No easy cure for the Congress!

The 2014 general elections saw the Congress party reduced to its worst ever tally of seats in the Lok Sabha (‘Is there any hope for Congress in India?,’ Gulf News, November 12). Thereafter, the Congress continued to fair poorly and was voted out of power in the assembly elections held in Maharashtra and Haryana. The electoral debacles haven’t managed to dampen the enthusiasm of Congress’s Mani Shankar Aiyar.

He said: “In 1999, we were in power in only five states. Today, we have eight states. This shows that there is enough scope for the Congress to bounce back.” He cites the example of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) rise in national polity from a meagre count of two seats to suggest that the highs and lows are a part of politics.

But, another worrying factor for the Congress is the rapid manner in which it has lost the Muslim vote. The assembly elections in Maharashtra saw Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen (MIM) win two seats and emerge as a challenger for the Muslim vote for the Congress. Rejecting Congress’s politics of minority appeasement, Rasheed Kidwai simultaneously labels MIM’s debut in Maharashtra as a “failure of Nehruvian ideas of secularism”. But Aiyar stresses that there is electoral space for parties like MIM.

Though these demands only reflect the dynastic nature of the party and the inability of the Congress to look for a leader beyond the Gandhis, loyalists like Aiyar argue that the Gandhi family is the adhesive force, keeping the party together and that they are the biggest crowd puller.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been acknowledged as India’s newest rock star by Forbes Magazine, the Congress party is facing its toughest challenge since independence. What remains to be seen is whether the Congress manages to put its own house in order and challenge the overwhelmingly right wing atmosphere in the country, which has led to recurrent sectarian skirmishes ever since the new government took charge.

From Mr Saif Ahmad Khan


If only I could park

I have no doubt that the Tram is fantastic and for the residents in Marina, it will be a great help to move around - especially for those who may not have a car (‘Dubai Tram: Why drive when you have this?,’ Gulf News, November 13). However, for anyone else who has a car and wishes to use the Tram, it fails to provide accessibility. Where along the Tram line am I able to park my car and access the Tram? Living in the Greens, the nearest Tram station is in Media City or Knowledge Village where there is already a shortage of parking. So there aren’t any spaces and sadly, unless I take a taxi to get to the Tram station, it remains a novelty to observe as I drive to Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR). There is a need to provide more parking around both Metro and Tram stations. These modes of transport really become worthwhile once there is adequate parking!

From Mr Barry Christie


Unacceptable deception

It is a good lesson to the girl’s father who tried to trick his daughter into marrying a 90-year-old man for money (‘Saudi girl, 17, refuses to marry man in his 90s,’ Gulf News, November 13). It is unacceptable and unpardonable. I wish the new couple all the best in Yemen.

From Mr Ashraff Nazim

Colombo, Sri Lanka

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Sceptical of facts

I’m not saying the media is always wrong, but the media is also publishing what they are told. It’s not that the story isn’t true, sometimes it might be, but I do believe that every journalist has their own views and their own judgement.

We can’t be so quick to believe the media. First, go there yourself and talk to the girl as well as the father, face to face. Only then can you come to a conclusion. Not necessarily what you hear and see is the whole truth.

From Mr Umme Ahmad

Abu Dhabi

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Breach of rights

I don’t think it matters what journalistic spin anyone puts on an incident like this. It will always be a horrific and cruel breach of the girl’s fundamental human rights.

From Mr Jo Clark


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A profound issue

I don’t think that Umme Ahmad should be defending something that is clearly wrong. There are thousands of 70-year-old men who take brides from India and other countries. Now, what if this has started happening in Saudi Arabia? India and other countries have made strict marriage laws to prevent these situations. It’s time to stop this everywhere. He tried to sell his own flesh and blood for money. It’s time for girls to take a stand against family members who push these futures on them.

From Mr Nasser Khan

Mumbai, India

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Cutting off family support

This woman left the people who brought her into this world for the sake of a man she got to know some time back (‘Saudi woman who fled home marries Yemeni lover,’ Gulf News, November 13). What if he divorces her after couple of years? Where will she go if that happens?

From Mr Atif Saif


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Forced to marry

I disagree with Atif Saif because the people who brought her into this world betrayed her by trying to force her to marry her cousin. That’s unforgivable.

From Ms Patricia Cooksey

Abu Dhabi

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Not her fault

It is a remarkable achievement that the Dubai police were able to help this five-year-old get a new passport after struggling three years without one (‘Dubai Police help girl get a passport,’ Gulf News, November 13). It feels good to hear that the authorities look at the matter from humanitarian grounds rather than just as procedural issues. It was wise to bring justice to the child, because this wasn’t her fault. I think this was very good action by the authorities.

From Mr D. M.


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Why the wait?

It should not have taken so long for the child to get her documents. We need to identify and improve, so such issues are not prolonged. Just imagine that the child might have not received her basic vaccinations and other necessary health check-ups due to this delay.

From Mr Omar Yousuf


Not a burden, a blessing

Education is important not just for girl children, but also for the members of her community. For example, a student can share what she has learnt about staying healthy with her family and she can teach her friends about safety issues. She’ll be in a better position to be an active, participating member of her community and may even convince someone of the value of an education for every child. Why isn’t she allowed to go to school? Why is she considered as a burden for everyone? She is a beautiful gift of God and has all the rights that a boy child has.

My humble appeal to those who are keeping the mentality that girl children are a burden, to understand that they are not a burden, but a blessing.

From Ms Carol Aranha


Be safe online

In today’s world, the internet is everything. It is good to a certain extent, but in many aspects the internet is being misused. We must be safe from those who misuse the internet and we should definitely not be the one misusing! We should never share personal information with any stranger or anyone not trusted, which seems like commonsense, but it is still happening.

We must not share private details on sites that aren’t trusted or share credit card details on sites that are not secure. Doing such things can cause a lot of hurt in many ways. For parents, check your child’s access to the internet and make sure that passwords are not known to anyone.

From Mr Shivam Ajmera


Eliminate reckless driving

Nowadays, it is a matter of risk to walk along the streets of Dubai, all thanks to reckless driving (‘National Day celebrations to be regulated,’ Gulf News, November 13). It has become a fashion to drive recklessly at a very high speed and be unaware of the consequences. It seems as though the drivers forget the whole world while they are driving. This really is a menace to the pedestrians and other drivers. In addition, reckless driving can cause significant damage to property. Thus, it goes without saying that reckless driving is a public safety issue that must be properly addressed. I hope the concerned authorities take up the necessary steps and eliminate reckless driving in Dubai, thus making Dubai a safer place.

From Ms Kenisha Sequeira


Wishing them success

It’s very good to hear that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is playing a major role in international space research, and I wish them great success in all their future endeavours (‘After Mars, India space chief aims for the moon,’ Gulf News, November 12). The main aim of such projects are to showcase ourselves in the technical achievements of space. However, I don’t think that it will help India to eradicate the poverty and bring equal justice to all people. Anyhow, I wish them all the best.

From Mr Imam

Doha, Qatar

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