Shastri & Indira
Apropos Inder Malhotras When Shastri took ill (IE,August 6),the article gives the impression that relations between Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi were strained after Nehrus death. This is incorrect. After Nehru passed away,Shastriji was keen on Indira taking over as PM. He broached the matter with her,but she declined,saying she was not in a state of mind to take over the reins of the country. After being elected as leader of the CPP,Shastriji requested her to join his cabinet,which she again politely declined. However,on his insistence that she would be a source of strength to him,she reluctantly agreed and requested him for a light portfolio. Information and broadcasting at that time was a light ministry as it covered only AIR. About handing over the external affairs portfolio to Swaran Singh,Shastriji believed that the choice of ministers was the prerogative of the PM. A year later,he again demonstrated his conviction when he accepted the resignation of T.T. Krishnamachari and informed the then Congress president,K. Kamaraj,over the telephone only after the resignation letter was forwarded to the president of India. As his son,I remember Shastriji was not prepared to undermine or dilute the authority of the prime minister.
Anil K. Shastri
As Ringing in the new (IE,August 8) points out,the revival of the economy will not be easily accomplished. Handling the situation successfully calls for Finance Minister P. Chidambarams ingeniousness. That apart,he should be ready to plough a lonely furrow. As mentioned in the editorial,for the time being,the removal of the oil subsidy and the readjustment of the budget math can cushion the economys fall.
THIS refers to UPAs poll sign on I-Day: a phone for all scheme (IE,August 8). Its unfortunate that the freebie bug has bitten the UPA government. It is not the governments responsibility to give mobile phones to everyone. It should,instead,create,maintain and improve the communications infrastructure so that anyone who wants to use it can do so. The motive behind this dole is not to protect the interests of the aam aadmi,but to help companies that manufacture phones and provide cellular services.
THE UPA governments proposal to provide a cellphone to each BPL household is like rubbing salt in the wounds of the poor. The Congress must not forget that Indira Gandhis Garibi hatao slogan not only failed to change the partys fortunes but was subsequently ridiculed. The priority of the BPL population is two square meals a day,not mobile phones. This will not in any way better the Congresss electoral prospects.