Modi and the fake secularists
SIR, ~ Narendra Modi is not more communal than the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the RJD, indeed parties that openly appease the minorities for votes in secular India. Even the Trinamul Congress doles out welfare handouts to the minorities. It is a different matter that they are yet to be implemented.
The BJP&’s national executive meeting in Goa never passed a resolution naming Mr Modi as the party&’s prime ministerial candidate. Just as the conclave ignored LK Advani, so too has Ram Jethmalani been sidelined. The next Lok Sabha election will be a battle between fake secularists and parties that don’t appease the minorities.
Before calling for a federal front, Mamata Banerjee must clear the mess in her own backyard. Governance has failed and the series of court verdicts are a rap on the knuckles.
An election can neither be fair nor democratic unless an honest CBI, CEC, CVC, CIC and judiciary are in place.
yours, etc., tusar kanti kar, howrah, 14 june.
Churning of the system
SIR, ~ The churning of the political system is the striking feature of the scenario a year before the Lok Sabha elections. In the contest between the Congress-led UPA and the BJP-led NDA, the “secularists” will be pitted against the “communalists”. In order to make the race tougher still, the “secular” parties and like-minded groups should come together and unequivocally support the Congress.
  The Left should shed its opposition to the Congress for the sake of “secularism”.  Let the BJP find its own allies, whether at the regional or national level. Such a scenario would be a real test for those who proclaim themselves to be devoutly wedded to the cause of “secularism”. Otherwise, they will be labelled as pseudo-secularists.
yours, etc., jorhat singh, mumbai, 14 june.
Shoddy in the air
SIR, ~ While reading the letter, ‘On an AI flight’, written by Prof P. S. Ghoshdastidar on 3 June , I was reminded of our bitter and unforgettable experience with the national airline. My husband and I were scheduled to fly to Poland via Delhi and Frankfurt on 4 May 2011. About two weeks before our flight, the domestic sector of this airline was on strike. We were assured of alternative arrangements for the flight to Delhi ~ an internal flight. Unfortunately, it  was after an angry exchange of words that arrangements were made in Spicejet. Incidentally, like Professor Ghoshdastidar, we also felt that the airport complex resembled a fish market. The situation wasn’t so horrible even a couple of years ago.
Our flight to Frankfurt was scheduled to leave Delhi at 1 p.m., but there was no announcement. When two hours had passed in waiting, we got worried about missing the connecting flight from Frankfurt by Lotto Airline.
We were curtly told by the staff that in case of a miss, the Air India team in Frankfurt would take care of our accommodation for the night and arrange the next day&’s flight to Warsaw.
Finally, when boarding started, we found that the delay was manipulated to accommodate a few foreign tourists returning from Nepal. This was a pathetic display of appeasement by the national carrier.
On board, we estimated that we would have about half hour&’s time for the next flight. But on landing at Frankfurt, we were shocked to hear a Polish staff informing us that our tickets for the next flight had been cancelled by Air India and that we were booked for the next day&’s flight. There was no explanation as to why this was  done.
There was no Air India representative to take care of us. Realizing that our entire booking and itinerary were going to be ruined, we appealed to the higher authorities of Lotto Airline, and to our great relief, we were finally allowed to board the plane.
yours, etc. urmila bhattacharya, (iit campus, kharagpur), 14 june.
Bengal and the crime-chart
SIR, ~  This refers to the report, “Crimes against women: State contests NCRB” (12 June). According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, West Bengal has topped the chart on crime against women. And the irony is that the state is ruled by a woman chief minister. The claim by the  Director-General of Police, Mr Naparajit Mukherjee, that “rape and other heinous crimes have come down considerably in the state” is a cruel joke. He has only juggled with statistics and the NCRB&’s report is justified.
Chief Secretary, Sanjay Mitra&’s reference to the Barasat gangrape and the assault on TV reporters at Barrackpore as “stray incidents” is outrageous. He has echoed the standard response of the Chief Minister only to please her. According to NCRB figures, Kolkata is the “third most unsafe metropolis for women”, next only to Delhi and Bangalore. Yet the state government denies reality, exemplified by crib-deaths, suicide by farmers, and vandalism in educational institutions. In due course of time, Kolkata might move up to the top slot in the national crime chart.
yours, etc., s s paul, chakdaha, 13 june.