Is there any basic economic or political ideological thinking?
Prakash Karat, the CPI (M) general secretary is now a sad men so, too the others like the much-talking comrades, from D.Raja to Sitaram Yechury and vetran Pranab Bhardan and the others. Where have all the Bengal comrades gone? Why no tremor or any noise?
What has happened? In Tripura one left leader made a mockery of leftism by speeding on bundles of currency notes and he was thrown out! In Kerala it is riches and riches all the way about comrades lifestyles!
So, we are all now suddenly rich and famous? Our leftist credentials or pretensions are thrown away?
Even such luminaries like Prof.Amartya Sen, a long time supporter of the Bengal Left, also the Kerala Left too for he was always popular in the Southern state and honestly the Malayalee leftists had a genuine interest in the Harvard economist visiting them often. One more halt of Sen was Chennai where he found congenial company with The Hindu newspaper owners. Mr.N.Ram, the proprietor of the newspaper, was a long time comrade and as such he was welcome to express his views freely and fearlessly.
Now, all this cosy atmosphere is gone. With the Aam Aadmi party winning the elections in Delhi, the whole premise of Indian ideological spectrum looks a bit hazy and unbalanced. Now, Prakash Karat, the lone voice on the left, writes in his magazine about the AAP evading responsibility to clarify its ideological positions.
What ideological positions?
In the latest issue of the London Financial Times Weekend review the editorial almost touches on such issues like what happened in Latin America when the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela who so long he thrived he was a showman of sorts for a type of politics that was populist, authoritarian, not so looking and he as at the same time a villain and a nationalist as well.
We seem to be coming to grips with some ideological questions only now when the Congress is entering into a real contest with Narendra Modi-led rightwing politics and also with the Congress party also having shed all pretensions to principles, having taken to mindless populism of its own type and vast scale.
The series of huge subsidies that are now handed out in various forms had reached a stage that we have a real economic crisis. Every word the finance minister utters and other ministers don’t utter are born out of the unmanageable government deficits, government debts and also other debts like NPAs of PUS banks and also coupled with high inflation, food inflation in particular and there is no prospect of chance to regain the growth momentum unless someone calls the spade a spade.
What is populism, who is all populists?
The Latin American countries in the 1990s were caught in the belt tightening and very soon we saw the rise of a number of Latin American countries arising out of nowhere promising the moon and the common man was caught in euphoria.
Chavez was the leader of this brigade. Soon populist and leftist governments came along. Venezuela’s economy was typical. Chaos, social divisions, high murder rates, near bankruptcy had all led to leftist and populist governments.
India presents a clear case of a government that had abandoned all prudent economic management, what we often call these days, governance and the only special feature of the Indian economy and society are the liberal subsidies. The subsidies reached ridicule limits and also ridicule forms.
May be India might be the only country with states and also parties that came out with very innovative subsidies. Free colour TV sets, to free rice to free goats and cows and also free land!
The DMK is the original inventor of these of these extravagant subsidies. Very soon the rival ADMK followed suit with free wet grinder to what have you. Now in every state these subsidies have taken very fancy forms. As for the Centre there is the unprecedented rural employment subsidy. Now, there are the promised food security and other subsidies.
Even the Supreme Court could not come to a decision. It asked the Election Commission to in out giving subsidies is a criminal offence under electoral mal practices and the EC is pondering over how to go about this issue.
So, where is the need for expert economists like Dr.Manmohan Singh to bring back some norms for economic growth?
The only special contribution of India to the ideological debate is the issue of large scale government corruption. And also the debate on the Lokpal Bill.
And what AAP has done is to mobilise the masses, no not even the masses, it is the urban middle class and the youth who for a combination of factors, the gang rape in Delhi and Anna Hazare fast got galvanised the urban disillusionment into a popular uprising. This brought about a dramatic change in voting.
The social media plus the Delhi-centric media companies also contributed to the AAP victory. But how long this thin-ended populism, a sort of anarchical Maoist and also to some extent some type of leftist pretensions for austerity etc had contributed to the current outcome.
But then the CPI (M) is dead and gone. The Indian social dynamics is such that you have to figure out your caste and regional outcomes. You have to align with the regional castes and communities.
This the Communists are not accustomed to. Also, the AAP is also skating on a thin ice. It had already shed its pretensions for austerity!
It also has sidelined its key promise to tackle corruption in high places.
Why silent so far? How long can you sustain free water and electricity?
Very soon you have to come to grips with your genuine positions and commitments to draw investments, private and FDI. Let us not be shy. We have to welcome private capitalism! Private capital from domestic and foreign capitalists.
Can it by any name.This is the harsh truth. Also some basic ideological position on private property, individual liberty. You have to solve a range of services.
Otherwise, youth would soon become disillusioned. No private investment, no growth, no employment.
AAP is as of now a grossly populist party and nothing else. Whether they would go the same way like all other populist outfits, only time can only tell.
There is one reality.
You can’t run a government on shallow promises and pretensions.