Letter of the Week:
The land boundary agreement is crucial for India and Bangladesh. Passing the bill unanimously in the Rajya Sabha was no small feat, given the opposition’s attitude to the Modi government. Sushma Swaraj rewrote Dale Carnegie as “how to win friends and influence enemies”. The government must stoop to conquer, as its performance will not be gauged by what it wanted to do, but by what it did. Walking the middle path may win the day for the government, while unnecessary provocation of the opposition about its failures may create problems for pending bills. To sprint ahead, Modi may have to take a step back.
-Ashok Goswami, Mumbai
The UK election results were dramatic. There are similarities with the Indian general election in 2014. In India, the coalition-era ended after more than two decades, when the BJP formed the government under Narendra Modi. In the UK, PM David Cameron surprised everyone by not just winning the largest number of seats, but also a clear Tory majority. The second striking feature is the SNP taking 56 of 59 seats in Scotland and emerging as the third-largest party at Westminster. Here, there was an echo of India in 2015. Having lost all seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, the AAP won 67 of 70 in assembly seats, wiping out the Congress and BJP. The British results are dramatic in that, just seven months after Scotland’s pro-independence referendum failed, the SNP overturned decades of Labour dominance. Despite winning a majority, keeping the kingdom united is Cameron’s great challenge.
-A.K. Shukla, New Delhi
Reports confirm that PM Narendra Modi has raised all major bilateral issues with his Chinese hosts. Some are of serious concern to us, namely, stapled visas for Arunachalis, China’s investments in PoK, border settlement and the trade deficit. However, as feared, there’s no indication of a positive response yet from China. This is the tragedy of Sino-Indian relations since the communist takeover in 1949. Modi seems more shrewd than Jawaharlal Nehru. But he’s equally overenthusiastic about warm, neighbourly relations even when signals from China are not reassuring.
-M. Ratan, New Delhi
Court and Policy
The Supreme Court’s verdict allowing the display of photos of only three personalities in government advertisements — the president, prime minister and chief justice of India — also raises the question of the court’s jurisdiction (‘Photo finish’, IE, May 15). The court said it could intervene if there was no clear policy on an issue. But should it then impose its own policy statement, or ask the government to devise one?
-Y.G. Chouksey, Pune