Ashok Mitra is a forthright commentator and a brilliant writer. When he writes things, people sit and read.
He has been critical of the policies of the West Bengal government now for quite some time. He disagrees with the "industrialisation" thrust as it stands and has proposed alternatives. He has also warned and prognosticated about the fall in the left's support - what happened precisely in the Lok Sabha elections.
So, there is obviously a lot of merit in what the senior academic, former minister, regular columnist says vis-a-vis the alienation of the left's support base due to some of the policies and actions - land acquisition for industrialisation and high-handedness in dealing with the protests.
But I have to respectfully disagree with Dr. Mitra's conclusions. They suggest that the Left Front Government should resign now after the mandate in the Lok Sabha elections. What is the rationale - Dr Mitra thinks this will win over disaffected left supporters through the sheer moral intent of the action. It is a radical suggestion, but it has a great de-merit. Already left supporters - poor peasants mostly are the target of opposition triumphalist violence. Impunity is the only word to describe it. Sensing blood, the opposition led by the "famous lady" is on the rampage to get more blood- this time, the poor's for the only ostensible reason of their support to the left. And this in a state, where the ruling coalition has a nearly 75% majority.
I shudder to think what would happen if the left front government resigns - wouldn't this be a signal of weaknesses to be exploited by the marauders let loose by the opposition? And isn't it a moral imperative for the government to protect its state's citizens and ensure law and order?
That brings me in variance with Dr Mitra's conclusions. Assembly elections are scheduled for 2011. There is enough time to bring about a course correction. There are certain valid points that the government has made in its favour for the industrialisation drive, which has been rejected through the ballot box as has turned out in the Lok Sabha elections. Dr Mitra's argument that the advantage that the Left had at the national level is no longer there and certain "concessions" - public sector investment can no longer wrought out, holds true. But the state government can do what it can within its realm - it can ensure that the welfare measures entrusted to it are carried out in full zeal - the NREGA implementation for e.g. And it can continue to give focus to what the Left Front has been doing for years - focussed land redistribution and strengthening of the agricultural sector.
Wherever and whatever could be done with industrialisation without land acquisition or displacement, that can possibly be done as well. Structural constraints (finances for e.g.) would remain, but winning back the peoples' trust is of more paramount importance. The Left Front would be making a huge blunder if it leaves the responsibility entrusted upon it in 2006 to the assorted motley group of un-ideological and opportunist gang up led by the "famous lady".
More information about formatting options
Send letter to the editor.
Follow Pragoti on Twitter.
Add to Blogger