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'How do we start demanding accountability from our politicians?'

How Readers responded to Vir Sanghvi's recent columns

Date sent: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 14:04:16 -0700
From: Sameer Kuppahalli <>
Subject: Don Bad man by Vir Sanghvi

I was about to write "excellent column", and true to his nature, Vir Sanghvi had to finally give a dramatic twist to the already bizarre story. He writes at the end:

>'India's politicians get away with all this because we, the voters, never demand accountability from them. Nobody has asked the Congress to explain why the tandoori murderer got so far within its ranks. And now nobody is asking any of the Delhi politicians (to say nothing of Laloo Yadav and the other Biharis) who sponsored Romesh Sharma, why they extended patronage to a hoodlum and a pimp. Can Maneka Gandhi tell us whether her concern for cats and dogs extends to human beings? And if it does, then why did this thug head her party's Bombay unit? Can the BJP's Delhi leadership tell us whether it opposes corruption? If so, then why did it patronise and protect this gangster?"

In all his article, he barely mentioned that Romesh Sharma was only "hobnobbing" with the BJP. He has provided no concrete facts that the BJP protected him. He in the same breath forgot to pose the same question to the Congress. It was Congress which was in power in 1984 and subsequently for 5 years. As to why the voters never demand accountability from parties, you presented the answer yourself. Journalists like you do not have the guts to call a spade a spade. To project your neutrality, you have to include the BJP anywhere and everywhere. That confuses the public. They do not know, whom to ask accountability from?

Let the media come out and pin-point one person/party who is guilty of treason and corruption at high places, and voters will take them to task. Whether Sharma hobnobbed with Sushma Swaraj is really a matter of conjecture. Present enough facts and we will listen to you. Don't make a sweeping statement including BJP all the time, because that suits your BJP bashing.

Sameer Kuppahalli

Date sent: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 20:44:31 EST
From: <>
Subject: Vir Sanghvi

Excellent article. But the question is how do we start demanding accountability from our politicians under the existing circumstances ? The overall situation is grim in India and it is a pity to note that our sacred country is going to the dogs.

Date sent: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 17:15:26 -0800
From: VK <>
Subject: Vir Sanghvi!

You have written nothing but truth! God save us all!


Date sent: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 21:36:49 -0500 (EST)
From: Vishal Jadhav <>
Subject: Article on Romesh Sharma

Vir Sanghvi has asked us a very pertinent question, he has highlighted the "real" problem with Indian politics today: Criminalisation of politics and lack of accountability. I hope his article generates some more hard questions and responses from those in power and help alleviate the state of our democracy.

Vishal Jadhav

Date sent: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 14:27:09 -0600
From: Giridhari Dash <>
Subject: Vir Sanghvi

It is a good topic that you touched upon. Many Romesh Sharmas have gone scot-free. Believe me and I am sure you must have realised that people feel helpless on issues like this. How to change this situation? How to change the environment as a whole? Finally, it boils down to the question: How to purge the political establishment? How to get a committed bureaucracy?

I believe there is something fundamental missing in our Constitution. We need to look carefully and amend it. The sooner, the better. Thanks for addressing a serious topic and bringing it to public notice.


Date sent: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 18:54:50 -0500
From: Uday Turaga <>
Subject: Vir Sanghvi

Studying in the United States does not leave much time to mull over Mani Shankar Aiyar's inanities, but having logged into Rediff after a long time I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my favorite columnists Vir Sanghvi up there. I must congratulate you for getting him to write for you, or for securing rights to put his columns up. Apparently he has been writing for Rediff for quite some time now.

Despite all the love that Mani Shankar Aiyar seems to profess for Rajiv Gandhi, his columns on him have never gone beyond abusing P Chidambaram and thus endeavouring to further his own political interests, which is unfortunate considering the trust Rajiv Gandhi had in him. Vir Sanghvi on the other hand has been a journalist of impeccable credentials and integrity whose liberalism I have admired and tried to emulate for a very long time.

His column on Rajiv Gandhi's assassination really stirred me. I have been a great fan of Rajiv Gandhi and for arguably good reasons and his assassination when I was in school was a matter of intense shock and grief. Over time I have overcome that but have also lost interest in the manner in which his assassination was investigated. The excellent work done by the Special Investigation Team headed by Karthikeyan has been all but squandered away. The interim report of the Jain Commission has been used only as a political scalpel.

Vir Sanghvi's column very elegantly and profoundly shows the unfortunate depths to which we as a society have degenerated to as far as justice is concerned. I personally am, however, hopeful that some day we will realise to be more serious about these things and find out the people who actually killed Rajiv Gandhi.

Till then I guess Mani Shankar Aiyar will have to be tolerated.

Uday Turaga

Date sent: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 18:20:29 -0500
From: "Kathlesar, Rajesh (Concert)" <>
Subject: Vir Sanghvi's column

That was a brilliant article. I understand how bad politics is. I think people like Mr Sanghvi make the difference by fearlessly telling the truth.

