Elections look-ahead

BJP 2.0 is learning that political opportunism has it’s downsides (“Citizenship Bill row: Protestors wave black flags at PM Modi as he arrives in Assam”). The North East was their one small hope for 2019 but even that is now circling the drain. All their fair-weather friends seem ready to desert them and go back to regional politics in survival mode. This the direct consequence of a “grab power at any cost” attitude. A political alliance must be built on shared values in order to last. The current NDA is a strange animal that approves cow-protection vigilantes to carry out lynchings in the Hindi belt and throws their weight behind beef consumption during Kerala elections.

In the early Vajpayee days (before the scams hit), BJP was truly a ray of hope for Indian democracy. We finally had a party with internal democracy and also a vision for India (unlike the Left parties who do have democracy but their attitude to power is about as ambitious as a dog chasing a car).

The saddest consequence of Modi-Shah politics is the resurgence of the Congress dynasty. It had been thrown into the dustbin of history for good and now here it comes back again! The Indira Gandhi dynasty is a more sinister version of Modi-Shah autocracy. Our braindead media has a single narrative of Congress and BJP as the only alternatives to each other. An honest look at Indian political landscape shows that every political party (except perhaps the Left but that’s a different kind of monster) is relying on personality cult. Modi for BJP, Rahul/Priyanka for Congress, Kejriwal for AAP (sad state of affairs for a party that was built from ground up with people’s participation), and the numerous regional parties who cannot survive the passing of their leader (case in point: AIADMK).

The need of the hour is a political party or alliance that has true representation of the people – this means that such a party must be financed through people’s contributions and not corporate donations or feudal style hierarchies of corrupt leaders. Such a party should have internal elections to elect leaders with grass-root support to the top positions. (No individual must be above the party). And last but not the least, it should have a vision for the future of India and a plan to get there.

The media has an important role is nudging our society towards this change. Independent candidates with the right values and competence can be given more space in the media narrative. News stories about the small folks uniting against the corrupt powers must be given more visibility. We still have a few months until elections, small changes to the outcome can be effected even now. – Sony Jose

Aadhaar debate

For an entity that treats everyone as criminals or tax-evaders, the government’s own track record on transparency and accountability has been dismal in all aspects, starting from electoral bonds to unemployment data (“Linking Aadhaar with PAN card compulsory to file income tax returns, says Supreme Court”).

. The Aadhaar Act was passed in a big hurry as a money bill and though voluntary in principle, was made mandatory. This is injurious to data security and demonstrative of a government with scant regard to the welfare of its citizens.

The government announced that the first installment of Kisan Samman Nidhi, consisting of Rs 2,000, will not be Aadhaar-linked. So when it suits the government, Aadhaar is not essential (since it is in a hurry to appease voters) but in other cases it is, such as for paying Income Tax. This is governance by whims and statues, all bakwas and no vikas.

It’s sad to see the Supreme Court’s servitude in this matter. Instead of declaring Aadhaar unconstitutional it has legitimised this scourge, which has only caused misery. – Chitra Dinesh

Eye on CBI

There is nothing wrong in the dissent expressed by Mallikarjun Kharge over the selection of new CBI Director (“CBI: Centre appoints IPS officer Rishi Kumar Shukla new agency director”). Why should he go by the majority opinion of the selection panel? One cannot, however, take a dim view of Rishi Kumar Shukla, who was selected as CBI director by the majority opinion. Kharge is reported to have pushed for Javed Ahmad, former DGP of UP. Rishi Kumar Shukla and Javed Ahmad have one thing in common: both were spurned by the chief minisetrs of their respective states. The very fact that both survived scrutiny up to the final stage points to their merit to hold the post of CBI Director. Actually the state chief ministers should feel ashamed for their action in having shunting them out from the post of DGP.

But it is difficult to predict what awaits Rishi Kumar Shukla in the CBI. Kharge reportedly dissented his appointment on grounds of his lack of experience in the CBI and in corruption-related investigations. It will depend a lot on luck and diplomacy. – P Vijayachandra

Mamata vs Modi

It is true the investigation into the chit fund scams must be done (“Explained: The politics driving the Mamata Banerjee versus CBI stand-off in Kolkata”). But the Centre seems to be following a pattern, of intensifying CBI action against Opposition leaders before the elections. The selection of the new CBI director may have been the first step? – SN Iyer


From various discussion forums, it appears the investigation was not a court-monitored one (“Mamata Banerjee’s protest against CBI is ‘a disproportionate overreaction’, says Arun Jaitley”). The CBI was merely asked to look into the matter and did not have to report to the court. If this difference in concept of court monitored interpretation is correct – then is demeaning for an educated person who understands the law and has a way with words to indulge in such stories. – Amal Bhargav

Modi government

Please write something about the good things that the Modi government has done (“How India Votes: Does it matter what voters think of Modi government’s economic performance?”). Reading Scroll.in sometimes make me feel like Modi is an evil person who is trying bring India down. I am not a Modi supporter but I’m pretty sure he has done things that are good for the nation. How about something like GST. From what I have read in other news outlets, it has been a successful implementation of a very complicated tax system. Or the bankruptcy code. I am a huge fan of your journalism. Scroll.in stands for the citizens of our nation. I would like to read some positives of the Modi government.I am sure there are many who have similar requests. – Amal Bhargav

George Fernandes’s legacy

An era of struggle and giving a voice to the voiceless has ended with passing away of George Fernandes (“‘Fiery trade union leader, tireless crusader’: Tributes pour in for George Fernandes”). He was an institution and no institution is perfect and has its strengths and weaknesses. Most media coverage of his career has by and large criticised him for his silence on the 2002 riots and his support to BJP-led NDA government.

