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Posts Tagged ‘Mamata’

Paint the town green

May 15, 2011 Leave a comment

The people have spoken. Congratulations Mamata Banerjee and her motley crew of the (All India) Trinamool Congress. The Left Front was in power for 34 years, more than a generation, always with an overwhelming majority.

Many feel disconcerted that the AITC, and in particular Mamata Banerjee, does not have a discernible political philosophy. I would say that in this election the people have rejected political philosophy as a basis for governance. But it is not difficult to argue that even the Indian National Congress has no political philosophy. Only the Left, and the ultra-right BJP, swear by political philosophies. And in general they keep getting rejected by the Indian public.

One might say that the rejection of political philosophy as a basis for governance is in fact an international phenomenon, seen both in the failure of fascist or right-wing dictatorships as well as of communist dictatorships to survive a proper election.

Sabotage by Lalu loyalists?

June 2, 2009 Leave a comment

The profits of Indian Railways have made headlines in recent times. What has not is the fact that despite the rail minister being from the East for the last 10 years (and on several occasions before), the trains in Eastern India have the worst service records. Here trains start late and arrive later, the toilets are dirtier than hell, the passenger compartments are as dirty as toilets elsewhere, and so are the stations. The trains stop wherever and whenever, without any apparent reason. Often the real reason is that some passengers pulled the chain to stop the train, just so that they can get of somewhere close to their homes. Bihar is reputed to be the worst state in the country in this regard, trains going through Bihar are low on passenger safety, seat reservations are routinely ignored by local passengers, and complaints are routinely dismissed by the travelling staff as well as the railway police in Bihar.

Now a new drama unfolds as the ministry changes hands from a known corrupt Bihari, Lalu Prasad Yadav, who misapprpriated thousands of crores in his various avatars, to a known clean Bengali, Mamata Banerjee. It seems that the day Mamata took charge, an order was issued to cancel 33 unprofitable halts, all in Bihar. This was done without the knowledge of the new minister, but the timing was perfect to make the Bihari consider it a snub on Bihar. And trains burned — railway property worth crores went up in smoke.

Why were the halts there in the first place? To get voted for Lalu, of course. That didn’t quite work, Lalu got wiped out in the elections. but people had gotten used to the new halts — especially the fact that there are no tickets to be bought at any of these.

Quite clearly, the stories of improved law and order in Bihar under Nitish Kumar is not much more than a myth. Bihar is as it was.

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