* The Congresss scant regard for the autonomy and authority of constitutional institutions has once again been exposed by the governments attempt to curb the powers of the Election Commission (Secret note blows cover of govt move to shackle Election Commission,IE,February 22). Free and fair elections are the lifeline of a democracy and the EC is the referee in an electoral contest. The Congress must desist from appearing drunk on power. It may not remain in power for ever,but the damage it causes to constitutional bodies will be permanent.
* The secret note for the GoM shows the UPA government has been planning to dilute the powers of the EC,notwithstanding the protests of the concerned ministers. This shows the growing culture of intolerance in the Congresss top leadership,when it comes to any obstacle to its designs and schemes. Of late,it has been on a collision course with constitutional authorities like the CAG,the judiciary and states run by other parties. Now that the party finds the present CEC upright and unbending,it has decided to clip the ECs wings.
* The agenda note for the GoM has conclusively nailed the lie of Congress ministers that there was no move to curtail the poll panels powers. Congress leaders sometimes behave like children,who gang up to teach a lesson to their bête noire,but protest their innocence when challenged. In the past too,they retracted their statements on policy matters because of public outcry. But the inexplicable or unfortunate part of such controversial episodes is that the party leadership rarely says its piece. Silence is golden,but not when it shows our lack of moral fibre or courage of conviction.
* Apropos Indias Arab Sprint (IE,February 22),the recent Indo-Saudi exchanges must not be viewed through the narrow prism of oil diplomacy,but as a milestone towards realising strategic partnership as envisaged in the 2010 Riyadh Declaration signed between the two nations. The $30-billion Saudi-US arms deal of December 2011 could be an opportunity for India to trade notes on the technical and training aspects of inducting the latest military hardware. The vitriolic turn in the Shia-Sunni conflict in the Gulf makes it necessary for India to obtain firsthand perspectives from both the Saudis and the Iranians. Indias relations with Pakistan and the protection of its interests in Afghanistan would certainly require joint initiatives with the Arab nations to choke avenues of terrorist financing. Nurturing long-term ties could further alleviate Indias FDI concerns as the Arabs are keen to diversify into non-oil businesses through their cash-rich sovereign wealth funds.
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