| PICTURE SPEAK |
| "Redefining Himself", January 16 |
"L.K. Advani's fault was that he was in a hurry to show the world that he is a capable prime minister-in-waiting."
A. Jacob Sahayam, Thiruvananthapuram
BJP leader L.K. Advani's track record both as a politician and as an individual stands out from many of his contemporaries in Indian politics ("Makeover Man", January 16). He has endeavoured to give a new course to events, which is a rarity among politicians, who prefer flowing with the current. He always took a principled stand amid controversies and stood his ground like in the recent and the most turbulent spat with the RSS over his remarks on M.A. Jinnah. Advani's political career should not be judged only on the basis of the Ayodhya and Jinnah issues. He certainly deserves a fair deal.
R.K. Sudan, on e-mail
I am not impressed by India Today's portrayal of Advani. His decision to step down was neither voluntary nor did it come at a time when he was at the pinnacle as party president. He had no option but to step down because of constant pressure from the RSS and his rivals. His single remark on Jinnah being secular has earned him the reputation of having his own mind. Had he resigned in the face of protests against this remark, it would have improved his image. Now he is like any other politician.
Anusha Singh, Delhi
Advani may have his bitterest critics, but the fact remains that he is one of our most decent, dignified and gentle politicians. It is true many of his opinions are debatable and his politics has been controversial. It is equally true that he is one of the finest liberals ever to have stridden in the field of Indian politics. Unfortunately, he is also the most misunderstood politician after the legendary Rajaji. All sane human beings try to evolve with time and that is what Advani tried to do through his remarks on Jinnah, but, sadly, our nation lacked the maturity to grasp the essence of it.
T.S. Pattabhi Raman, Coimbatore
Advani's stand on Jinnah in Pakistan in June 2005 made him the newsmaker of 2005. Did his roots there influence him to do so? Whatever the reason, his move was surely a headline grabber.
K. Chidanand Kumar, Bangalore
I fully agree with Advani that the BJP has lost a golden opportunity to redirect itself. It could have exploited his remarks on Jinnah to expose the Congress' hypocrisy. The attempts by the Congress to uplift minorities through controversial means like reservation may polarise the country on religious lines.
Nirvair Singh, Patiala
Advani's attempts at redefining himself have been thoughtless. He began his tryst with secularism by praising Jinnah instead of the Indian secular ethos. At a time when the BJP is riddled with internal problems, he aspires for the post of prime minister rather than strategising on how to bring his party back to power.
Navneet Dhawan, Delhi
The irony of the Jinnah episode is that Advani did win the trust of the people in Pakistan and India to an extent, but lost that of his own partymen.
Sameer Ahmad Hashmi, Bangalore
After his Jinnah sermon, we have recognised in Advani a "leader" who indulges in flattery to deceive people. Atal Bihari Vajpayee is another one in the long list of deceivers.
Raju Sreenivasan Aiyer, Delhi
| TROUBLE TALK |
The ease with which the phone tapping was carried out raises the question of not only Amar Singh's right to privacy as an MP, but also of national security ("Tapping Trouble", January 16).
J. Akshay, Secunderabad
Amar Singh is an expert in creating a mountain out of a molehill. The whole episode is nothing but a ploy by him to gain publicity and discredit political adversaries.
Divya Roy, Delhi
If it was really done at the behest of the Congress, it would mark a new low in its ethical standards.
Revathi Aiyar, Hyderabad
"Crown of thorns" aptly describes the position of the BJP's new President, Rajnath Singh ("First Among Equals", January 16). The BJP could neither bring Ram Rajya nor build Ram mandir during its regime. However, its leaders have been successful in creating a Mahabharat in the party by playing Ramlila started by Vajpayee when the former prime minister crowned Pramod Mahajan, not Rajnath, as the Laxman.
Madhu Agrawal, Delhi
The image of the BJP is poised for a positive change under the leadership of Rajnath. The party should desist from taking up issues like the Ram janmabhoomi to placate the rss.
K.V. Raghuram, Wayanad
The biggest challenge Rajnath faces is from the overambitious people in his own party. But he has the advantage of having taken over as party president at a time when his predecessors have failed to deliver. If he can keep the RSS and the power duo, Advani and Vajpayee, on his side, it would be easier for him to sail through.
Vaishali Gupta, Mumbai
The attack at IISC indicate that terrorists have expanded their area of operation to the south ("Terror in Technopolis", January 16). It is obvious that no particular person was targeted. The aim, it seems, was to shake the scientific community and throttle the country's economic progress. Bangalore was chosen for the reason that it is the hub of science and technology. There is no option but to take the strictest of security measures to defeat the terrorists' motives.
H.R. Bapu Satyanarayana, Mysore
After attacks like the one at IISC in Bangalore, one cannot feel completely safe even with the security measures in place. A better way to counter terrorism is to remove it from the roots. Terrorists cannot enter India and launch attacks without the help of local people.
Sidhartha Barik, Rajkot
Even the best of efforts cannot prevent all terrorist attacks, especially when the perpetrators are a fanatical lot. Criticism, however, is warranted when terrorists get away with murder because of inadequate security arrangements as was the case in the IISC attack. If anything, the Government's soft stand on terrorism, stemming from its vote-bank politics and highlighted by its revocation of POTA, is encouraging terrorists and demoralising law-enforcing agencies.
J. Akshobhya, Mysore
Promise of a Spectacle
The India-Pakistan cricket series is undoubtedly going to be one of the most exciting sporting events of this year, especially with a new skipper-coach duo at the helm of affairs, a supposedly "reformed" Shoaib Akhtar and the "perennially at war" Sourav Ganguly supporters and baiters spicing up the spectacle ("Forward Strides", January 16).
Jinu Mathew, on e-mail
In reviewing the UPA Government's performance why have you overlooked the pathetic performance of the prime minister who kowtowed to the whims of the Left parties ("Roller Coaster", January 9)? If the Left said go slow on disinvestment, he stopped it altogether.
R.P. Desai, on e-mail
The year 2005 was indeed one of ordinary stars ("Ordinary Celebrity", January 9). From Indian Idol Abhijeet Sawant to laughter champion Sunil Pal, people about whom one had not even heard of earlier became celebrities being chased by TV cameras. In this respect, the media wasthe biggest newsmaker of the year.
Sameer Upadhyay, Kolkata