* UNDER pressure from B.S Yeddyurappa,the BJP has finally replaced former Karnataka chief minister Sadananda Gowda with Jagadish Shettar (BJP latest: Gowda out,Shettar in Karnataka,IE,July 8). This indicates that party discipline within the BJP is in a shambles. The party has shown itself to be weak. It has no qualms in reversing its decisions and promoting the political interests of strong regional leaders. This has led to a game of one-upmanship among party leaders. The political vacuum at the top has led to a free-for-all among party leaders scrambling for power.
Law of succession
* IN Succession Rites (IE,July 8),Meghnad Desai makes a case for laying down rules on succession to the post of prime minister,in case a vacancy arises between elections. In India,such rules are not clear. Desai mentions an inexperienced Rajiv Gandhi becoming prime minister after Indira Gandhi was assassinated and suggests it is the first instance of dynasty politics in India. India has a long way to go before it can be called a mature democracy.
* TALKS between India and Pakistan seem to be an exercise in futility (Indo-Pak talks: Secretaries discuss terrorism,Abu Jundal,J-K,IE,July 4). Despite the recent talk of a joint initiative on the matter,India seems to demand the impossible when it asks Pakistan to help nab terrorists responsible for 26/11. If this is a precondition for better relations,they will be hard to achieve.
A. Rufus DSouza
Paying the price
* UNION Home Minister P. Chidambaram seems to be trying to excuse the governments flawed policies (Chidambaram in middle class row,IE,July 10). The rise in the price of foodgrains,apparently,is for the benefit of poor farmers. However,price rise does not benefit anybody. It sets in motion a vicious spiral that lowers economic growth and the standard of living.
An investment-friendly environment,committed execution of projects and legislation to eliminate corruption are essential to bring the economy back on track.
Crime and punishment
* IT WAS shocking to hear about the incident where Uma Poddar,a hostel warden in Visva-Bharatis Patha Bhavan school,allegedly forced a 10-year-old student to lick her own urine as punishment for bedwetting (Bengal Governor seeks report on girl student being forced to drink urine,IE,July 10). Although the West Bengal governor has sought a report on the matter,the response of the state government has been inadequate and disheartening on the whole.
Bidyut K. Chatterjee