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As Amartya rejects Modi

When Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen rejected Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for the prime minister’s job, we witnessed a very instructive episode for our polity. The unambiguous rejection came in the backdrop of a determined effort by the BJP-RSS combine, as well several sections of the media and the corporate world to change the basic nature of our democracy. They are all bent upon converting the 2014 general elections from our current Westminster style parliamentary democracy into an American style presidential one. Their reasons for making this effort are pretty obvious.
These are rooted in the limitations of the BJP as a political party.

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Mid-day murder or meal scheme

It would be unfair to dismiss the recent Bihar tragedy as a case of food poisoning, in the right perspective it is simply an act of murder. This was not a case of poison in food, but actually a case of food in poison. It was sheer criminal negligence. But then Bihar may be grabbing the headlines, but it is by no means an isolated incident. Inefficiency and callous negligence in the mid-day meal scheme has been an integral part of the supply chain right from its inception. Old-timers recall the horror stories of contamination in the “sukhdi” that was supplied in Maharashtra.
There is no doubt that as an idea the mid-day meal scheme cuts at the root of the problem of lack of education and the high rate of school dropouts.

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Welcome move, will it work?

In the past few days, the Supreme Court has delivered two judgements that have far reaching consequences. Through one, it has barred the jailed persons from contesting elections, and this would be applicable even without their being chargesheeted or convicted of any offence. Through the other, it has also ruled that an elected representative cannot continue in office after conviction, even if an appeal is pending. Insofar as it is the court’s intention to cleanse the body politic of the criminal elements that have entered into, this is surely a welcome move. After all, the country cannot have rapists and criminals as lawmakers.

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Food security: Ordinance last resort

Last week, we crossed a major milestone in the evolution of the rights-based architecture for our people. We already have a constitutionally guaranteed right to work, education and information paradigm and now to this we have added the right to food element. Under the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and prime minister Manmohan Singh a commitment to empower the people has been an abiding faith with the government. There has never been any dilution of this commitment in the face of all the odds, and we all know that the odds have been mounting over a period of time.
The main crux of the problem is the absence of bipartisanship in the functioning of the democratic institutions. It is a well established norm that in a

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