* Shekhar Gupta’s ‘Left, Right or Standstill’ (IE, January 18) rightly argues that socialism is the most persistent virus in Indian politics. Pragmatism is not opportunism. Manmohan Singh is not a great theorist but he has vast experience in the application of theory. He had put the Indian economy on a self-sustained growth path. The Congress then introduced “inclusive growth”. The economy nosedived. Singh remained a silent spectator, publicly humiliated. Now that the AAP has withdrawn FDI in retail, can it suggest an alternative remedy for an imperfect agricultural market? Meanwhile, the BJP is anchored to an organisation with medieval ideas. What we need is a think-tank for the 21st century.
— M.K. Mahapatra
* I would like to congratulate The Indian Express for bringing to the fore arguments from all sides about AFSPA in Kashmir. The debate, and any solution, must be guided by justice. Justice is not abstract. Wajahat Habibullah (‘Rethink and redploy’, IE, January 17) has offered practical solutions. Accountability must be an underlying factor for any solution. AFSPA’s horrors and the need for its withdrawal, though known, wouldn’t have become “known” but for a committee set up by the Supreme Court. Instances like Machchil, though being addressed by a military tribunal, shouldn’t be exclusively addressed by army institutions. Justice in a democracy demands accountability to the people through checks imposed by representative institutions. A parliamentary committee would be ideal to look into complaints against the armed forces.
— Sakshi Sawhney
* This refers to the editorial ‘Rough justice’ (IE, January 17). The AAP may be committed to clean and efficient governance, but it has to work within the framework of the system. After assuming power, Arvind Kejriwal declared subsidised reduction in electricity tariff and free water without any legislative approval and budget provisions. His janta durbar ended in chaos. Looking directionless in Delhi, AAP is in a hurry to contest the general elections. The reversal of FDI in multi-brand retail and Prashant Bhushan’s calls for a referendum on the army in Kashmir and one in Naxalite areas, later denied, raise big questions about AAP’s policy on sensitive national issues.
— M.C. Joshi
Vigilantes of Delhi
* This refers to the report ‘2 Delhi ministers turn vigilantes’ (IE, January 17) and the editorial ‘Rough justice’. No right-thinking Indian, not even a drawing-room supporter of the AAP, will have any doubt that what the two ministers, Somnath Bharti and Rakhi Birla, did Thursday night is a manifestation of vigilantism, unacceptable in a law-abiding society. Alleged flesh and drug trade is no defence. Chief Minister Kejriwal’s defence of their kangaroo-style delivery
— M. Ratan