ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Turncoats Get It Rough

Turncoats Get It Rough THE FALL of the Madhya Pradesh Government of D P Mishra after 36 MPs had crossed over to the Opposition was fully discussed by the press. Discussion was widespread, because the issues posed were basic to democracy. Should a Chief Minister ask for, and the Governor agree to, dissolution of the Assembly, if the ruling party loses its majority through defections? This was the main question. An allied question was: should the Leader of the Opposition, if he can, be permitted to form an alternative Government without the State being forced into mid-term elections? The turn of events in Madhya Pradesh was roughly as follows: the Assembly was discussing the budget, when word came that 36 Congressmen had defected to the Opposition. The Chief Minister, D P Mishra, thereupon asked the Governor to prorogue the session, obviously to gain time to woo back the dissidents. The question was referred to the Congress High Command. Mishra wanted to ask for re-elections, confident that he would be returned with a majority. The Congress High Command was opposed to it. The Opposition Leader, the Rajmata of Gwa- lior, went to Delhi to prove that the dissidents were under no duress, to seek support for her claim to form a new government, and to ask the Centre to intervene. The outcome of it all was that Mishra was advised to test his strength in the Assembly, which he did, knowing full well what the outcome would be. Now he is out.

On Language, Strong Feelings

 TRIGUNA SEN'S STATEMENT in Parliament announcing the Centre's decision to make the regional language the medium of instruction at all levels of education, including the University stage, elicited strong reaction, both for and against. The significant aspect of all comment was the degree of involvement of all writers. Here was a subject that affected every person most intimately. There could be no hedging.

A Familiar Event

 tiation within it, there does not appear to be much chance of any substantial trouble or rift in the Government. Some increase of bitterness will, however, result and the people will regard these wranglings unseemly and inappropriate, even thoroughly irrelevant to their problems as well as aspirations. But good can come out of evil if the Co-ordinating Committee is able to use this incident to work out a code of conduct for the coalition parties. Which differences, at which stage and how, should be made public or even taken to the people for a decision? Surely, the collective responsibility of the Cabinet requires a sense of collective responsibility on the part of the parties composing it. Sundarayya will have done some unconscious good if his diatribes help in this manner to ramify the coalition concept which he appears to find distasteful.

Congress Still Unchastised

and denunciation, even on very minor issues like the inclusion of a scheduled caste member in the cabinet. One sees, as a result, the odd spectacle of a constituent party of the United Front joining in the chorus of wailing over the so-called law and order situation, which is the big stick that the Congress, at the Centre and in the State, has been brandishing over the head of the United Front Government. It is indeed very welcome, therefore, that the CPI (Right) has by contrast openly warned in the columns of its organ that the attack on the Left CPI with a view to isolating it from its partners in the government is a none-too-well concealed blow aimed at the United Front Government itself.

What is at Stake in Naxalbari

Can Local Enterprise Do It? I WENT THROUGH the admirable paper by B V Krishna Murti on "Power Elite Planning for People's Welfare", published in your issue dated 27th May. The case he has made out for planning from bottom upwards rather than the other way round is unexceptionable.

Dealing with China

Dealing with China THE LAST WORD on the strange events involving manhandling of Indian and Chinese diplomats in Peking and New Delhi has not yet been said, though tempers in the two capitals seem to have cooled down sufficiently to make possible a relaxation of tensions. The question that came uppermost to most minds was why the Chinese were behaving in this strange way. The Indian press noted, of course, that China had in the past meted out the same kind of treatment to Soviet and British diplomats and officials.

Banks in the Balance

Banks in the Balance THERE has been much talk of nationalisation of banks' or, to use the euphemism so common these days,; social control of banks. Neither the term "nationalisation" nor "social control" has been defined and it was left to V C Patel, General Manager of the Central Bank of India, to demand that the Gov, ernment should let bankers know what was wanted of them by way of fulfilling their social obligation. He urged the appointment of a Banking Inquiry Commission to report on the working of banks and on whether nationalisation of banks was necessary.

Birlas Share of the Cake

 the socalled breakdown or law ana order the Chief Minister has recently been publicly campaigning about the need for love between the police and the public. He is also reported to have asked the North Bengal police to take appropriate measures in defence of law and order. The Communist ministers, on the other hand, openly criticised the move to treat the Naxalbari issue as a law and order problem divorced from its socio-economic context.

Crisis in West Asia

decided that the time was right for a showdown. The choice left for Israel is ap- paling. To climb down would be clear submission and would have a disastrous effect on the deterrent power of the Israeli army and would undo all the work which the terror inflicted on the Egyptians at the time of the Suez crisis had achieved. At worst it would make all the threats about wiping Israel off the map (which were constantly repeated by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia during his state visit to London, although his private views were rumoured to be different) seem a grim reality. Nasser now has more Russian armaments and training and 10 years more military experience since Suez, including his exploits in the Yemen.

One Voice on Gheraos

bwe been more than 200 in W Bengal in the last two months, and the statement of S A Dange at the meeting of the tripartite Standing Labour Committee that he would rfr- ganise them (gheraos) with a vengeance" have elicited a great deal o^ comment in the press. It did not come as a surprise exactly that hardly any of the daily newspapers had a good word for gheraos. The Ambala Tribune said that gheraos could be supported "only by persons to whom agitation is bread and butter itself". "While pursuing such crude methods, the sponsors are unmindful of the national setback involved" the paper said. The paper condemned the West Bengal government and said that its decision "not to allow the police to interfere in industrial disputes has served as a direct encouragement to troublemakers who now feel that with communist Ministers conniving at their methods they can take the law into their own hands without any fear of police action". To balance this attack, the paper also administered a lecture to employers on implementing awards and agreements.

Two Languages or Three

doing away with the discriminatory clause which prevents workers in public sector projects, for example, from enjoying the same rights as their colleagues in the private sector. It debars, for instance, NGOs and Government college or school teachers from doing what can be quite legally done by the white collar workers in the banks and other private firms. So long as specific duties assigned are loyally carried out, there i? no reason why this absurd relic of British rule should be allowed to continue.

Police in the Fray

16,000. Like policemen everywhere in India, Delhi's police are ill-paid. A constable draws Rs 75 a month and gets an annual increment of Re 1. The Head Constable gets an annual increment of Rs 3, which puts him on par with the Class IV staff of the Delhi Municipality. Of the 9,000 constables in the city proper, only some 1,000 have so far been provided with quarters. Presumably, the others have to fend for themselves.

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