The Calcutta High Court’s judgment striking down the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act — enacted by the West Bengal government to return the land acquired for the Tata Motors’ small car factory to “unwilling farmers” — as unconstitutional should not be seen as a victory or loss for any political party or ideology. The fact of the matter is, like many other laws, the Land Acquisition Act is antiquated and a colonial vestige. Our lawmakers have failed to pass laws reflecting the aspirations and needs of a vast majority. How does one explain the fact that the Land Acquisition Bill has been hanging fire while laws favouring the corporate domination of ordinary lives are being passed in spite of the so-called policy paralysis?
The verdict is a huge setback to the Maa Maati Manush government. Singur was where Mamata Banerjee’s campaign to unseat the Left caught fire. Although she is a great crusader, Ms. Banerjee is on a sticky wicket as Chief Minister.
In Measure for Measure , Shakespeare said: “It is excellent to have a giant’s strength, but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant.” The Singur Act was enacted with the rider “unwilling farmers.” If, on a stretch of land, one farmer is “unwilling,” can the government return his plot? Applicability should be taken into account while enacting a law.
T. Anand Raj,
Sangma in the race
There appears to be motivated criticism in some sections of the media of P.A. Sangma’s decision to contest the presidential election. The argument is that the numbers are not on his side, hence he should not contest. This suggestion makes a mockery of the democratic principle of contest. In an election, only one candidate can be successful. But people do contest to make their points of view known.
When Lakshmi Saigal contested against Abdul Kalam, the media never reacted this way. Why criticise Mr. Sangma now?
Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao,
Mr. Sangma’s invitation to UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee for a debate on a range of issues, particularly the economy, is welcome (“Congress shrugs off Sangma’s demand for debate,” June 23). Mr. Mukherjee is not yet the President. Therefore, the Congress stand that the President does not manage the economy is only an excuse to avoid a debate. If democracy is to flourish, all issues should be discussed and the air cleared, if necessary.
Many Presidents have remained mere figureheads, giving speeches, giving away awards, chairing functions or travelling abroad. People may not vote directly for the President but they surely have a right to know the credentials of the candidates. Mr. Sangma’s call is a step in the right direction.
After failing to get Mr. Kalam to contest, and extending support to Mr. Sangma now, the BJP is fighting a losing battle just to show that it is in the presidential race. It is surprising that Mr. Sangma has resigned from the NCP to fulfil his presidential ambitions, banking on the support of a few political parties.
By deciding to support Mr. Sangma more out of compulsions than on principles, the BJP has lost its credibility. Even in the nomination of Mr. Sangma, the real credit should go to Jayalalithaa and Navin Patnaik as it is they who first proposed his name.
Tharcius S. Fernando,
This refers to the article “Counting wrongly to 2014” (June 23) on Narendra Modi’s prime ministerial ambitions. Agreed, Mr. Modi is no Atal Bihari Vajpayee but no party has a leader of Mr. Vajpayee’s stature. The former Prime Minister had a huge mass appeal and was respected by all. To compare Mr. Modi alone with Mr. Vajpayee is unfair. It would be better to compare all prime ministerial candidates with him and have a lengthy debate.
The JD(U) has warned that it will quit the NDA if Mr. Modi is projected as its prime ministerial candidate. Nitish Kumar has made his desire for a candidate with secular credentials known. For the BJP leader, it would be an uphill battle without JD(U) support in the Lok Sabha elections.
The news of the passing away of National Investigation Agency’s first Director-General, Radha Vinod Raju came as a shock to all those who knew him well. D.R. Kaarthikeyan’s tribute (June 22) was very informative. As a batchmate of Radha Vinod Raju, I knew him not merely as an enthusiastic IPS probationer at the Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, but also as a person who possessed many endearing virtues.
I first met him in 1975 on the campus of the Academy. He was a very good singer. He would render, among other songs, the great Mohammad Rafi pieces, Man Tarpat Hari Darshan Ko Aaj and Chahoonga Mein Tujhe and the Manna Dey song, Poocho Na Kaise Meine Rain Bithayee , mellifluously. He also loved the Tamil classic, Alai Paayudhey Kanna . For the “Onam Nite” celebrations, he would train enthusiastically for his solo, Utthara Swayamvaram and for the chorus from Chemmeen , ‘Chaagara Chaagara.’ His full involvement was, however, reserved for his songs for Krishna Leela , in which the role of Radha was played by our batchmate Sindhu Sree Rao Khullar, now Secretary to the Planning Commission. Radha Vinod Raju had a winning smile and a good sense of humour. His qualities won him many friends and admirers.