The new governments condescending offer of a debate on Article 370 came sooner than expected. The tearing hurry in reviving an issue people feel strongly about took the observers unawares. J&K chief minister Omar Abdullahs tweet that long after Modi government is a distant memory either J&K wont be part of India or Article 370 will still exist put the Valleys reaction so succinctly. Given its far-reaching implications and consequences, the abrogation of Article 370 is easily said than done. The people of Kashmir will resist the move with all the strength, as the Valley has its distinct identity Kashmiriat. By contemplating a move that may nullify the very basis for the Kashmir Valleys continued being as an integral part of India, the government will unwittingly reopen J&Ks accession with India and the territorial claims to the disputed territory. Instead of making noises, emboldened by a clear majority in the Lok Sabha, about revoking Article 370 that acts as a bridge between Kashmir and the rest of India by virtue of the special status it gives to the Valley, the BJP government will do better to try and win the hearts and minds of the disaffected Kashmiris.
G David Milton
Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
With the BJP in power, it seems that the bureaucracy is becoming more corporate-friendly. It has advised the new environment minister Prakash Javadekar to lift the ban on mining in forests and moratorium on new factories in heavily polluted industrial areas. Do the bureaucrats want to accelerate the pace of environmental destruction The new aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju is in no hurry to privatise Air India, which has always been caught in air turbulence. The ministers, politicians and bureaucrats would only be happy to stall any move to privatise the white elephant. And the airlines employees have always resisted the move. All these parties have been enjoying their joyrides and pleasure trips on the airline, at public cost. In fact, the employees have contributed a major share to the decline of Air India. Come what may, the airline has to be rescued.
The 100-day agenda, set to his ministers by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the activities that will take off from there will keep them busy for most of the time in their term of five years. The ministers can work in competitive spirit. Agenda for every 100 days is a very good concept. We have heard ministers setting their agenda for 20 or 25 years even though their term expires after the completion of five years. It means they expect the electorate to keep them in saddle for 20-25 years. Modi has been showing the right direction to his ministerial colleagues. We expect good performance from him and, in turn, he expects and is willing to extract good performance from his ministers.
Well begun is half done
At a time when the country very badly needed a strong leader, Narendra Modi, who has admitted that Indira Gandhi is one of his role models, has taken the reigns of our country. It is really heartening that taking the cue from the massive mandate the people have given to him evidencing an unassailable faith reposed in his leadership, Modi has started asserting himself right from day one. If the selection of his ministers endorses this, the secrecy maintained by him about the names and portfolio allocations of his ministerial colleagues evidences the stance of the Prime Minister. One hopes Modi continues to be the same and does not get bogged down by the dictates of organisations like the RSS or the VHP and keeps a right distance with some of the divisive communal elements in his party. We expect the Prime Minister to concentrate only on the developmental activities and the peace-building exercise with all our neighbouring nations which he has started in right earnest.