Sir — Recurrent mass layoffs and the increased preference for remote working have been the fallouts of the pandemic. However, Meta, after implementing a round of layoffs, recently introduced pre-pandemic perks like happy hours to boost staff morale and get them back in the office. While networking outside work is important for reducing stress and fostering alliances, surveys show that the practice of schmoozing after work has been on the wane. Can it be argued that introducing perks without addressing concerns about meagre salaries and job insecurity is making employees eschew office socialisation?
Shraisth Gupta, Mumbai
Sir — The editorial, “Key vote” (Sept 26), correctly argued that the other backward classes can emerge as the deciding factor in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. While the editorial mentioned the dominant and non-dominant OBC vote shares for both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1996 and 2014, it failed to reflect on the OBC votes garnered by both parties in the last general elections. The OBC vote share of the saffron party increased from 34% in 2014 to 44% in 2019. However, large chunks of dominant OBC votes still remain elusive to the BJP.
After the passing of the women’s reservation bill in Parliament, the Congress has been seeking a quota for OBC women. This should be backed by a unanimous demand for a caste census by the leaders of the INDIA bloc. Only then will they will be able to dent the popularity of the BJP among this key constituency.
Sukhendu Bhattacharjee, Hooghly
Call to action
Sir — Six youngsters from Portugal have filed a lawsuit at the European Court of Human Rights against 32 European Union members for failing to take action to reduce greenhouse emissions. The litigants have cited the example of the forest fires that ravaged Portugal in 2017 to make their case.
The goal to limit global temperature rise to 1.5° Celsius seems more elusive than ever. World leaders tend to commit to an array of climate change mitigation efforts during conferences but are usually found lacking when it comes to taking action. Such double standards will make the battle against global warming tougher.
Jang Bahadur Singh, Jamshedpur
Sir — In a surprise move, the BJP announced the candidature of party heavyweights, including the Union ministers, for the upcoming assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh. This shows that the saffron party cannot rely on the credibility of the state leaders and has to field Central leaders in the seats where it is facing stiff competition from the Congress.
It must be recalled that the BJP adopted a similar strategy for the West Bengal elections in 2021 in which it fielded several of its sitting parliamentarians. But only two such candidates could win on that occasion. It seems that the results would be no different this time because of the misrule of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government.
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad
Sir — Assembly elections are due in five states this year. It would be interesting to see how Congress performs in these polls given its recent revival. The results will have a bearing on the 2024 general elections. While Rahul Gandhi has been exuding confidence about the Congress winning in all five states, the electorate seems to be exuding a mixed response.
Devendra Khurana, Bhopal
Sir — The Cauvery water-sharing dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu tends to rear its ugly head time and again. The Cauvery Water Regulation Committee’s order for Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu starting September 28 is justified. The issue has been aggravated owing to the drought-like situation in both states as a result of erratic monsoons. The river water should be allocated evenly between the two states to avoid recurrent flare-ups.
G. David Milton, Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
Sir — The Union minister, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, has stated that Karnataka was compelled to release Cauvery water after being pressurised by the M.K. Stalin-led government. He also alleged that the P.C. Siddaramaiah regime failed to consult other parties before making the decision.
Karnataka released the river water as per the orders of the CWRC. Chandrasekhar’s claims are thus preposterous. Moreover, he is in no position to accuse others of unilateralism when the Centre has rarely been known to consult the Opposition.
N. Mahadevan, Chennai
Sir — Waheeda Rehman has been conferred the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for her contributions to Indian cinema. Rehman has essayed several memorable roles throughout her career, including in classics like Pyaasa and Guide. Her ability to bring depth to her portrayals earned her critical acclaim and popular admiration.
Ranganathan Sivakumar, Chennai