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30 December, 1997
  Re-enter, the dynasty
The sphinx has at long last broken her silence. Sonia Gandhi's decision to campaign for the Congress marks a turning point in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls. This is because her role itself will become a major election issue. After all, she cannot be dismissed as just another Congress party campaigner. It is a telling comment on the utter bankruptcy of the century-old party that its chief, Sitaram Kesri, should feel beholden to Sonia for her decision. What impelled her to take the plunge could be the ongoing mass exodus from the Congress and the resultant fear of the party disintegrating. Since it will now be identified with her, she will naturally have a definitive say in the distribution of party tickets. Thus, for all practical purposes, her entry marks the end of Kesri's leadership.
  A ticket to the polls
"Who knows, this old fox may even have installed secret cameras in the interview room."

Anatomy of a conspiracy
The urea scam was a well-planned conspiracy allegedly hatched by former prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao's nephew Sanjeeva Rao, former Union Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister Ram Lakhan Singh Yadav's son Prakash Chandra Yadav and Hyderabad-based businessman Sambasiva Rao to defraud the National Fertilizer Limited (NFL) of $38 million.
Let's welcome the rupee's decline
There is much unnecessary hue and cry over the decline of the rupee. Might the rupee not be the target of currency speculators whom Malayasian Prime Minister Mohammed Mahathir does not tire of blaming these days? The presumption is that a weak rupee somehow benefits foreigners, speculators or otherwise. Yes, it does but not all of them gain. Foreign investors, in particular, stand to lose. Thus the decline of the rupee may well turn out to be a boon for India by keeping foreign investors at bay and by forcing us to turn our attention on the better utilisation of our own capital.


Dilip Chhabria Design

Ceat Financial Services Ltd.


A consistently unsound policy
The assertion by the Jain Commission in its interim report that India's post-1981 Sri Lanka policy was "consistent" and "perfectly sound" is patently untenable and so unconvincing that it casts serious doubts on all the findings of the Commission. In fact, the policy was flawed and lacked coherence and direction. Decisions were ad hoc and agencies worked at cross purposes.
Results required
The Election Commission deserves all support for cracking down on Kalyan Singh's government in Uttar Pradesh. Announcing a substantial largesse to local and rural bodies a week before 39 people are elected to the state Legislative Council is nothing short of a crime against democracy. Kalyan Singh may be correct in saying that he was previously committed to the measure, but the timing of the announcement is clearly motivated. The results of these elections, which were to be held before the year was out, will certainly affect the UP results in the forthcoming general election. The Chief Minister had taken advantage of the fact that the model code of conduct was not enforced for these polls. However, this act is in violation of the Representation of the People Act itself, which calls for a level playing field.


  Re-enter, the dynasty
  Results required
  A ticket to the polls
  A consistently unsound policy
  Let's welcome the rupee's decline

Shaw Wallace