Why West Bengal and Kerala lag behind other states?

Bengal wooes Ratan Tata, Kerala removes Tata Tea Board!
West Bengal agri/rural sector continues to boil!

The CPM is finding itself  at a receiving end. Jyoti Basu, the veteran is called out from his retirement and he is batting for the Chief Minister, Budhdeb Bhattacharya who is at his wit’s end, it seems!

Jyoti Basu wondered whether the PM knows the ground realities in Nandigram where there is a continuing battle between Mamata Banerji-led opposition agitations against acquiring agricultural land for industry. The CPM cadres, says Basu, numbering about two thousand are living outside Nandigram, in fear, in refugee camps and what the Central government is doing, is the tone of Basu’s speech.

The truth is somewhere else!
Mamata Banerjee is the Opposition leader in the state and she is handicapped by lack of numbers in the Assembly. So, she knows one tactics and that is to resort to direct action and block the progress of any work at Nandigram. She has succeeded in the manner she wants and the comrades, long used to their tactics, are now feeling helpless when events took a different shape.

In fact, the use of the state machinery, more so the police machinery to serve the party and partisan interests of the ruling party is now an established fact. This is so ,not only in West Bengal and even in other states too, like TN. So, the Supreme Court has come  out with suggestions to pass a new police act in line with so much of the bad experience of the past, to put in bluntly.

A few of the suggestions are: a new act that would make appointment of the higher officers like the Director General of Police to a fixed term of two years, to form a security commission, a police complaint authority and a police establishment  board to over see transfers and separate the investigation and the day-to-day work of the police.

Those who are following the developments in West Bengal know well how the police has been misused and how the Calcutta High Court has ordered a CBI enquiry in the police firing on March 14 and the death of some 14 persons earlier.

So, the state government’s credibility in running its administration is at a low point.
The anti-land acquisition agitation by Mamata Banerjee and others is portrayed in the media and in the academia as a clearly planned anti-Left government in the state. It has taken some ideological positions. The Left, accustomed to bulldoze the popular mood all these last 30 odd years of rule, hasn’t let any dissent, democratic dissent to grow in the state. There is in reality an attempt to suppress the popular perceptions of the route the state government has taken to industrialise the state economy that was deliberatively kept backward by highlighting their land reforms all these years.

There is much irony to talk of Bengal model and Kerala model of development by so-called intellectuals and apologists for the Left regimes!

In Bengal, there is a steady decline in economic development. In agriculture sector, owner-cultivators(whoever they are and whatever actual cultivation they do) have declined from 64.07 lakhs in 1991 to 56.54 lakhs in 2001 and as a consequence the rank of landless labour rose in numbers, from 46 per cent to 56 per cent during the same time(Economic and Political Weekly, June 2,2007.More seriously, the Nandigram flare-up has a long historical roots. The same EPW article traces the trouble from Quint India days when Nandigram with 27 villages in three gram panchayat areas ,though Left-dominated, yet  the whole Taluk subdivision declared itself independent during the 1942 national agitation! So, a resurgence of militancy in this Left-strong hold came as surprise for the Left government but not as a surprise for those who watched the development from outside!

So, what we see in Bengal is a process of officially-sponsored “pauperisation” of the peasant community. You indulge in this pauperisation for remaining in power for 30 years and then you have a brainwave for  big industry and you resort to strong arm tactice in uprooting the very same pauperised peasantry!

In Kerala too we see the same strong arm tactics. You play up cheap publicity gimmick and invoke Tatas’ imperialism and the Chief Minister himself goes on a padaya yatra to remove the name board  of the Tata Tea Company and say you have “recovered the encroached land” which was in fact the forest land assigned to the Tatas!

Kerala presents a contrast in the sense where the Left, dominated alike by the CPM which has in fact become a commercial establishment. It has now taken bribes and justifies it! The state’s only grace is that is receives foreign remittances to the tune of 11 billion dollars(Rs 44,000  crores)a year and survives by this funds inflow! Is this the Marxist path to development? No single private enterprise has come so far! Even the IT industry giants, Tatas and Infosys have only a token presence!

Unemployment? It is what is conveniently hidden behind the verbiage! One panchayat advertises for a job, lakhs of applications crowd the panchayat office! That is Kerala for you!
In Bengal, the situation is still worse. All the development indicators, education, health or infrastructure are brushed aside by experts and intellectuals in the case of the Bengal regime! Bengal is by now a backward state! When compared with the more bourgeois states like Karnataka or AP or other states. Being in power for 30 years hasn’t proved any truth. That is now proved by the armed  CPM cadres own actions! “Local committees” through which the CPM consolidated the one-party rule is the one explanation for the 30 year repeated electoral victory. It is now very like the goonda raj deployed by the regional parties in other states. See TN!

Much more hilarious is the speeches and decisions of the  Polit Bureau. See the decisions in selecting the Presidential candidate. Or, in the enforcement of the discipline, you expell both the Chief Minister and the Party Secretary! Then, what is left of in the party in the state?
And every day, in every turn you drive a negative idea in the Centre’s industrial policy. You talk of price rise but you don’t have a policy to prevent farmer’s suicides or revive agriculture! What sort of development model the Left wants the rest of the country to believe in?
The Left parties and government seem to thrive only on negative and cynical mindsets! A great pity!

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