LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (19/01/2021)

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Ribandar’s Cry For Health Centre

THERE has been discontent among the people of  Ribandar over the failure of local MLA Antanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to set up the promised health care centre at the Old Ribandar hospital. The setting up of the centre has already been approved by Health Minister Vishwajit Rane. The people  knocked the doors of every authority for the last three months.  And  after patiently waiting all these months they have given a 10-day ultimatum to the government to decide on setting up the health centre or face the public ire from January 26. It is also regrettable that Union AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik, despite being a resident of Ribandar, wants to set up a Yoga centre at the Old Ribandar hospital while knowing very well that the most urgent need of the hour is a fully-fledged health centre to cater to medical needs of the densely-populated Ribandar and the people of neighbouring Chimbel, Merces, Old Goa besides Sao Matias and Goltim-Navelim in Divar. Medical facilities have been a longstanding demand of the people of Ribandar over the years. While the state government is needlessly fast tracking unneeded projects opposed by the public, it is not setting up of the much needed  health centre despite it being a unanimous demand of everyone. It is high time politicians stopped from taking people for a ride.   

AIRES RODRIGUES, RIBANDAR

‘Cultural Nationalism’ Runs Counter To Constitution

THE secularism embedded in our Constitution is sought to be openly and aggressively replaced with Hindutva narrative. The RSS has moved to the political centre stage  backing its political wing the BJP; and with people holding top constitutional posts toeing the government’s line, the beauty and diversity of our nation is badly polarised. There has been  acceptance of BJP’s own brand of nationalism by  a lapdog media. India has moved from ‘constitutional  nationalism’ with unity in diversity to unipolar ‘cultural nationalism’: Hindu Right-wing groups dominate  politics and government. Supreme Court’s reluctance to come into conflict with a determined government and its apparent failure to be the guardian of the Constitution even after vigilantism, unconstitutional laws like Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the ‘love jihad’ ordinance being misused reflects the alignment of Hinduism with national pride. Laws and rules are being coloured accordingly;  even documentary films or books are in danger of being banned. In a democracy, when people are jailed for criticism or for humour, a resultant humourless, intolerant, unicoloured-viewed nation will lower our gross domestic happiness to comparatively drab and boring tunnel vision levels. This will  not augur well for unity in diversity or creativity, which many were free to propagate and for which the world envied and admired us!

JOHN ERIC GOMES, PORVORIM

Season Of Sour Grapes In Karnataka 

MOST of our legislators believe only a minister can do justice to the people. Being ambitious is no crime; but overambition may bring ‘glory’ to some but spoil the day for the rest. Karnataka Chief Minister  B S Yediyurappa, who took over 18 months ago, is not alien to dissent.  The fourth-time Chief Minister has seen it all during his long public life.  The ‘operation lotus’ saw 17  of the ruling coalition legislators switch sides enabling Yediyurappa to lead a BJP government. Every legislator who crossed to the BJP  must have ‘received’ much, and promised much more. Most of the ‘ambitious’ had already tasted power in the past; but clamour for perks and perquisites are not a prerogative of a selected few or the first-timers.   All the 17  who were poached from the Congress and the JD(S) were perhaps assured of ‘lal batti’ cars. The Chief Minister  tried his best to keep the dissidence at arm’s length after a long silence from the high command. At last, Yediyurappa was able to expand his cabinet by the inclusion of seven new members. One thought the Chief Minister  would be able to heave a sigh of relief. On the contrary, those who could not make it have come out all guns blazing against Yediyurappa, who  has been accused of succumbing to blackmail and threats. Some new ministers are his close confidants alright, but the Chief Minister  cannot make every legislator a minister. There is a cap on the number of ministers, but the disgruntled lot would have none of it.  Amidst all this, the ‘silent spectator’ attitude’  of the BJP high command is amusing.  Maybe it has let loose one leader against another, and let  Yediyurappa, not its  favourite,  bring his own downfall. However, what about the image of the party? The astute Chief Minister has asked the rebels to go to the high command to vent  their grievances out, instead of shouting against him in the open. He has hit the nail on the head because all said and done only the party high command can remove the Chief Minister. 

The BJP should send a message; it should not tolerate indiscipline in the party anymore.

GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA