Niranjan Rajadhyaksha’s “Who owns the spectrum?” ( Mint, 1 December) is an excellent write-up on how natural resources are frittered away by oligarchic capitalism. In this context, the Radia tapes are a testimony to murky deals for furthering business interests. A corpus for the returns from natural resources managed by an independent regulatory body can surely help mitigate the waste. But amid India’s chaotic approach to natural resources, will this be allowed? Look at the way Cairn and Vedanta have been handled. Posco is hanging fire in Orissa in the name of the Forest Rights Act. The arcane Land Acquisition Act, a British legacy, needs urgent revision. Infrastructure projects are badly affected, and meager payments to farmers are a testimony to the rot in our governance system.
Is India an oligarchy? No, we aren’t sure what we are, or where are we destined to be in the comity of evolved nations. Power is not vested in a few. But it is so dissipated that no one is sure who rules, how, when, and to what purpose.
We have sunk so deep into coalition politics that parties stink in every aspect of political life. Deeply maligned and viewed by the populace at large as corrupt, these parties are just leading us to high rankings on corruption indices.
Coalition politics makes strange bedfellows. The need of the hour is a peoples’ revolution which clamours, through media, to get the wrongdoers behind bars—well in time, not after the crimes are committed. Not like Satyam’s Ramalinga Raju, who is even now escaping the hard life in prison. Judicial activism is the need of the hour.
We do not know what oligarchy in India would mean; there are no few identified people who rule, least of all Manmohan Singh and the dynastic siblings across political parties. We are but a wretched “dynastarchy”, with a resultant “chaoticarchy” that has no political seriousness, ability or will to govern; no sanity, nor much hope.
-Col. Pradeep Kala (retd)
I had hoped that Nitish Kumar would win for a second time, but I never thought that this Janata Dal (United)-Bharatiya Janata Party victory in Bihar would remind me of the 1977 Janata Dal victory over the Indira Gandhi-led Congress after the Emergency. The poll results are amazing. The Nitish Kumar magic has worked almost throughout the state—from Naxal-infected areas to Yadav strongholds. It’s more heartening that the people of Bihar, particularly women, have been impressed by steps towards better governance and welfare. The RJD’s Lalu Prasad Yadav and the LJP’s Ram Vilas Paswan seem to have been caught unawares by Kumar’s better governance and development agenda. The victory highlighted Kumar’s inclusive politics, and not the BJP’s sectarianism.
Rahul Gandhi’s efforts in the state were hobbled by the Congress’ lack of credible regional leaders capable of development and good administration. It’s time the Congress thought about the way it is built and run in the states. Though this “Landslide win places burden of expectation on Nitish Kumar” (Mint, 25 November), I’m sure Bihar will emerge as a developed state in the years to come.
-Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee
This is with reference to your story, “Centre to probe who leaked Radia tapes” (Mint, 30 November). The relief sought by Ratan Tata from the Supreme Court raises the question: Can a citizen who is asking for protection of the right to privacy be allowed to link his own reputation to that of the company he heads?
The tapes deal with corruption: How the key pillars of the state are being subverted by the powerful with vested interests. Don’t citizens have the right to know the details? The right to privacy is clearly overwhelmed by public interest. Rooting out corruption should be the only goal of government agencies when interception of private conversations is required.
-Deendayal M. Lulla