Tuesday, December 6, 2011

India: Blind men of Indostan ?

FDI retail: Divergent views of political parties like BJP, Trinamool & Left

7 DEC, 2011, 07.50AM IST,
C L Manoj
Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, with political play, too. How do various political leaders look at the temporary freeze on the proposal to allow majority foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail, aided by Mamata, the Opposition and the dithering Congress, resisted by Manmohan Singh and mourned by India Inc?

Never mind his spicy sound bites for TV, Prakash Karat could have mixed feelings. Happy - that the badly-mauled and ejected Left could still block the 'ideologically-incorrect' policy decision of the UPA-II. Bewildered - never in the recent past could the Left get the Indian Right, the BJP, to play pupil to its discourse on reform.

But what should keep Karat privately engaged is the worrisome part of the Mamata power-play; that the Trinamool Congress chief is not merely satisfied by capturing the Writers Building or by decimating the once-invincible CPI-M organisation in many parts of West Bengal. She, in fact, now aims to make her party 'the Super Left': the de facto 'grassroots'Communist Party of India (Mamata) of Bengal and Delhi by hijacking the original Marxists' 'pro-poor and anti-reform' planks.

The post-poll Trinamool seems to work on two principles: 'the dictatorship of proletarian Didi' and 'the insecurity of the confused administrator Didi'. It shouldn't be a problem for her to get the entire party to turn left, even if that would, alas, make poor Amit Mitra formally bid tearful farewell to his pro-reform industry and bhadralok gallery, which had wished him Godspeed in ushering in a reformist era in 'the liberated den of socialism'!

On this Mamata remake, the CPI-M's and Left Front's political worries are no lesser than Dr Mitra's personal depression. If Mamata is stealing the CPI-M toolbox, where does that leave the Marxists? One way out is to revisit B T Ranadive's Calcutta thesis, which called for armed rebellion against the state, outradicalising the Maoists.

Or, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee can Speed Post an old copy of Shripad Amrit Dange's 'unity and struggle with the Congress' thesis to AKG Bhavan and Ajoy Bhavan where Sitaram Yechury and A B Bardhan are updating/reworking their respective ideological/tactical lines.

There are two ways to fight an enemy advancing menacingly: risk martyrdom in a head-on assault or cut through the enemy's backend logistics. Maybe, lending a careful ear to Pranab babu would help the Left tap the Congress' new thinking on Mamata, just when the comrades are set for political and tactical overhaul.

For the BJP, the choice is cosmetic: how to clothe itself when politics is hotting up with UPA in its troubled second half, key assembly polls at hand and the party's own leadership plot sizzling. The Hindutva BJP may also have a strong pro-reform DNA. But when the party is not in power, why not send that pro-reforms avatar on tactical leave? After all, why should the BJP help the ruling regime change the discourse and come out of its self-grown shell?


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