Sir — The fact that Mamata Banerjee’s party, the Trinamul Congress, has won the Bengal elections for the third successive term speaks volumes about the political strength that Banerjee has mustered in her two terms as chief minister (“Third chance”, May 3). Even with eight phases of polls, Banerjee has ensured a win for her party, campaigning with an injured leg against all the stalwarts in the Opposition.
This is indeed a massive victory. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party won 18 of the 42 seats in Bengal. This time, by orchestrating defections from the TMC at the last moment, the BJP had become over-confident. Although it cannot be denied that the saffron party has now made inroads into Bengal, the final mandate of the people is clear. The same can be said of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s win in Tamil Nadu. The anti-incumbency factor played a role both in this state and in Puducherry, while in Bengal, Kerala and Assam the ruling dispensations had an edge over the Opposition.
It must also be noted that the coronavirus has wreaked havoc in the five regions where the recent elections were held. The newly elected governments of the respective states and Union territory should take steps to curb the pandemic immediately, besides inoculating all of the electorate.
The Election Commission should be lauded for holding the polls in a free and fair manner. But in the future, it should try to conduct the elections over a shorter duration of time. Prolonging elections leads to a cumbersome exercise and a waste of money from the public exchequer. This time, it has also contributed to the spread of the virus.
Sir — The result of the assembly polls proves that the people of West Bengal really love Mamata Banerjee, the TMC supremo. A number of heavyweight candidates of her own party betrayed her, but Banerjee did not lose courage. With the help of the remaining leaders, she fought against them as well as against BJP leaders, including Union ministers, who tried their best to unseat her. They campaigned across districts and made great promises at rallies. But to no avail. The people of Bengal have shown that Bengal truly wants its own daughter back.
Ramnagar, East Burdwan
Sir — Mamata Banerjee and her party must be congratulated for the stellar performance at the Bengal polls. But the role of the voters of Bengal is more laudable. The citizens have, by voting in large numbers for the TMC, prevented the BJP, with its tall talk and money power, from capturing Bengal. Now the TMC must live up to the expectations of the people of Bengal, and work for the common good.
Sir — The editorial, “Flawed design” (April 30), has rightly criticized the government for its decision to carry on with the Central Vista project, declaring it an ‘essential service’ to circumvent the restrictions imposed in the national capital, which is reeling under the devastating impact of the pandemic.
The idea of the construction of the Central Vista to accommodate the Parliament building and the prime minister’s residence, among other edifices, at a massive cost, when the existing structures are in good health, was faulty ab initio. If the buildings needed repair, that could have been arranged. The argument that the Vista will augment larger sitting capacity for parliamentarians sounds thin: many seats in both houses of Parliament, while they are in session, often remain empty.
India is a poor country. In large cities, including Calcutta, many people live on pavements. A number of Indians do not have roofs over their heads. In such a scenario, spending large sums of public money to satisfy the whims of politicians amounts to cardinal sin.
South 24 Parganas
Sir — It is a shame that while people are dying in thousands every day, the ruling dispensation in India continues to prioritize investing money in a lavish construction project instead of allocating money to save lives. Is the vanity of the government more important than the lives of the citizens of the country?
Sir — While it is true that people must stay at home as much as possible and avoid crowded places at all costs in order to break the chain of coronavirus transmission, the plight of people who work for wages, anxious about feeding their families, must also be understood. The need of the hour is for state governments to form groups to distribute food and medicines among the needy, so that they do not have to risk their lives for the want of money. In places across the country, civic volunteers have already undertaken this task. But it is the government that must step up and address this problem.