The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Letters to Editor

The outsiders

Sir — Bihar’s former director-general of police, D.P. Ojha, doesn’t realize that he has bitten off more than he can chew (“Backlash at clean-up cop sack”, Dec 7). A crusade against corruption is all very well, but Ojha could have taken some advice from fellow bureaucrats like Harsh Mander and N. Vittal before quitting. Both Mander and Vittal had been self-righteous officers — Mander as a district collector in Gujarat and Vittal as the chief vigilance commissioner — who caused an uproar in the civil and political administration because of their commitment to fight corruption and uphold human values. Both realized the futility of fulfilling their roles within the ambit of government service. Like them, Ojha has also decided to fight from “outside”. But what they could have told Ojha is that even outside the service, the fight is a humongous task to achieve. More important, people like them would find more listeners with their uniforms on, than without it.

Yours faithfully,
S. Samanta, Calcutta

Winner takes all

Sir — As several times before, the Indian electorate has again made a mockery of the exit polls which had predicted a 4-0 Congress victory or hung assemblies in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. The moment the election results started coming out, the agencies tried to cover up their failures by putting forward reasons like “heavy voter turnout”, “women factor”, “weather”, or “anti-incumbency”. There were other excuses. The Bharatiya Janata Party victory was attributed to the party’s management skills, the prime minister’s liberalization policy or Sonia Gandhi’s dependence on her coterie. Yet when the Congress had trounced the BJP in Himachal Pradesh, the same analysts had lambasted Atal Bihari Vajpayee as an old man and called Sonia Gandhi a brilliant organizer. Victory has many fathers, but defeat is always an orphan.

Yours faithfully,
Tapan Das Gupta, Calcutta

Sir — Media analysts are seeing red over the grand subversion of Indian democracy by the BJP. Meanwhile, the prime minister has let the cat out of the bag with his pre-result advice to the party to prepare for the general elections prior to schedule. There are already doubts being expressed in different sections of the media over whether the electronic voting machines are fool-proof. The speculations about rigging in these assembly elections have been lent substance by the prime minister’s call for the general elections. Given the circumstances, the abject surrender of the Congress and its acceptance of the BJP “sweep” will be counter-productive for the country. There is cause for apprehension that the whole democratic process might be hijacked from the people of this country. Which is why the BJP is now desperately trying to convince the country that there was no connection between the prime minister’s announcement and its victory.

Yours faithfully,
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

Sir — Elections are not always won by ideology, but by focussing on burning issues. The BJP sweep is clear testimony to this. So far the BJP think tank had failed on cash in on this strategy given its narrow ideological viewpoint. For the first time, the party under the brilliant leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee kept aside the communal issues and fought the elections on the issues of electricity,water and roads and good governance. The electorate deserves to be congratulated for showing political maturity. Hopefully, religion will take a backseat in the days ahead and the BJP will manage to win the confidence of the minorities.

Yours faithfully,
Md. Ayub Ansari, Jagatdal

Sir — The assembly election results reflect the genuine anger of the women of this country. All parties except the BJP have tried to stall the women’s reservation bill. The female population thus found it necessary to vote for the women candidates, and it has done so irrespective of the candidates’ party affiliation and background. Of course, the elected women are all capable leaders. Had the BJP put up a charismatic woman candidate in Delhi, it would have won the race there as well.

Yours faithfully,
D.P. Parkhe, via email

Sir — Out of more than 55 years of independence, India has been ruled by the Congress for nearly 50 years, yet Nehru-Gandhi loyalists like Rudrangshu Mukherjee blame other parties for the failure of socialism and secularism (“Beware the core ideology”, Dec 7). Successive Congress governments, led by the Nehru-Gandhi family have shamelessly converted democracy into dynastic rule, failed to provide clean and good governance, and destroyed the moral fabric of the nation. The election results in four states prove that voters can no longer be fooled.

Yours faithfully,
Manish Chowdhary, Moscow

Sir — Its inefficacy to capitalize on the Dilip Singh Judeo scandal shows how fatuous the Congress think tank has become. While the lotus is blossoming, the hand is getting crippled by serving Sonia Gandhi. It is not that the BJP itself has not banked on Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s idiosyncracy. But the BJP has simultaneously thrown up charismatic leaders like L.K. Advani, M. Venkaiah Naidu and Arun Jaitley.

Yours faithfully,
V. Hemant Krishna, Bangalore

Sir — India’s experience with alternative governments to the Congress has been nightmarish. The experience with the BJP is turning out to be different. Inflation is down to 5 per cent, foreign exchange reserves have swollen to more than $ 90 billion, development works are being carried out full steam and employment opportunities are growing. There has been one minor flaw though. Given its lack of majority, this government has been unable to fight corruption. The voters in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have now given the party this opportunity. The future of the BJP will depend on the performance of these governments.

Yours faithfully,
Hara Lal Chakraborty, Calcutta

Sir — The Congress’s reluctance to play coalition politics is one reason for its defeat. The other factor is the insecurity among the majority community. The minority card, meanwhile, has worn out.

Yours faithfully,
Debayan Sarkhel, via email

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