Editorial

The courtship between the Congress and the CPI-M has ended. Both parties have decided to go their own ways. This became a foregone conclusion when the CPI-M unilaterally announced its candidates for 25 Lok Sabha seats, leaving 17 to the Congress in a “take-it-or-leave it” condescension. It was too much for the Grand Old Party. It was left with no other alternative to going it alone. Which of the two parties is likely to be more hurt by this parting?  The CPI-M has taken the strange position that TMC and BJP are two faces of the same coin, that...

The Official Secrets Act of 1923 was an abominable piece of legislation enacted by the British colonial government to muzzle the nationalist press which was then very much a part of the country’s freedom movement. It should have been removed from the statute book immediately after independence. That it was not, shows that the ‘nationalist’ government that came to power was also in favour of retaining the law to keep a critical Press under the Damocles’ sword of OSA. Today, the same law is being sought to be used by the BJP Government against...

It is good news for West Bengal that natural gas has been found in the Raniganj area and the Essar Group of Industries is prospecting for exploration. The company’s preliminary estimate is that there is a reserve of at least 1.5 trillion cubic feet (tct) of recoverable shale gas at the Raniganj block. The exploration and extraction of the gas will demand invest of $ 1 billion. Shale gas can be used not only for power generation but also as cooking gas for domestic use. If the gas can be successfully prospected it will be quite possible to...

Amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan, Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa had, on Wednesday, said that IAF airstrike on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camps in Pakistan would help secure seats for the party in the upcoming Lok Sabha election. Karnataka BJP leader B. S. Yeddyurappa is a simple soul. Despite being in politics for a long time he has not acquired the sophistication essential for a politician and often commites faux pas. His latest remark that helped Pakistan no end was that the IAF strikes at terror camps in Pakistan...

Dictators do not recognize any fundamental right of the citizens, including the right to privacy. But democracies hold privacy as an inviolable fundamental right. But in the present-day world, even democracies are tending to curb, limit or deny the right to privacy on the specious plea that right to privacy can be curtailed, even denied, in the interest of national security. National security or national interest has no universally accepted definition. What the ruling party of the day perceives to be of national interest is accepted as...

Widespread violence has broken out in the quiet north-eastern State of Arunachal Pradesh bordering China in the last few days. The objection of the Arunachalis is the Centre’s step to grant Permanent Resident Certificates (PRC) to six communities in Arunachal which are recognized as Scheduled Tribes in neighbouring Assam. These tribes are Deoris, Sonowal Kacharis, Morans, Adivasis, Mishing and Gorkhas. Already, two persons have died in police firing. The Deputy Chief Minister’s residence has been set fire to. The Centre’s decision to grant...

It is time that some sobriety and sober-thinking got the better of the wave of hyper-nationalism that has deluged the country, post-Pulwama. All right-thinking people believe that sports and politics should be kept separate and never be mixed up. But that has happened many times in the past whenever Indo-Pak relations got extremely embittered. It is once again happening now. India wants to isolate Pakistan for its sponsoring of terrorism and terrorist organizations like the Jaish-e-Moahmmed which are constantly attacking and killing members of...

The BJP and the Shiv Sena have at last buried the hatchet and arrived at a seat-sharing arrangement for the Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra. The Sena had been openly critical of the BJP for quite some time and at one time it hinted th at it might go it alone in the polls. But the Congress-NCP alliance has thrown a challenge to both the parties. The Congress under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership has suddenly become very aggressive. An alliance struck between him and Sharad Pawar had forced the two to come together in mutual interest. For the Lok Sabha...

That the Pakistan army and the terror machinery it has created are bent on targeting India in spite of the chorus of condemnation by the comity of nations after the Pulwama attack of February 14 and even the threat of an imminent military retaliation by India will not deter Pakistan from its destructive course is now clear. Monday again saw another attack at the same Pulwama in Kashmir by the same Jaish-e-eMohammed terrorists who killed four Indian military personnel including an army Major. Pakistan is in fact cocking a snook at India. The...

The BJP could not gracefully accept defeat in the Karnataka Assembly elections. Ever since the Congress outwitted the saffron party by forming a government with the Janata Dal (Secular), efforts were made to topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition. There were allegations that the BJP had offered huge sums of money to suborn the loyalty of some Congress and JD(S) legislators. The BJP vehemently denied such allegations but it was put on the back foot when Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy released audio tapes that purportedly recorded conversation...

The sixteenth Lok Sabha held its last session on Wednesday, not in an atmosphere of bonhomie but sounding the bugle of the battle ahead. The afternoon saw a galaxy of opposition leaders at the AAP-organized dharna manch at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi calling on the people to throw out the Modi Government in the coming elections. There were also day-long controversy between the BJP and the Congress over the just released repor of the CAG on the purchase of the Rafale deal. While Finance Minister Arun Jaitley claimed earlier in the day that the...

The terrorists struck again in Kashmir on Thursday. In one of the most heavily guarded highways in Pulwama, some twenty kilometres south of Srinagar, they attacked a convoy of CRPF vehicles. Over 40 CRPF jawans were killed, some sixty were injured,                                                                                                          about fifteen of them critically. Authorities suspect the involvement of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in the attack. This insensate violence will not bring the “Kashmir problem” anywhere near a...