Survival is one of the primary attributes of not only every animal, including humans, but every society and perhaps nation as well. George and his ideology would have become irrelevant had he not aligned with the BJP. Perhaps Nitish Kumar would not have been around. What has happened to so many other socialists? They are all brilliant people but without voice. Collectively they can still make a difference.

I wonder if some will even remember Brij Mohan Toofan, a labour leader, a fiery speaker and author. Before Fernandes, he used to represent India in Socialist International. But he faded away because he lacked the survival instinct. Had he contested elections in 1977, he would have been counted as one of the great parliamentarians.

I am even reminded of Yamuna Prasad Shastri. He was no less a giant killer than Fernandes when he defeated Maharaja of Rewa. He introduced a path-breaking amendment of constitution for “Right to Work” in 1977. Nobody thinks of it even today. A heart broken Shastri ji left his long life associates and joined AITUC, a communist outfit. A kisan leader who didn’t have the skills to deal with modern-day politics.

Blind anti RSS stance by most of the socialists has made them irrelevant. So has been the case with Communists. The eclipse of Socialists and Communists, notwithstanding differences with their ideology and tactics, is a great loss to the Indian polity.

With apologies to my friends, I dare say that Socialists and Communists went on a self-destructive mode. I salute the fighting spirit of Fernandes and feel sorry that he was confined to bed-ridden in the eve of his life. There will not be another George. – Suresh Chander

Contempt case

The arguments in the article are lopsided and unduly critical of the government stand in the Supreme Court (“Contempt of court: Supreme Court should reject the vindictive petitions against Prashant Bhushan”). Prashant Bhushan in pursuit of his partisan and scurrilous arguments and ends keeps exceeding his limits. His case is fit for contempt of court proceedings and he should be punished or at the very least warned by the Supreme Court. – S Mohanram

Flight plan

The Air Chief Marshal did not say anything about the payment of Rs 15,700 crore due to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited from the defence forces (“IAF’s efforts to support HAL have affected our fighting capabilities, says Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa”). This shows that besides delayed supplies, money is also a one of the constraints for HAL and could also be one of the reasons for delay. Last month, HAL had to take a loan to pay the salaries to the employees.The Air Force has very recently again asked HAL to change the canopy of the Tejas. All this effects the delivery of aircraft, besides giving rise to arbitration disputes.

HAL is no doubt lagging behind in delivery but the reasons for that have to be studied by all concerned, including the Air Force. when the matter is analysed in detaik, the truth will come out and persons concerned can be made answerable for their laxity or alacrity, whatever it is. – SK Bakshi

Homecoming dreams

The exodus of Pandits is one of the biggest tragedies that Kashmir has ever witnessed (“Kashmir’s exiled Pandits don’t know what to go back to – even if they do eventually return”). Pandits were true Kashmiris and were proud of their identity. Before the insurgency in 1990s, Pandits offered there services in Kashmir with unswerving loyalty, unfaltering commitment and steely determination. But militancy flourished in Kashmir and Pandits had to leave their homes forever.

Kashmiri Muslims lost their Pandit neighbours, some lost school friends, others fellow employees. Kashmir’s peace and brotherhood vanished. Kashmir started to burn. Before the violence, Pandits would participate in Muslim festivals and in return, Muslims would wholeheartedly take part in Hindu celebrations.

Now, the Pandits have left Kashmir, but their memories are still alive. The younger generation urge their elders for stories about Pandits. I am one of them. I have heard about Pandits and their lives. It troubles me when I see their houses in shambles, looking haunted. I continue to pray for their safety and rehabilitation. Kashmir is their home and Kashmiris are waiting to receive them with an open heart.

But our Pandits have been betrayed by politicians and subjected to vicious, retrogade policies. Politicians make token gestures to earn brownie points but are not serious about their re-settlement in Kashmir. Kashmiri Pandits have been fobbed off with threadbare excuses not only by various state governments but also by the Centre. A detailed approach is needed, with top-level involvement, for their rehabilitation. The people are waiting, the Chinar is waiting and it’s time for return. – Owais Ah Shah

Loyola row

With all respect to the freedom of expression of the artist, as a North Indian devout Christian writer and human rights activist, I feel that the paintings are offensive to the religious sentiments of Hindus (“Chennai: Loyola College apologises after BJP, Hindutva outfits protest against art exhibition”). Loyola College is right to have must apologised for this unintentional mistake. – Joseph Anthony Gathia


I have not seen the paintings but I feel that the religious sentiments of any community should not be hurt. If a sensitive person like a painter cannot take care of the sentiments of others, then he is not a painter but a propagandist out to disturb communal harmony. – Amrit Rawal

Turning five

I would like to congratulate your entire team for achieving this milestone and many more to come (“As Scroll.in turns five, we take a look back – and forward”). There are many online independent news sources who help the youth of the country by providing them valuable facts and quality content. I like all your content, whether its The Daily Fix or the other daily articles. Your team is great in terms of content. But you need to work on the iPhone app. – Pramod Sajwan

R-Day guests

He is not your typical bourgeois ideologist who knows nothing about the real problems of the poor (“Republic Day chief guest Cyril Ramaphosa has failed to uphold civil rights – just like his host Modi”). I am sorry but the South African prime mister is doing his best. Try to pick on human rights violations elsewhere, like in the US, Saudi Arabia or Israel. You are a bundle of negativity and Modi should ignore you. You find fault with Modi in everything he does. As a tennis coach who knows what it takes to succeed, I know Modi has it in him. The naysayers and negative political pundits do not understand that Modi is the first prime minister to have pride in india. He has a vision. – Arun Jetli