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Attack the disease

The editorial, `The cash for questions scandal,' (Dec. 14) makes for absorbing reading. The case of 11 MPs allegedly accepting money for raising questions in Parliament has no doubt shaken the foundations of our democracy. However, Parliament and State Assemblies are replete with episodes of several such issues vanishing without a trace. Public memory is notoriously short. India is passing through a phase where a generation of politicians is on the way out. At least the next generation must learn to wipe out the cause rather than attack the symptom of the disease afflicting our system.

V. Ramprakash,
Madurai, T.N.

The episode is a manifestation of a deeper malady in our political system sustained by an electoral system that breeds corruption. It would be great to implement Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee's proposal of recalling such elected representatives. Further, the removal of the MPLAD scheme and a strict ban on ostentatious weddings and birthdays by MPs and Ministers will help.

Kasim Sait,
Chennai

The action of the 11 MPs has damaged the democratic fabric of our country. The main question that springs to one's mind now is: if a lawmaker can accept amounts as low as Rs.15,000 just to raise questions in Parliament, are the millions of rupees kept at their disposal for constituency development safe? Also, those caught are small fish. The large ones will never be caught.

Ushadevi & S.B. Rao,
Ruwi, Oman

People must have been shell-shocked over a few MPs receiving bribes to raise questions in Parliament. Where is Parliament, must be the exclamation. The more discerning know that it has been discovered only now. It has been going on for long. Perhaps it has assumed noticeable proportions recently, a modest version of Bofors. Parliament is fast losing its sanctity and the sacred vote is being destroyed.

The moral of the incident is that the more privileges you provide to MPs, the less they will think of the underprivileged. With what moral and legal authority can they speak for the nation? If they are found guilty, they should be expelled from the House, apart from other action.

N.G.R. Prasad,
Chennai

As the adage goes, "people deserve what they get." Ultimately, the voters should share the blame for this state of affairs. Educated and well-informed people should not shy away from the polling booth. Only if 80 per cent polling is achieved can we enjoy the fruits of real and corruption-free democracy.

K. Sankar Namasivayam,
Erode, T.N.

Accepting money for doing their duty is unacceptable behaviour. This is a sign of the deep degradation in the probity of our politicians. Expulsion of such MPs is the minimum punishment.

Quilon S. Krishnamurthy,
Chennai

Accepting money just to raise questions in Parliament is absurd. It is an indelible black mark on our democracy.

S. Sasibhushana Rao,
Kandukur, A.P.

Our Constitution has provided our MPs with several privileges, and the 11 MPs have misused some of these. This is unconstitutional and calls for a rethink about allowing the MPs to retain the privileges.

Revella Kalyan,
Guntur, A.P.

Being accustomed to the daily payments of various forms of bribe from moving files/papers in government institutions to the installation of a telephone at home, the current episode is only an embarrassing revelation of the state of our political culture.

Loud declarations of strict action against the erring MPs is not enough. A total commitment to abolishing corruption in all forms is necessary.

M. Winston Moses,
Watrap, T.N.

Coming close on the explosive revelations of the Volcker report, the present exposť reveals the extent of damage the country has suffered morally.

B.H. Shanmukhappa,
Davanagere, Karnataka

Although the BJP, the Congress and the BSP have initiated action against their MPs named in the episode, their leaders should take the major portion of the blame.

The people should demand suitable punishment for those who tried to misrepresent their interests in Parliament.

Y. Jagannatham,
Vijayawada, A.P.

It is disgusting that that these people are actually our leaders. What do they lack that they have to stoop to such levels and that too for raising questions? No longer can an MP point his or her finger at Natwar Singh or anybody else. All are in the same boat.

Archana Kurup Sudheer,
New Delhi

The 11 MPs have dashed the hopes of an entire nation. They have shown up India as a country of irresponsible rulers. Such men deserve to be banned from elections for life.

M.R. Rao,
Kodada, A.P.

Corruption in high places has crossed the lakshman rekha. Our worthy representatives have become a saleable commodity in retail market.

Ram Gurbaxani,
Vadodara, Gujarat

The MPs' act probably constituted the most unfortunate chapter in the history of liberal democracy. The representatives have traded away the people's mandate.

Mahesh Mahadarshee,
Hyderabad

The shameful episode has put a question mark over the accountability of Parliament itself. Without it, democracy is an illusion.

Amit Chamaria,
New Delhi

This incredible episode is shocking to even the most cynical among us. It seems everything is up for sale now. Is this the type of democracy we had bargained for in 1947?

Wg. Cdr. (retd.) S.C. Kapoor,
Noida, U.P.

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