Sunday View: The Best Weekend Opinion Reads, Curated Just for You

We sifted through the papers to find the best opinion reads, so you won't have to.

6 min read
Hindi Female

Mr Modi Rewrites Congress's Manifesto

Writing for The Indian Express, Congress leader P Chidambaram wittily remarks that the party's manifesto has become "the most talked about subject throughout India," all thanks to the "coordinated attack" by PM Modi and his ministerial colleagues. He further suggests that a lackadaisical BJP manifesto and post-Phase 1 panic are the reasons why the prime minister has had to resort to spreading various falsehoods about the Congress's poll promises.

"Mr MK Stalin, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, hit the bull's eye when he described the Congress's manifesto as the 'hero of the LS election'. This must have offended Mr Modi who decided to portray the document as a villain. To his misfortune, no part of the Congress's manifesto could be faulted. Hence, Mr Modi decided to imagine a manifesto written by a ghost and trash it. That, in my view, is the ultimate tribute that a BJP prime minister could pay to the Congress's real manifesto!"
P Chidambaram, for The Indian Express

Our Inequality Is Inherited, Curable Only by Solid Policy

In his piece for Deccan Chronicle, former diplomat and politician Pavan K Varma walks the tightrope of opposing an inheritance tax and reiterating policy reform to lift India's poor out of poverty. He opines that the problem of economic inequality requires "more than robbing Peter to pay Paul" while still holding that "India today is perhaps the most economically unequal nation in the world."

"The middle class takes pride that India has today the third largest number of dollar billionaires in the world, but it overlooks the fact that about 60 per cent of our population – or roughly one billion people – lives on less than Rs 250 a day, and 21 per cent, or about 250 million people, on less than Rs 150 a day. We rightfully celebrate that India is the fastest growing major economy of the world, but are perhaps indifferent about how this increase in GDP is distributed."
Pavan K Varma, for Deccan Chronicle

To Have One EC, or Many?

With the roles and responsibilities of the Election Commission increasingly being questioned, lawyer Alok Prasanna Kumar, for Deccan Herald, rewinds to a debate that unfolded among members of the Constituent Assembly back in 1949. Stating the various arguments that had been presented at that time, Kumar points out how the idea of a commission overseeing elections both at the national-level and state-level, did not sit well with many members at first.

"Ambedkar defended the idea of a specialised commission pointing to the recommendations of the Fundamental Rights Committee. He argued that a truly free and fair election would only be possible if the agency conducting the elections were to be free of executive control. Ambedkar didn’t have a view one way or the other about whether there should be only one commission or several. He was fine with the amendment proposed to have the Election Commission of India deal only with national-level elections."
Alok Prasanna Kumar, for Deccan Herald

Robin Hood Economics

In her piece for The Indian Express, columnist Tavleen Singh expresses her fear that the Congress's plan to tax the rich could result in the destruction of the private sector and further redistribution of poverty. Tagging the party's leader as 'Robin Hood Rahul', she conveys her apprehension that the Congress's plan to conduct a caste census could lead to "reverse casteism" with castes that fall into the poorest category becoming the first to benefit.

"It is time to remind the man who seeks to unseat Modi in this general election that it is not his personal wealth that he is threatening to hand out. It is the taxpayers' money. It is not just the money of men like Adani and Ambani, but money given in taxes by all of us who pay taxes. What I find disturbing about Rahul's rants against rich Indians is his unconcealed contempt for those who create wealth."
Tavleen Singh, for The Indian Express

Manifesto Fiasco Costs Cong Dear; BJP Forced To Lean on Chouhan

Journalist Anita Katyal, in her column for Deccan Chronicle, suggests that the Congress is not doing enough to prop up its manifesto and counter the BJP's aggressive strategy that involves bandying charges about the redistribution of wealth and minority appeasement. She also remarks that the low voter turnout recorded in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections has turned out to be a "blessing in disguise" for former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan as he has been brought back into the fold with respect to the BJP's poll campaign.

"Not just Madhya Pradesh but the low voter turnout in the first phase is also worrying the Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh. While this is being attributed to several factors like voter indifference, election fatigue and the heat, there are murmurs in the party that an unhappy Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is not making sufficient efforts to mobilise voters."
Anita Katyal, for Deccan Chronicle

In Unopposed Lok Sabha Poll Wins, a Familiar Script

As counting day for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections draws near, Anjishnu Das of The Indian Express takes a closer look at the electoral contest in Gujarat's Surat where the result has already been declared in favour of the BJP's Mukesh Dalal. According to Das, there have been 28 other instances in the history of Independent India where a candidate has been elected as an MP after running unopposed, and Dalal reportedly is the first BJP MP to be included in this list.

"At 20, the Congress has seen the most MPs get elected unopposed. The National Conference (NC) and Samajwadi Party (SP) follow with two each. Just one Independent has won the parliamentary election unopposed."
Anjishnu Das, for The Indian Express

In the Shadow of War, Gaza Women Battle On

With a majority of those killed in the Gaza War being women and children, Lalita Panicker of Hindustan Times writes about how the conflict, that has claimed the lives of an estimated 35,000 Palestinians so far, has fundamentally altered the family structure in the region. Quoting the heads of two NGOs, she also explains that women in Gaza are prone to grave "health risks that further batter their already frail bodies."

"Food shortages, the destruction of schools and loss of education could lead to early marriages for many girls who are virtually destitute now and depend on extended families. Women, often with few skills or low access to economic resources, are now forced to provide for the families they must lead. Even in better times, Gaza’s women had restricted access to economic opportunities; now, the violence has wiped even that little bit out."
Lalita Panicker, for Hindustan Times

Righteous Campuses

In her piece for The New York Times, columnist Lydia Polgreen attempts to get to the bottom of the pro-Palestine protests that have erupted across American colleges and the police action taken to break them up. After gauging the mood on Columbia University's campus, Polgreen finds that "the way you understand these protests depends on your perception of what they are protesting."

"What I saw were moving, creative and peaceful protests by people seeking to end the slaughter in Gaza, where more than 34,000 people have died, the majority of them women and children. I also saw things that left me quite troubled, and heard from Jewish students both inside and outside the camps navigating a campus fraught with emotions. But while reporting on the protests up close gave me insight into how unsettling some aspects of activism can be, it doesn’t mean the protesters’ actions are misguided."
Lydia Polgreen, for The New York Times

Using Words To Remake and Reclaim the World

Writing for Hindustan Times, journalist Karan Thapar offers his thoughts on Salman Rushdie's first book since the renowned author was attacked and seriously injured by a knife-wielding assailant. In Thapar's view, Rushdie’s description of the attack is "clinical, chilling but riveting," making it all the more shameful that "there was only official silence" on the attack from the country in which the novelist was born.

"Unlike his earlier masterpieces, in his latest book Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder, on the terrible attack that almost killed him, Salman Rushdie speaks directly to the reader. Intimately and honestly, seeking understanding whilst attempting to convince, sharing his uncertainty, and revealing his pain and inner conflicts, he maps out the slow but confidently steady journey of his recovery. It’s a very human voice. Very personal. You could say it’s more Salman than Rushdie."
Karan Thapar, for Hindustan Times

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