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Mamata’s returning to power would push Bengal towards economic doom

Mamata Banerjee, Indira Gandhi, Mamata regime

Politics

Mamata’s returning to power would push Bengal towards economic doom

The Combination of ‘grievances’ of faceless Hindu voters as the Mamata regime obstructed Durga idol immersion vis-a-vis Muharram procession and objections for words like Krishnakali (a flower) and Ramdhanu (for rainbow) and desertion of Trinamool leaders created ground for BJP’s growth. And as Left parties were cornered, the anti-Didi voters turned to the BJP fold. She is further complicating things for herself. What will it take to stop the downfall? Mamata has targeted ‘outsiders’ called BJP leaders and workers from Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. She says even the CRPF are to be blamed, and that ‘fear mongering’ or playing the victim card, she could even be ‘murdered’! This is not just the victim card. It is sensationalism. Writes Nirendra Dev

The students of Hindu philosophy take a fancy for the doctrine of Karma.  Lalu Prasad lost Bihar assembly elections in 2005. For Indira Gandhi’s Emergency, it was the anguish of the electorate. Is the story being repeated now in West Bengal? In 2011, Bengal gave up its love for ‘communists’ and embraced Didi. People get the leader they deserve. All these come down to Karma logic. Progress and change can be sometimes automatic.

There was nothing wrong in being ‘secular’ and even emulating the communists and becoming more Left than the Leftists. The fault line for Mamata Banerjee lay in her doing of ‘excessive minority appeasement’. Mamata Banerjee also presumed that as the communists ruled over the state with all their ills and hypocrisy for 34 years, it was her turn for the next three decades. There would be no alternative once the Left was pushed into the margins. She had swallowed Congress already. Hence, she dreamt of a national role. In 2014, the Ram Lila Ground show was a big failure. Excess of everything is not good. In her arrogance of power and over confidence, she brought in her nephew in the power structure and made him ‘more powerful’ than the party!

The Combination of ‘grievances’ of faceless Hindu voters as the Mamata regime obstructed Durga idol immersion vis-a-vis Muharram procession and objections for words like Krishnakali (a flower) and Ramdhanu (for rainbow) and desertion of Trinamool leaders created ground for BJP’s growth. And as Left parties were cornered, the anti-Didi voters turned to the BJP fold. She is further complicating things for herself. What will it take to stop the downfall? Mamata has targeted ‘outsiders’ called BJP leaders and workers from Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. She says even the CRPF are to be blamed, and that ‘fear mongering’ or playing the victim card, she could even be ‘murdered’ ! This is not just the victim card. It is sensationalism.

Her appeal to Muslim voters to ‘unite’ to help her and urging to the women voters to ‘gherao’ central forces have provoked strong reactions from the Election Commission.

The Trinamool leaders must realise that as the panic had gripped the party, still there is need to analyse how costly all these politicking could be?

And the voters in Bengal, the decades of easy money for some sections like ‘unemployment stipend’ and freebies have spoiled them. This malady is seen in Tamil Nadu and also in Delhi. People have learnt to consume ‘more’ (free items) than they can afford. The helpless state government(s) – in Bengal or otherwise – make up these losses by borrowing. Even the middle class has developed a liking for freebies and special concessions. West Bengal’s state coffers were in dire straits in 2011 and Mamata Banerjee was demanding a moratorium. Yet, no lesson was learnt.

Into another plane, New Delhi’s muffler man gave women free bus rides and Metro travel ! Today’s gain will definitely turn into pains in the long run. The sooner this plain economy is understood, it is better.

The economy has suffered in the past and is facing challenging times even now, with or without Covid19. To repeat an oft repeated statement, if there is a lesson everyone needs to learn is that there cannot be any free lunch. Welfarism is at the heart of every democratic polity, but the culture of ‘concessions’ must be discouraged. I say this in all my humility for media personnel also. Today’s economy makes one thing clear, if you need a service, be ready to pay for it. Cockroaches in Rajdhani train compartment or dirty toilet is a bad thing any day, no matter what the concession percentage is!

Mamata as a populist believed in the politics of freebies. Thus even if she had spoken about the ‘debt trap’ left by the communists in 2011 and she sought nearly Rs 40,000 crore, to be disbursed by the Centre mostly in the form of funding over two years, there have been reports of her putting pressure on her Finance Minister Amit Mitra to release funds. Comparatively, even Leftist Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta was better in managing things and would veto government spending at times. Here is a concrete example, in 2011 after coming to power, to meet the widening revenue gap, the Mamata government borrowed approximately Rs 10,000 crore from the market, nearly half of which were spent within 60 days. Practically, her FM Mitra was with a narrow borrowing limit of Rs 7,000 crore for the rest of 2011-12.

Things hardly changed at the later stage. Now if she returns to power, there will be more pressure because of her tall election promises mostly revolving around the good old theory of ‘freebies’. If she does not, the new incoming regime will have to deal with the ‘near-collapse’ of the state’s financial system. People of West Bengal could win the crucial battle against fear and show doors to the Trinamool regime, but they should be also prepared to face the ‘wake-up’ call. Economically things could actually turn more challenging than it is now? We could well get into a time frame when it could be difficult to do what is manifestly obvious.

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