Ever since the state assembly elections in December 2013, it has become apparent that regional parties are losing their political relevance. Such parties are indeed at a crossroads, as indicated by the editorial, ‘The new regional’ (IE, October 22). National parties such as the CPM are also losing ground and may soon be deprived of their party symbols. The common factor among all the parties that are in decline is that they have a conservative approach to politics. Fresh thinking is in short supply. For example, can the Congress, SP, BSP, Akali Dal or RJD dream of having a non-dynastic top leadership? In contrast, three former party presidents of the BJP find themselves working under someone many years their junior — Amit Shah.
— B.N. Anand
His father’s legacy
The Lokniti-CSDS post-poll analysis has revealed that Uddhav Thackeray outscored other contenders for the choice of Maharashtra CM (IE, October 21). It is quite surprising that Uddhav Thackeray is so unpopular in the press. He inherited a tough legacy from his father, Bal Thackeray, who had given the party a unique identity — a mixture of aggression and Maratha pride. But even the senior Thackeray could not really spread his wings. He was too reliant on the BJP. Bal Thackeray never contested elections but he built a solid base for future generations of his family to cash in on. Behind the soft-spoken demeanour of Uddhav Thackeray is a tough politician. He appears willing to learn and build on his mistakes. He does not seem to be in an undue hurry, unlike his estranged cousin, Raj Thackeray.
— Ganapathi Bhat
The Shiv Sena made the right choice by fighting the elections alone. After all, it was a matter of self-respect and pride. The Shiv Sena is the only party where loyalty and emotions have value. It is the only party ready to fight for Marathi issues, which aren’t as glossy as “developmental” issues. Uddhav Thackeray’s leadership skills have been amply demonstrated in these elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a great leader. But in a democracy, even great leaders need to be kept in check.
— Santosh Mohan Joshi
Browner and balder
It’s abundantly clear that this government, in its quest for so-called development, will leave this country browner, balder and hotter. Soon, India could be flagged as a major violator of green norms at multilateral forums. E-clearances for “transparency”, the dilution of environmental norms, the proliferation of “smart” cities and the re-examination of the “feasibility” of forest laws are precursors to our ecological doom.
— Anoop Hosmath