Letter of the Week
So last season
The BJP has no manifesto yet (‘BJP no-show’, IE, April 5). It intends to make do with a chargesheet for the time being. It seems that its PM candidate does not believe in making promises either before or after the polls. The Congress, being old and traditional, seems to have issued one from its archives. The Left has the least problem presenting a manifesto, as this has not changed for half a century and more. Luckily, both the Senas have spared the nation their weighty thoughts, busy as they are with each other. The Dravidian scenario is almost the same. Though the AIADMK came out with a manifesto, it is more busy working out the number of the combination to the southern lock. The electorate may well go into election 2014 without a voting guide. In this age of apps, manifestos are old hat.
— R. Narayanan
The good fight
ALMOST all Indians hold the Election Commission in high regard for the exemplary role it plays in conducting free and fair polls in the country (‘Didi vs EC’, IE, April 10). The initiatives that it has taken over the years, aimed at removing the ills which plague the electoral process, are laudable. This explains why the EC is one of our most loved and trusted public institutions. It is not uncommon for political parties and their leaders to find fault with the functioning of the EC and raise a hue and cry about it whenever it unleashes new measures to expunge corruption from the electoral system. The recent outburst of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, over the EC’s order to transfer some state officials, is a case in point. The disturbing tendency of candidates to fudge their campaign expenditure records still needs to be curbed. But the EC has checked booth capturing and the role of muscle power to quite an extent.
— M. Jeyaram
n THIS refers to ‘Regarding fascism’ by Pratap Bhanu Mehta (IE, April 11). The writer merely repeats the illogical and baseless hypothesis that Hindu nationalism springs from economic uncertainties, lack of confidence and psychological anxieties. The fact of the matter is that the global economic depression of the 1930s destabilised nearly all liberal democracies in Europe but fascism gained acceptance only in Italy and Germany. In the Indian context, the economic situation was much more dire during the late-1960s and early-1970s (remember the PL-480 wheat crisis?) but that did not lead to the rise of Hindu nationalism. Nor did Manmohan Singh’s reforms cause Hindu nationalism to dissipate. In the 1990s, the BJP came into power at a time when the economy was performing relatively well.
— Ajay Tyagi
Not so subtle
THIS refers to ‘Boys are boys, they make mistakes… Will you hang them for rape: Mulayam’ (IE, April 11). Mulayam Singh Yadav’s comments were really surprising. It makes me shudder to think that a leader of his stature has such a mentality. No wonder the incidence of rape is increasing in our country. It’s shameful that one of our democracy’s leading lights thinks so regressively.
— Niladri Thakur