A little bit more than patriotism. A little bit lower than jingoism. ---
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Nothing new about Rahul Gandhi's 'anti-development' agenda
For long the aggressive socialism and controlled economy had created an atmosphere in the country that to make profit in business is a crime. And entrepreneurship an art of a fraud. Rahul Gandhi is bringing back the debate to this syndrome often tried in Bollywood films : rich is bad and poor is good.
Though I never considered the world of business 'as a game by paragons of virtues', it's also true, depriving development in the country also is anti-thesis to survival of the very farmers, the Congress vice president in his revive-the-career venture is trying to protect. Long before the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) started to work, the general election 2014 was already described as a watershed in the history of India.
All elections are easily dubbed as polls everybody is excited about. The 2014 general elections were still different. Long before the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) started to work, people were looking for a few radical changes - beyond the cosmetic 'transition' of power as often it used to be.
The results later was only an ample proof of that excitement. It was a vote for a change. But in that transition was also clamour for an elementary difference. The results finally in favour of Narendra Modi and not so much for BJP or Hindutva variety of politics was due to obvious fact that Modi represented different aspirations to different sets of people. Modi was actually rewarded for his promise about 'performance' at a time when country was clamouring for the need of tax and labor market reforms, some of them drastically essential ones !
Everybody hoped for a gradual opening up to foreign investment and to create millions of jobs.
Near about a year since in power, expectedly there is already talk about Modi government's 'delivery' and 'performance'. To middle class and educated lot, Modi’s appeal was more fundamental to economy. He was and nevertheless still is the Economic Reformer the middle class Indian and the army of netizens smitten by social networking bug were looking for. Others perhaps wanted him to deliver at the rate and under the system government and the country was used to : entitlement. The Congress party and Rahul Gandhi's post-sabbatical variety of politics has only revived that 'entitlement' style of politics. This is what is basically the 'pro-farmers' politics in the town. The suicide at Jantar Mantar could only intensify the debate further that the farming community is anguished at what's going on in the country in the name of development and the new Land Acquisition Law the Modi regime is trying to bring in.
Given its numerical strength in Rajya Sabha, Congress played the very usual card, it has played earlier: "Inko Kaam he nahi karne denge' (WE WILL NOT ALLOW MODI'S GOVERNMENT PERFORM)".
Congress party and Rahul Gandhi are not new to this strategy. They did this to V P Singh when Rahul's papa Rajiv used to raise childish issue like why Governor Jagmohan was sitting on the right of the then Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal. Over the decades, especially since Indira Gandhi era, Congress has devoted crores to its hyped welfare schemes -- sexily named after the members of the dynasty - likes of Hospitals to Rajiv Gandhi electricity programmes - but did ensure onething mostly sending the economic management to disarray. The Congress decisions were largely guided by vote bank politics. There have been international studies like Mckinsey Global on the eve of elections in 2014 which claim that over 680 million Indians do not have sufficient access to clean water, schools and health services.
I have stated in these blog columns earlier that voters across states said they would rather prefer a new approach. It is in this context, I would cite the instance of Muslim voters in known ‘secular’ bastions like Mainpuri (Mulayam Singh Yadav’s fiefdom) where the common people were talking of performance or the absence of it. But Rahul Gandhi is speaking different language. He has in the past planned his trip and accordingly sabotaged developmental projects in Odisha. In her now famous letter to Sonia Gandhi, former Environment Minister Jayanti Natrajan clearly says, "Shri Rahul Gandhi went in person to Niyamgiri Hills in Odisha, and publicly declared to the Dongria Kondh tribals that he would be their “sipahi” and would not allow their interests to suffer at the hands of mining giant Vedanta. His views in the matter were conveyed to me by his office, and I took great care to ensure that the interests of the tribals were protected and rejected environmental clearance to Vendanta despite tremendous pressure from my colleagues in cabinet, and huge criticism from industry for what was described as “stalling” a Rs. 30,000 crore investment from Vedanta." Odisha leaders too have spoken on these lines earlier.
Thus my take, Rahul Gandhi and his 'NGO' kind populism was witnessed well during UPA tenure too. It will thus not be wrong to say these only prove Rahul's 'anti-development' image !!
The proponents of neo-farmers friendly ought to appreciate that the absence of development affects farmers and the rural population in worst manner. What is required is right balance and ensuring that what's committed to the landowners is passed on to him. This is not being done.
It's in this context, CII new president Sumit Mazumder says about Land Bill: "Our country is not going to move forward and develop unless industrialisation takes place. Every country in the world has moved from agriculture to industrialisation...Industrialisation is very important for the growth of any country and that is why the Bill is very important. It has been drafted very carefully and is fair to all sides"
He may not be alone. Lord Swraj Paul too gave a pat on the back of Modi government. But more important issue is all these antics of 'revive Rahul career' agenda is actually harming country's development agenda and Modi government's reform agenda. How will Modi now cope with the renewed anti-development hysteria is a mystery. Some years back when Tata's prized Nano Car project was sabotaged in West Bengal, Modi as CM Gujarat had sent in a SMS to Ratan Tata, "welcome to Gujarat" and provided him land. Just recently, Tamil Nadu government cancelled 71.34 acres of land for Coca Cola project. The investment atmosphere is being vitiated and that's no good sign. (ends)