| PICTURE SPEAK |
| "Mandate for a New Bihar", December 5 |
"The acid test the new chief minister faces is whether he will be able to break free from the domination of caste and criminals in state politics."
Navneet Dhawan, Delhi
Vote for Change
The heady combination of caste and power politics in Bihar has taken its toll on the seemingly invincible Lalu Prasad Yadav and his kin ("Mandate for a New Bihar", December 5). The support of the Congress and the Left throughout his 15-year rule, despite poor governance, had made Lalu overconfident, which ultimately led to his downfall.
D. Manikyala Rao, Gudivada
The electoral verdict makes it clear that rabble rousers cannot always hoodwink the masses by arousing parochial casteist feelings and that the Muslim voter can discern the designs of pseudo-secularists. The perseverance and level-headedness displayed by JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar and the BJP have paid off.
Venkat Desikan, Chennai
The defeat of the UPA in the Bihar elections brings to the fore its failure to present a united front. The LJP fought against the UPA, and the CPI fought against its long-time ally, the CPI(M). UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi must take responsibility for the split in her alliance's votes. Despite all the problems and shortcomings, the NDA is a very strong alliance. The UPA must learn from it the art of coalition politics.
Kalyan Ghosh, Kolkata
The Election Commission (EC) deserves all the kudos for successfully conducting the polls in Bihar. The EC firmly stood its ground, instilling confidence in the voters. Restoration of the rule of law and economic development of the state are the two main challenges before the new Government. This could only be accomplished by rising above petty political interests. Both the victor and the vanquished ought to realise this if Bihar is to be brought back from the brink.
R.K. Sudan, on e-mail
Sonia and the CPI(M) have put the blame for the thrashing the UPA received in Bihar on the division in "secular" forces. The Congress and its allies have learnt nothing if they are hoping to win forever in the name of secularism. The Congress won a mere nine seats. The astute Bihar voter relegated Lalu to third position after the JD(U) and the BJP. The "communal" force beat him hollow this time. This election was not about secularism. It was about removing the corrupt, criminal and anti-development government.
Smitha Manian Kapoor, Bangalore
Nitish has inherited a crown of thorns. While the law and order situation in the state needs to be improved on a priority basis, other problems facing the state such as illiteracy, lack of sanitation, healthcare, safe drinking water, roads and electricity will also have to be taken care of. Unless these issues are dealt with properly, Bihar cannot attract investment and will forever remain backward. The state has immense potential for tourism and agriculture, and with Biharis performing well in the civil services and other competitive exams, it is time their potential was put to good use.
S. Balakrishnan, Jamshedpur
One can now coin a new slogan: "Bihar se gaya Lalu, samose mein rah gaya aalu aur Bihar ki janata ho gayee chaalu".
N. Nagarajan, Hyderabad
The assembly poll results should act as an eye-opener for the Congress. The party must revitalise itself at the grassroots level and have no truck with Lalu if it wants to have a presence in Bihar.
Pramod Srivastava, on e-mail
Discarded by Times
The results of the Bihar elections must have demolished the pretensions of sulking Shatrughan Sinha ("I am ready for the chief minister's job", November 28). His refusal to campaign for the NDA had no effect on the poll results. The attendance in the election meetings of film stars does not translate into votes. As a Rajya Sabha member, Sinha has never tested his popularity at polls like some other film stars.
M.M. Gurbaxani, Bangalore
A player should not be given a place in the team just because he is on the verge of creating a record ("The Trick or Treat Men", December 5). The selectors should not fall prey to the pressure of regional associations and board officials. By no standard are Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar in their best form. It will be a graceful gesture on their part if the two, along with Anil Kumble, sit out or announce their retirement from competitive cricket.
K. Venkataraman, Mumbai
Not many years ago, Mohinder Amarnath had described the selectors as a bunch of jokers. Perhaps rightly so. However, the same can be applied to the "fourth empires", who seem too eager to criticise a move that fails, like Irfan Pathan opening the innings at Eden Garden, and jubilantly praise the one which succeeds. Had Irfan hit a couple of boundaries, which he is quite capable of, the same bunch of "experts" would have declared unanimously that another great opener has been found for Team India.
Wing Commander (Retd) Ravi Bedi, Jodhpur
| OFF THE MARK |
A few political bigots and self-appointed moral police cannot hijack an individual's right to freedom of speech ("Spectacle of Bigotry", December 5).
J.V.V. Murthy, Coimbatore
Khushboo's statement that "no educated man will expect his bride to be a virgin" is questionable. Most people expect their partners to be virgins at the time of marriage.
T. Darmalingam, Chennai
An "embedded" local media war prodded by self-serving politicians has done greater damage to Tamil interests than what the actor is presumed to have caused.
Jinu Mathew, on e-mail
A Note of Caution
India may be getting jubilant over the increase of credit card sales, but its debt-based economy needs to be controlled cautiously ("How Long Will the Party Last", November 28). Otherwise, it may erupt as an economic tsunami.
T. Rangaswami, Maduraie
It is shameful that the Indian Government could not even establish contact with the abductors of Border Roads Organisation worker Maniappan Raman Kuttty in Afghanistan for five days after his disappearance, leave alone free him ("Dishonour Killing", December 5). The incident reminds one of the kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed, the daughter of Mufti Mohammed Syeed (then home minister) in 1989. Since she was the daughter of a prominent politician no stone was left unturned by the government for her release. I wonder if Kutty would have died a cheap death had he been a son of a prominent politician.
Gunjan Gaba, on e-mail
India's response to the threat posed by the Taliban should not be to scale down its engagement with Afghanistan but to enhance its cooperation. We have a stake in peace.
Reenu Sikand, Bhopal
Bordering on Trouble
The Belgaum episode is a reflection of what is happening in the rest of Karnataka ("Bedlam at the Border", December 5). The north Karnataka district has always had Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti members in the Assembly who never miss an opportunity to shout Marathi slogans in the House. Civic bodies, steeped in corruption, have gone bankrupt and their netas cannot hope to come to power on the claims of performance.
J. Akshobhya, Mysore
The affluence that we have been witnessing is not something to be frowned at or feel ashamed of ("Signs of the Times", December 5). Individual growth and private initiative cannot be chained for long with obsolete ideologies. Big money earned through hard work and honest means will not be spent in an ugly manner. Let live music, expensive wines and exotic cuisine reach each of our honest citizens. That will be true egalitarianism.
T.S. Pattabhi Raman, Coimbatore