The shooting down of a Trinamool Congress legislator at a crowded public function in Nadia district is a foretaste of what is going to happen when the election campaign picks up tempo. The police suspect that there were several people in the gang. That they dared to shoot the TMC MLA from such a close range and could quietly vanish into thin air, as it were, indicates the ramifications of the conspiracy and how well planned it was.  Close on the Nadia incident, another TMC MLA has been murdered. He is the Trinamool legislator from East Kanthi...

Over a hundred people have died after taking spurious liquor in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The largest number of deaths happened in UP. The State Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has said that what has happened is “unfortunate.” It may be recalled that when police Sub-Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was murdered with his own revolver at Bulandshahr by an irate mob, the CM had called it an “accident”. This shows an insensitivity that has now come to be associated with the bigwigs of the party. What nobody in the administration wants to admit is...

All government agencies, whether Central or State, are supposed to work in a professional way and with total impartiality. Political parties should not involve them to settle scores with each other. However, the opposition complains that the way some of these agencies, like the CBI, the ED, the Income-tax Department, etc, have been used by the Centre smacks of political vendetta. As a retaliation, where any opposition party is in power, it is targeting people perceived to be close to the ruling party at the Centre. Worse still, sometimes it...

The Rafale issue is slowly snowballing into a big controversy that will be one of the major issues the opposition will highlight during the election campaign. How much the Government may be trying to pass it off as an ordinary commercial transaction in which nothing irregular has taken place, one uncomfortable fact after another is coming to the public domain almost every day, to the discomfort and chagrin of the ruling party. To blunt the opposition propaganda on Rafale, the Government will have to give satisfactory answers to three questions...

Ever since she came to power in 2011, one of the major aims of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was to revive industries in the State. During the three and a half decades of Left Front rule, militant trade unionism drove out many industries. The State that was once ahead of many other States in industries saw the gradual dystrophy of industrial growth. To speed up the industrialization of Bengal she has visited several European countries, met prominent industrialists at home and regularly held business summits. But the response of prospective...

The Congress Government in Madhya Pradesh has invoked the National Security Act to book three alleged cow slaughterers in the communally sensitive Khandwa region. Invoking an anti-democratic law like the NSA to deal with alleged cow killers is nothing but an attempt to keep the cow enthusiasts and cow vigilantes in good humour. This is against the avowed stand of the Congress. For about a year or so, the Congress leadership was showing an inclination to resort to soft Hindutva, apparently to blunt the edge of attack of the champions of hard...

The controversy that was so long raging over the entry of women between 10 and 50 in the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala may now be resolved as the Devaswom Board has agreed to the entry of women into the temple. Devaswom in Malayali means the Property of God. The Devaswom Board is a socio-religious trust that has nominees of both the government and the community. It manages Hindu temples and trusts. The Sabarimala temple is managed by the Travancore Devaswom Board. It has suddenly agreed to the entry of women of all ages. Its spokesmen have said...

The Centre announced a number of sops for the salaried middle class and the farmers in the budget. Since then a high voltage propaganda blitz has been unleashed by the BJP, mainly through a docile media, about the relief the Government has sought to give the urban middle class and the small and marginal farmers. Opinion surveys carried out among sections of both classes of the people brought out the fact that by and large, the targeted people are unappreciative of what has been given them. Live interviews with farmers about the supposed...

Domestic politics has heated up so much in recent times in our country that public interest in political developments in our neighbourhood has waned. President Trump’s decision to halve US troop strength in Afghanistan from 14,000 to 7,000 has practically gone unnoticed. The Taliban is now being wooed by both the US and Russia. Both countries are engaged with the Taliban to strike a peace deal.  This directly affects India and heightens India’s security problem. The Taliban is a creation of the Pakistan army and the ISI. How much influence it...

What was so long going on as a conflict between the State and the Centre, or between Mamata and Modi, has now turned into an open and no holds barred confrontation between the two. Carloads of CBI officers appeared out of the blue and made straight for the residence of the Commissioner of Police (CP), Kolkata on a quiet Sunday evening and tried to barge in. What happened next is known to all. Even if it is assumed that the CBI had sent several summonses to the CP and the CP had chosen to ignore them, it is highly unusual for so many CBI men to...

The Metro Railway has become a major mode of passenger traffic in Kolkata. A number of new schemes are under execution which will widen the underground railway network in the next couple of years or so. In other words, more and more passengers who now travel by bus will switch over to the Metro as it is a much faster mode of transport. Ensuring safety for this rising number of passengers thus becomes a matter of top priority. Recently, several ‘accidents’ of fire and smoke engulfing Metro rakes have taken place. Each time the authorities...

The Constitution makes India a Union of States. The Constitution also defines the jurisdiction of the States and the Centre under the Union List, the State List and the Concurrent List. It was implicit in the constitutional arrangement that the Centre and the States would function harmoniously. For the first few decades after the Constitution came into force there was hardly any conflict between the Centre and the States because the same party was in power in both the Centre and the States. The situation started changing in the nineteen...

The Union Government’s interim budget was placed by the acting Finance Minister Piyush Goel in Parliament on Friday. The most remarkable feature of this budget is that a series of tax exemptions and other sops have been announced, especially for the salaried middle class and farmers. These will reduce the revenue of the Government. But Goel has not – he could not have – indicated the sources from which these revenue losses will be made up for. He could not do it because that would have meant making tax proposals which he could not do. But the...