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Posts Tagged ‘West Bengal’

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.

Mines and Maoists

May 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Today’s paper carries the headlines that Maoists have asked Mittal to keep his hands off the mines of Jharkhand. I am a little surprised that this is headline news, because I thought it was obvious the tribal areas were seeing a lot of violent protests — and often Maoism — because mining activities kept displacing the tribals and destroying the means of their livelihood. There is a clear historical correlation between Maoist activity and displacement. There is no information on the MOUs signed between the state governments and the mining companies, and these are treated as secret by the governments. So it would seem that the companies and the governments have something to hide. Perhaps headlines like these will make more people want to find out exactly what is going on between the mining companies and the tribals.

Bengal’s Ceausescu

January 10, 2010 2 comments

Jyoti Basu is in intensive care since the beginning of the new year. He was put on the ventilator on the 6th. Of course, under his rule, the state went on the ventilator many years ago, and has not come out yet.

Categories: Calcutta, Politics Tags: ,

Rats on a sinking ship

November 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Story here and here.

Categories: Calcutta, Politics Tags: ,

Escalation of violence

July 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Wednesday saw a new level of violence in the politics of West Bengal, when nine Congress MLAs visiting Mangalkot were chased across paddy fields, stoned and beaten up, while their `police protection’ stood by and watched. The chief secretary of the state, perhaps in a poor attempt to emulate Marie Antoinette, asked why the MLAs always had to visit troubled areas like Mangalokot, Khejuri and Darjeeling.

Then on Thursday, Congress supporters took to the streets, torched buses, blocked roads and rail stations, made commuters walk home. Now congress has called a strike in the state.

The question of who started it is irrelevant. It is easy to blame the CPI(M) for letting law and order degenerate to the levels that MLAs can get beaten up. But if Congress takes the route of violence so easily, should they expect people to vote for them in the next election? Are they better than the CPI(M)? Or do they plan to project themselves as the lesser of the two evils? I am afraid the TMC will walk away with the election in that case, because many people have long memories of an evil congress.

Categories: Calcutta, Politics Tags: ,

The end of CPI(M)?

July 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Front pages carried the news today that V.S. Achuthanandan has been sacked from the politburo of CPI(M) — the party he helped found — without a vote. His fault was to have supported a CBI inquiry into the allegations of corruption against Pinarayi Vijayan. So CPI(M), which increasingly appears to be run solely by Prakash Karat, decided to punish a sitting Chief Minister for saying that the Law must take its course.

In a strange coincidence, Jyoti Basu passed out and almost passed away. Also on the front pages.

Categories: Politics Tags: ,