial atmosphere in the troubled state. The need of the hour is to make people more aware of the dangers posed by the communal divide which the Bharatiya Janata Party has been mindlessly using to promote itself.
S. Ali, Secunderabad
Sir -— The Indian democracy seems to have become divided between two parties — the BJP and the Congress. The electorate thus has little choice but to elect either of the two. Yet, the Congress revival is not because of its inherent merit. It is because of the negative sentiment the BJP has encouraged against itself. The same logic may work for Gujarat.
But we cannot afford to overlook the fact that India is inching towards a global economy and the election of the government in the context becomes a serious affair that requires prudence. A successful election in Jammu and Kashmir for example has altered the way the international community thinks about the Kashmir problem.
In this scenario, our electorate is required to dispassionately view politics before casting its vote. Not allowing ourselves to be influenced by the various tactics of contending parties would be a significant step in this direction.
Samir Banerjee, New Delhi
Sir — The report, “Suicide bid by jilted candidate” (Nov 27), and the alleged resignation of several other party workers from the Congress in Gujarat show what a mess the party is making of the election. The events in Uttar Pradesh preceding the state assembly elections there were similar. A party which is so eager to partake of the loaves and fishes of office cannot do justice to the situation in Gujarat. But this is a part of the larger picture. The harangues over ticket distribution make it even more necessary for the government and the apex court to take a stringent stand on disallowing criminals from contesting.
B.S. Ganesh, Bangalore
Foot in mouth
Sir — The report, “Captain caught on wrong foot” (Dec 3), was disturbing. How could the Indian captain allow such a slip' As the report says, the team was probably not briefed about the stri- ngent environmental safeguards implemented by New Zealand. But the lapse was embarrassing.
T.R. Anand, Calcutta
Sir— New Zealand may have strict rules but its guests could have been spared the embarrassment, especially since it is not known if the sportsmen were aware of flouting the rules.
Sudarsan Nandi, Midnapore