This has reference to your front page news item, “We will fight terror ‘root and branch' — Manmohan” (June 2), on the annual report card of the United Progressive Alliance-II. Instead of glorifying the small achievements during the first year of its governance, UPA-II would do well to address on a war-footing the burning issue of terrorism. India today is at the crossroads. Rampant corruption that is a drain on the national exchequer can never be lost sight of. Education and healthcare should be accorded high priority. UPA-II still does not appear to have clarity on its strategies to translate plans into actions.
The Prime Minister's promise that the government would not hesitate to launch a frontal war against disruptive elements is reassuring. However, people expect action rather than rhetoric. Already, the people of the Naxal-infested States have been neglected, particularly in the areas of food security, health care and education. If the tribals and poor people had been made part of the improvement the other parts of the country witnessed, they would not have aligned themselves with the Maoists. If one thing is conspicuous by its absence in the report card, it is the mushrooming of corruption at all levels. People have begun to think that as long as the Left parties were in the UPA alliance, the government did not deviate from the pro-poor path and, in their absence, it has become a pro-rich.
The rhetoric is inspiring indeed. But Dr. Singh should have specified what effective strategy he has at his disposal to start the fight. The Defence Minister has just started discussions with the three Services Chiefs on the security situation, including the Maoist problem, which the Prime Minister considers the gravest threat to national security. Is the UPA waiting for many more CRPF units, innocent civilians and long distance passenger trains wiped out before fighting the Maoist terror “root and branch?”
Col. C.V. Venugopalan (retd.),