Editorial Analysis: Super CM in Punjab; Bail is norms; Safeguard Amarnath Yatra

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In ‘Editorial analysis’, The Raisina Hills critically reviews comments of India’s top five English newspapers – The Indian Express (IE), The Hindu (TH), The Times of India (ToI), The Economic Times (ET) and Deccan Herald (DH).


Popular perception remains that Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann takes instructions from the bosses in the Aam Aadmi Party from Delhi. That has gained further credence after the AAP appointed Raghav Chadha to head a temporary advisory panel for the Punjab government.

IE has commented in its Edit ‘Chandigarh tightrope’ on the decision of AAP, referring to the charges of the Mann government being remote-controlled, while also reminding the past of Punjab when there used to be a British resident commissioner after the Sikh empire lost much of its strength.

The daily cautions AAP to “tread with caution or risk upsetting a state that is known to love and rebel with an equal passion”. True, AAP is new in the hot seat in Punjab after sweeping the Assembly elections held earlier this year. The party claiming to be a proponent of an alternative politics has shown streaks of conventional mainstream politics that IE has avoided mentioning. The AAP also has a high command, consisting of a few persons at the top consisting of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia and Chadha, while there are a few who want to enter this coveted coterie such as Sanjay Singh.

IE editorial is quite mild in critiquing the decision of the AAP to impose Chadha on the Mann government. The decision in fact amounts lack of trust by the top brass of AAP in the ability of Mann, who was chosen the CM candidate after a phone-in survey in the run up to the polls.

Equally significant is IE missing out in mentioning that Chadha had micro-managed the Punjab elections for the AAP, and he was the key person who decided on the candidate list of the party.

Interestingly, the AAP had picked up just one Sikh – Harbhajan Singh – candidate out of five Rajya Sabha nominees. That also suggests the approach of the AAP for its Punjab government.

IE shies away from stating that the AAP is just another political party in the country, and is equally afflicted with all the vices.

Death of 17 pilgrims during the Amarnath Yatra has been commented upon by DH in its Edit ‘Yatra deaths could have been avoided’, and puts the Jammu and Kashmir administration in the dock for failing to make full-proof arrangements for the pilgrimage which commenced after a three years gap.

Indeed, a large number of meetings had taken place ahead of the commencement of Yatra. The daily rightly questions the decision of the setting up of the tents at a place where there had been flash floods last year, which was again hit by the cloud bursts, which left 17 people dead.

DH reminds that the holy Amarnath cave is surrounded by glaciers and is vulnerable to the adverse weather patterns. The J&K administration’s failure to capture the aggravating weather pattern, noted DH, is also worrisome.

In fact, India is yet to put in place a robust policy framework for the safe pilgrammage to the popular destinations such as Char Dham Yatra, which warrants planning aligned with the changing weather patterns on account of the climate change.

The police and other enforcement agencies in India have been seen working with colonial mindsets, resorting to arrests even in instances when they are not required, subjecting tax-payers to much harassments at the hands of the inspectors, impounding of documents which may not be needed by the investigating agencies.

In this backdrop, ToI in its Edit ‘Bail’s in our courts’ has dwelt upon the suggestion of the Supreme Court for a comprehensive law on bail, arguing that 70 per cent of the inmates in jails belong to the poor socio-economic strata of the society.

The daily rightly mentioned that the judicial officials and the police are in the habit of denying bails. The Supreme Court’s direction that bail applications be disposed of in two weeks is timely, while the daily reminds of the 2014 Arnesh Kumar judgment which called for the police to record specific reasons for arresting an accused.

The conduct of the judicial officials and the police truly need reviews, but it remains a fact that neither the Parliament nor the state Assemblies have shown any urgency to address such issues.

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