Edits In Short: February 1
The Hindu, February 1, 2013
Cat among the pigeons – Editorial
Yup, this edit comments on Narendra Modi’s position within the BJP which it feels has become stronger with the departure of Nitin Gadkari. The mere mention of Modi as a prime ministerial candidate polarises the BJP leaders, some whom are opposed to him (RSS-types), others who feel he has energised the party, and the rest who fear his elevation will lead to the breakup of the NDA (the JDU and Shiv Sena are both “uncomfortable” with him as a PM candidate). The edit comments that although no one from top rung of the party has endorsed Modi, the “till now comatose rank and file are suddenly showing signs of life…because they see the party returning to its old, robustly militant character under the divisive, muscular leadership of Mr. Modi”.
Comatose, militant, divisive, muscular. We may not know what the BJP thinks, but we sure know what The Hindu thinks!
Nothing for Palestinians – Editorial
The Israeli election results, comments this edit, brings no hope for a change in the lives of the Palestinians. The fact that a new party like Yesh Atid (There is a Future), headed by former political journalist Yair Lapid did very well, means that Israelis are more concerned about rising prices, cost of living and other such problems. “The apparent shift in voter concerns from national security to economic matters means that the vestigial peace process will be neglected even further.” The edit however doesn’t bring up the point that since Israelis are more interested in bettering their lives, perhaps they wouldn’t want more conflict and that could be good news for Palestinians.
Lesson on diplomacy, from an Iranian – Main Article
Chinmaya R Gharkhan, former Indian Ambassador to the United Nations, and formerly the PM’s Special Envoy for West Asia, writes a delightful piece on how an Iranian expert didn’t hold back his views and spoke honestly disarmingly to his Indian counterparts at a Track II meeting. Something that Indian diplomats, he feels should do more often. The expert spoke about how Iran (whose people have always loved India) felt that India had let them down after they voted against Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency. Once the dam was breached, Indians spoke up about how they felt Iran was supporting Shia hardliners in India and not buying wheat from India. Very touching!
The edit ends with some words of advice for the Indian government, “international relations must be conducted on the reciprocity and mutuality of interests” and that even those countries who have hostile relations with Iran “can and will change their policy at a time of their choosing; we should not be left surprised”.
The Hindustan Times, February 1, 2013
The ban wagon is speeding now – Editorial
With Kamal Haasan’s film Vishwaroopam banned by the Jayalalitha government, (after it got an okay from the Central Board of Film Certification), and Salman Rushdie prevented from attending the Kolkata book fair, the edit feels that this is “symptomatic of a larger intolerance that seems be spreading with alarming speed”. It states that if we stop having faith in the discretion of official bodies, then anything can be contested by groups that could insist on the supremacy of their interpretation. The edit puts in a good word for I&B Minister Manish Tewari’s suggestion that the Cinematograph Act of 1952 “must be revisited” but doesn’t mention instances of the Central government’s crackdown on freedom of speech. It ends by saying that these incidents should serve as a wake-up call for the tolerant majority.
The right step forward – Editorial
With the cabinet clearing the much-amended version of the Lokpal Bill, the edit feels that all the protesting at Jantar Mantar will not have been in vain. This it states “is a testimony that the UPA has not forgotten its commitment to bring in an anti-graft law at a time when anger against corruption is at its peak”. Then comes the downer. The amended version does not bring the CBI under the purview of the Lokpal Bill, and there is exemption of political parties from the ambit of the Lokpal. Both weaken the government’s case for transparency. The edit foresees trouble ahead from political parties whose main bone of contention was the CBI. Also since Anna’s followers are planning a nationwide movement, the edit feels that the government should pass the Bill and act on it soon.
Not a minor matter – Editorial
HT’s political editor Vinod Sharma uses Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman “Shaitan” Malik’s duplicitous remarks on Shah Rukh Khan as basis for his piece on how minorities are second-class citizens in Pakistan. He writes that Malik betrayed no understanding of the nuances in SRK’s article in a weekly, and the dichotomy was glaringly evident in his own failure to protect the minorities in Pakistan. A conversion of a Hindu boy telecast live on air in Pakistan, other conversions of children of minorities and the persecution of Shias and the Ahmedias are all testimony to the lowly status of minorities in Pakistan. Even Muslim minorities are not safe. Compare that to India where the minorities’ constitutionally protected rights are on par with those of other faiths.
Seriously-inclined journalists, Sharma writes, “are convinced that the only time Malik isn’t putting his foot in his mouth is when he isn’t talking”.
The Indian Express, February 1, 2013
State of abdication – Editorial
As Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have put their respective bans, one on the movie Vishwaroopam and other on Salman Rushdie’s entry into West Bengal, the edit states that both these states have failed to show resolve in protecting freedom of expression. It states that the protecting law and order argument is a “specious” one as both Jayalalithaa and Mamata Banerjee have shown in the past that they are strong leaders not easily cowed by public protests. It also stresses on primacy of the Censor Board’s decision on whether or not a film should be released, adding that nothing less than the suggested amendment of the Cinematograph Act will make this possible.
Figuring it out – Editorial
“GDP numbers confirm the economic downslide – and point to the urgency to restore confidence.” The Express sounds its usual warning note on the economy, advising the government what to do while conveniently forgetting who was in charge when the “ruinous investment policies” were being implemented. After looking at the GDP numbers released by the ministry of statistics, it states that the drop in gross savings shows that a decade’s progress in savings has been erased. The spike in demand for gold also shows the same.
“The full extent of the damage can be measured now as the final data for various sectors comes out.”
US and them – Editorial
The edit expresses its pleasure at the immigration reform in the US, and states that the move will enable foreigners and illegal immigrants to live the American Dream. The four parts of the plan involve – “continuing efforts to improve border security, cracking down on businesses that employ undocumented workers, enabling illegal immigrants to earn citizenship and streamlining the process for legal immigration”. However, there are some disagreements among US senators and Obama on when the plan should be put into action. Ending with the benefits to Indians in America from these reforms, it says this affirms that “America will continue to be a country built by immigrants”.
Full Article: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/us-and-them/1067527/
The Times of India, February 1, 2013
Open up banking – Editorial
The edit comments on Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s support for granting bank licenses to corporate groups and feels that it is reassuring. These corporate promoters have the potential to remodel banking activities, challenge large banks that are currently in operation, and contribute significantly to the financial inclusion project.
BJP’s Knotty Coalition bind – Main article
A “structural” and “institutional” decision regarding Narendra Modi’s candidature for prime ministership has to be made by BJP minions, argues political commentator Ashok Malik. He further examines the contours of this decision. There is conjecture that the BJP’s choices cannot be divorced from its positioning in the NDA. “Coalition management is a delicate art” and the BJP seems to be struggling.