No room for complacency
Ahmed Patel’s return to the Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat should be seen as a rebuff to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah
as well as Shankarsinh Vaghela, who recently resigned from the Congress
and was the BJP’s candidate for the same seat.
Their script did not work this time, thanks to two Congress
members of the Gujarat Assembly rendering their votes for the BJP
invalid by their acts of wrongdoing. The Election Commission acted promptly on a complaint by the high-profile Congress
delegation led by senior leader P Chidambaram.
For Shah, whose political craftsmanship led the BJP
to capture power in some states without even getting the people’s mandate, the defeat of his candidate, an ex-Congress
man, in his home state is a setback to his (Shah’s) image.
While Patel’s return could boost the morale of the Congress
cadre in the state amid squabbles in the party and lack of effective leadership, this victory should not lull the party leadership into complacency. With Gujarat going to the polls later this year, the Congress
has so far failed to energise itself and present a formidable challenge to the BJP
by exploiting the anti-incumbency factor against its uninterrupted rule. Can Congress
Vice-president Rahul Gandhi
deliver, is a question uppermost in the minds of political observers.
S K Choudhury, Bengaluru
Ahmed Patel’s (pictured) Rajya Sabha win carries several messages. By voting against the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) has sought to de-hyphenate its linkage with that party in Bihar, asserting its identity and gaining some recently lost political stature.
The Nationalist Congress
Party had the BJP
and the media chase red herrings even as it voted for the Congress.
has imbibed unfamiliar virtues of toil and ground combat. These might help bring it down from its ivory tower.
The Patidars registered their disaffection with one cross vote, one reason why the BJP
chief had to enter the local fray. His presence was a clear acknowledgement of the changed political atmosphere in Gujarat. It has helped pre-empt greater damage. The BJP
has realised that in a crunch situation, the Opposition could find its lost coherence — something that augur wells for a democracy.
R Narayanan, Ghaziabad
Question of sustainability
With reference to the editorial, “Reform or entitlement?” (August 9), the reform and rationalisation of central labour laws to effectuate the Minimum Wage
Bill across the formal and informal sectors is a bold move. Concerted effort and deliberations of policymaking bodies on wage anomalies and labour law regulations for long deserve mention here.
Nonetheless, the regulation to vouch for the Bill is far from the benefits accrued to the absorbed labour force, which has a structural variation in terms of socio-economic disintegration, for example, cost of living, expenditure bills and welfare access. An important concern: Will the Bill ease labour market rigidities and make it relatively an arbitrage-free market with respect to spatial variation and price parity? So, when the Bill comes into force, an informal sector worker is entitled to the benchmark wage. This is in opposition to a job in the formal sector or the government that offers “insurance” cover of personal and liability risks along with welfare to employees and their families.
If the reform espouses all-round development of the labour force, it is welcome and can build a bridge between the labour market structure, conduct and performance. Otherwise, the Bill remains an entitlement. A larger question is, if per capital income increases post implementation of the Bill, how long would it be sustainable given complexity of jobs, skill set and macroeconomic uncertainties.
Kushankur Dey, Bhubaneswar
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