Raj Kathlesar

Date sent: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 23:47:46 +0530
Subject: Question of survival

In spite of his awesome reputation Mr Vir Sanghvi's hypothesis and analysis appear preposterous and quite improbable. The article, however, does set the reader thinking. Why does Rediff On The NeT bother with Mr. Vir Sanghvi and his self-indulging, wishful fantasies ?

Date sent: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 23:21:28 -0800
Subject: Vir Sanghvi's article on BJP's survival chances

Without going into details of the above article, all I want to say is that it is English educated intellectuals' and 'democrats' like the author who have made India a backward country, a laughing stock of the world, and as some cocky Western observer put it, a 'functioning anarchy'.

In most civilised democracies, once a government is elected, it is allowed to rule for full term, however good or bad it may be. I understand we have jahil or illiterate voters who elect jahil politicians (whose only words in their English vocabulary are 'secular' or 'communal' ), but it is the responsibility of educated people like Vir Sanghvi to hit hard on its audience that it is not right to remove a government every six months for any reasons (to satisfy the whim of some old Commie wanting to control the government before he dies in 1999).

This is a VERY important message as it has deep impact on India's growth prospects in the coming years. Please let your readers realise that only a politically stable India is in their best interests.

Jay Kulkarni
Los Angeles

Date sent: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 21:41:54 +0530
From: "Santhosh N(5281461-3010)" <>
Subject: Question of survival by Vir Sanghvi

I appreciate your diligence for misleading the readers. But you missed an important point. There are more than 50% of Sikh voters in Delhi. The anti-Sikh riot accused H K L Bhagat, Sajjan Kumar lead the Congress in the election. The Sikhs who are still alive, remember very clearly that, only BJP and RSS workers saved them from DEATH. So I am not sure if they vote for Congress just because of price rise, water, electricity, crimes etc. Anyway, not a single Sikh was killed during BJP rule. I think they value their life more than vegetables, or water/electricity.

I think the choice between Saraswati Vandana and "Sonia vandana" should influence Hindu voters.

Now for the leadership struggle between Vajpayee and Advani. These two guys have worked together for 50 years. It is ridiculous to think about a leadership struggle in the Sangh Parivar.

Date sent: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 15:19:51 PST
From: "P K" <>
Subject: Question of survival by Vir Sanghvi

Congratulations on writing another anti-BJP political fiction.

Jai Hind.

Date sent: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 20:33:03 +0530
From: YoursTruly <>
Subject: Vir Sanghvi

Are these responsible journalists or are they gossip columnists? The fact is the government isn't exactly rock-solid, it is beset by numerous problems -- internal security situation, skyrocketing prices, the fallout of Pokhran, not to mention unreliable allies. Don't these hack-types see the harm they are causing to the country by their rumour-mongering? Do they think it fit to base a whole column of drivel on what they themselves admit to be a rumour? Is there nothing more to politics than palace intrigues?

Rediff should seriously consider promoting Vir Sanghvi. He should be assigned the responsibilities of Agony Aunt: dealing with such important issues as advising a confused teen girl on how to deal with the lascivious advances of her boyfriend etc. I know he will do a good job. Vir Sanghvi, I mean, not the boyfriend.

Date sent: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 08:13:56 +1300
From: Kishore Malani <>
Subject: Vir Sanghvi's column

This column is wishful thinking. L K Advani is a strategist and Vajpayee fits into his strategy. Like all strategists he needs a person who can deliver and Vajpayee is there to do the job. Moreover, Advani and Vajpayee have been together for years and it is a complex relation. Some of your columnists like Vir Sanghvi, Saisuresh and Dilip D'Souza are clearly BJP baiters and survive on bad news.

It would be better to get positive news about India from Indians at least and leave the bad news jobs to the foreign media which excels in deriding India at every stage. It is important that the BJP has achieved so much in a few months and if the government carries on like this for a few more years India will be on the path of self respect and dignity. K Malani

Date sent: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 22:51:44 -0500
From: Tarun Seam <>
Subject: Vir Sanghvi on Question of Survival

How sweet the sound will be when the great leader Sonia Gandhi shall conduct that harmonious and incorruptible bunch made up of Manmohan Singh, Jayalalitha, Mamta Bannerji, Mulayam Singh, Laloo Yadav, Basu the Communist, and other such secularist devotees. Must we now hold our breath in delight as the nation is about to be delivered from the tyranny of those saffron-clad protagonists of Vande Mataram and Saraswati Vandana.

I say 'Long Live Mother India', as happy days are nearly here. Let those great ways in which the Congresswallahs and the Communist Red Brigade marched India to prosperity in the past 50 years now return. Hurray!! Sanghviji. Finally, there is hope that every Indian, in complete communal harmony, would relish affordable onions as he watches admiringly that great smooth symphony lead by the Congresswallahs wither away the illiteracy, the poverty, the social decay, the corruption, the international malaise......for us to live happily thereafter!!

Tarun Seam