A press conference on behalf of Sonia
SIR, Mr Manmohan Singh&’s swipe at Narendra Modi is reminiscent of his criticism of LK Advani during the campaign for the Lok Sabha elections of 2009. This habit of running down Opposition leaders does not behove a Prime Minister. The third media press conference was craftily arranged by Sonia Gandhi to buttress the prospects of the crown prince, to undercut the influence of Modi, and to continue with dynastic rule. It was she who prompted him to announce that he would hand over the baton to a new Prime Minister after the general election. The Information and Broadcasting Minister was present at the press conference to ensure that there was no deviation from Sonia&’s script while replying to questions. The Prime Minister is acutely aware that Modi had masterminded the massacre on the streets of Ahmedabad in 2002, but he  never reacted to the killing of Sikhs  in 1984.
Mr Singh has managed to convey the impression that he is a  meek and weak Prime Minister who has never been able to unshackle himself from Sonia&’s influence. He has served as her mouthpiece. He has lost his power to take decisions. He lost his zeal for reforms as he watched the Congress president imposing schemes that the exchequer could hardly bear. It was all too apparent that the Congress party and the UPA Government were not on the same page. There seems to be a hairline rift between the Prime Minister and the Congress president. His statement on Rahul sounded like a sycophantic chant ~ “Rahul Gandhi has outstanding credentials to be the PM candidate”
Yours, etc., Samares
Kolkata, 6 January.
SIR, The West Bengal government appears to have adopted a policy of protecting rapists and  pliant police officers. At another remove, the conscientious ones are victimised. This is exemplified by the transfer of Damayanti Sen after the Park Street rape, of the former Police Commissioner, RK Pachnanda, for arresting a Trinamul councillor in Garden Reach, and Jayaraman, the Siliguri IG for arresting the District Magistrate of Malda. Many of the rapists are Trinamul activists or sympathisers; if they are arrested, it can be a loss of face for the party.
No wonder these criminals feel emboldened whether it is Park Street, Katwa, Kamduni, Kharjuna in Murshidabad, or Madhyamgram. The sordid story is the same. West Bengal is now totally unsafe for young women, all right- thinking people, and that section of the police that is intent on doing its duty.
Yours, etc., Anil Kumar Choudhury,
Kalyani, 6 January.
SIR, This refers to the report “Ganguly quits NUJS post” (4 January). The former Supreme Court judge, AK Ganguly, accused of committing an “act of unwelcome behaviour” and “conduct of sexual nature” towards a woman law intern, has resigned from the guest faculty of NUJS. However, he has “not decided on his resignation” from the post of chairperson of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission. Last Thursday, the Union Cabinet cleared a note seeking presidential reference to the Supreme Court.
The UK-educated doctor, M Padma Narayan Singh, a pro-Ganguly PIL petitioner, has lent a fresh spin by alleging that the conspiracy was hatched by Mohun Bagan club. “In this well-planned conspiracy against Justice Ganguly,  Mohun Bagan has used the female intern who had prepared the case report on a matter of arbitration between Mohun Bagan and the All India Football Federation in New Delhi in December 2012. AIFF also corroborates the said conspiracy,” Mr Singh said.
He has sought a direction from the court to restrain the government from taking any action against Justice Ganguly, who had suspended Mohun Bagan for walking out of a football league match against East Bengal. The All India Football Federation subsequently revoked Mohun Bagan&’s suspension but imposed a fine of Rs 2 crore.
Yours, etc.,  SS Paul,
Chakdaha, 4 January.
SIR, By all counts, the ongoing Ashes series is going exactly the same way as the one played Down Under during the 1958-59 season. On that occasion, the seemingly invincible English team led by Peter May was defeated 4-0 by the young Australian squad, led by Richie Benaud. The batting order boasted Lindwall, Davidson, McKeiff and Rorke as the top scorers. Five and half decades later, the new-age triad of  Johnson, Harris and Siddle, have brought the Pommies to a stage where they are facing the prospect of an ignominious 5-0 washout.
Yours, etc., Arun Malankar,
Mumbai, 4 January.
SIR, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a disgrace to the valiant Sikh community. During the 1984 riots, the Congress supporters had killed thousands of innocent Sikhs, and yet he wants Rahul Gandhi to be the next PM. In contrast, Mr Narendra Modi is condemned for the Gujarat riots. Syed Mujtaba Ali once said, “The pundits have all the good qualities except one. They are big fools.” This applies to Mr Singh and  Amartya Sen, both world renowned economists.
Yours, etc., Shyamal Chakrabarti,
IIT, Kharagpur, 5 January.