Rahul can expect his
popularity to soar
This refers to “Rahul Gandhi conviction triggers political slugfest” (March 24).
It is rather surprising a day after he was convicted by the Surat Court in a 2019 criminal defamation case, Congress MP from Wayand, Kerala, Rahul Gandhi was disqualified from Lok Sabha in a rapid succession. This will be a rude shock for the Grand Old Party as the disqualification comes at a time when the party is appearing to gain drive in its offensive against the ruling BJP. The court has suspended his sentence for 30 days but not his conviction and granted him bail to enable him to move an appeal against its verdict.
Undoubtedly, Rahul has been on the receiving end of what the Congress maintains is a vicious attempt of vengeance. From an organised campaign to disparage, Rahul’s persona and political wisdom to as the recent, unwarranted controversy over his remarks in the UK showed the ruling party’s repeated attempts of projecting him as unpatriotic, the Congress leader has been subjected to a series of challenges.
Nonetheless, the disqualification and a possible jail term could work in favour of Rahul’s political career, if the Congress can turn this development to its advantage. If the Congress could succeed in narrating and projecting Rahul’s episode as the BJP’s political highhandedness, without attributing a motive or questioning the court’s verdict, the harsh light of public anger could fall on the ruling party. In the event the higher court reducing the sentences to less than two years, and if he spends time in jail, Rahul can expect his popularity to soar at BJP’s harsh punishment to him.
Gregory Fernandes, Marcel
has sunk in country
It does not lend any credit to India’s democracy that the country’s most prominent Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified from parliament for an offence which in normal discourse would not be considered important enough to invite such a serious punitive response from the system. It would lower the stature and credibility of the system and push the country into the ranks of authoritarian regimes that hound Opposition leaders and critics and take out all legal wares and other means to silence them and to ensure that they do not participate in the political process.
Rahul Gandhi’s comment made from a public forum was in poor taste and it reflected the low levels to which political discourse has sunk in the country. All politicians, including the Prime Minister, are guilty of lowering the standards of public discourse. But some are picked out, picked up and made to pay a price. The defamation verdict and the disqualification will be used by the BJP as one more weapon to escalate its attacks on Gandhi as he has emerged as the most consistent and strident critic of the government, the BJP and Modi.
In the present circumstance, he will not be able to contest the 2024 elections if he does not get a reprieve from the courts. Imagine the largest democracy in the world, which the Prime Minister claims to be the ‘mother of democracy’, going to elections with its most important Opposition leader in jail and unable to contest for a remark he made targeting the Prime Minister during an election rally speech. Such a thing happens only in authoritarian countries. Are we taking lessons in democracy from Putin’s Russia or some banana republic?
N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru
Is this a well planned strategy?
Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi has been hurriedly disqualified as Lok Sabha MP from his Wayanad seat, Kerala after being convicted by a Surat Court in a defamation case for allegedly making some defamatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a political rally at Karnataka in 2019.
Well, it looks like a well-planned strategy right in advance to somehow teach Rahul Gandhi a hard lesson for repeatedly embarrassing the government directly over the Adani issue in the ongoing Parliament session and also for exposing all it's misdeeds during his recent visit in the UK.
Rahul Gandhi had indeed become a thorn in the flesh for the government as he alone used to frequently dare to question the government over a variety of issues with a lot of guts over the years in India.
Jerry Fernandes, Saligao
in every village
The Honourable Supreme Court in its recent judgement said “There cannot be any school without a playground”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all out promoting sports in the country, launched the Khelo India program so that sports will be part of school curriculum and skilling.
The saying goes “All work and no play will make Jack a dull boy”. I totally disagree with our Chief Minister that playgrounds can wait, that skilling of our youth is the priority. Sports activities and studies (skilling) are two sides of the same coin. Goa is being promoted for land sharks to have a paradise on earth and any open space that children or school/clubs used for physical activities have been sold by the landowner to the highest bidder for building projects and the administration has been an alleged collaborator in such transactions.
Take the case of Siolim which once produced great footballers but till date we do not have a village playground for any school or village club. The Chief Minister was present for the Sankalp Sampurna Swasthya programme where it was stated that children between the age of 3 and 8 were facing hypertension and obesity problems and the reason cited by the expert was bad diet and no physical exercise.
Time the government provides more playgrounds in every village so that children can play and stay healthy.
Gregory E D’Souza, Siolim
Legalization of drugs
will create more addicts
A particular political party in the state has reportedly alleged that the Goa government intended to discreetly approve its proposal to legalise ganja despite criticism that it will further boost the drug menace in the coastal areas.
The party claimed that it came to know about the move through the Right to Information (RTI) application. It must be said that the idea of legalizing drugs is as bad as the addiction of drugs itself. Legalization means that a once-banned drug is made legal, under federal or state law. Legalizing drugs would increase their availability and normalize their use, leading to increased negative health consequences, particularly among young people. Removing the criminal sanctions against possession and distribution of illegal drugs would make them more available and attractive, creating number of new addicts. There would no longer be any legal reason to avoid drug use.
Illegal drugs increase crime, partly because some users turn to crime to pay for their habits and partly because some users are stimulated by certain drugs to act more violently. Instead of legalizing drugs, better treatment, education, and research are needed to curb dependency on drugs and the adverse health and social effects of drug use. Legalization would increase the number of drug users.
The adverse physical effects of drugs destroy families and cause drug abusers to engage in criminal activity. Legalization will also send a false message to children.
Adelmo Fernandes, Vasco
still on the run
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has thoroughly reprimanded the Punjab government for its intelligence failure. With Amritpal Singh, the radical Sikh preacher, still on the run, four people were apprehended by the police for aiding his escape.
Chief of Police Sukhchain Singh Gill reported that attempts are being made to capture the radical preacher. Meanwhile, the Punjab government invoked the National Security Act against the Sikh preacher.
N J Ravi Chander, Bengaluru