Play it cool; Early polls; Dark chapter; Parting shot
- Published 13.09.18
Play it cool
• Sir - The American tennis star, Serena Williams, is an international role model. Apart from being a world-class player, Williams is known to carry herself gracefully both on and off the court. It was, therefore, distressing to watch her contest the decisions of the chair umpire at the women's singles final of the US Open. She even called the umpire "a thief", for which Williams was given a game penalty. The 23-time Grand Slam winner eventually lost the match to Japan's Naomi Osaka. Williams should control her temper, as a lot of youngsters look up to her.
• Sir - The Telangana government has recommended the premature dissolution of the state assembly ("Telangana early polls", Sept 7). This move is unfortunate given that a national debate is currently raging on the desirability of having simultaneous polls. Under normal circumstances, the Vidhan Sabha and the Lok Sabha elections would have coincided in the southern state.
The decision clearly betrays the anxiety of the chief minister of Telangana, K. Chandrashekhar Rao. It seems that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief is apprehensive that if both the polls are held at the same time, then the prime minister, Narendra Modi, would be able to swing the electorate's mood in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
It is true that Article 174 of the Constitution empowers a governor to dissolve the legislative assembly. However, the article does not clearly delineate the circumstances in which the dissolution can happen. Therefore, it needs to be debated whether assemblies or even the Lok Sabha should be dissolved prematurely at a time when the incumbent government commands the majority.
• Sir - K. Chandrashekhar Rao has taken a bold step by recommending the premature dissolution of the assembly. It is evident from the move that Rao is confident of coming back to power. Assembly elections are also due in states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan later this year. Now, all other states where elections are slated to be held in 2019, along with the Centre, should also dissolve their respective Houses. This could help pave the way for simultaneous polls to a large extent.
• Sir - After the arrests of the five human rights activists last month, a public prosecutor had said that "the accused had together formed the All India United Front, which is nothing but an 'anti-fascist front'" ("Anti-fascist front", Sept 3). This incident proves, once again, that expressing or holding anti-fascist opinion is increasingly being viewed as a criminal activity. Unfortunately, even after such transgressions by the State, the majority of the people remain indifferent. They do not think it is their duty to protest, even after the Supreme Court observed that "dissent is the safety valve of democracy".
For me, dissent is the mortar holding up the four pillars of democracy. However, the members of the ruling dispensation would be only too happy to see this edifice crumble. With general elections looming large, they seem to be in a tearing hurry, their demolition squads already pressed into service.
• Sir - Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, popularly referred to as the sedition law, should have long been consigned to the waste bin of history. The sedition law has often been misused by successive governments since Independence to suppress dissent.
It is important for the law to move with the times. The present mood of civil society is in favour of repealing this draconian law.
• Sir - Three youths lost their lives after a mechanized country boat capsized in the Brahmaputra ("Overloaded boat capsizes in Assam, 3 die", Sept 6). The ill-fated boat had the capacity to carry 15 persons, but it was reportedly carrying more than 40. Moreover, most operators of these boats do not think it is necessary to have safety provisions, such as life jackets, on board.
Assam has seen such accidents in the past as well. But surprisingly, the government has never taken strong steps to make the operators adhere to safety rules.
Ashim Kumar Chakraborty,