Anna, Mamata And A Pro-People Economic Agenda : Opportunities Lost Through Shortsightedness

Did a change that was about to take place in the country actually get shaken off, stopped or ended? In his final press conference, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the country’s economy has reached the stage at which the economy stood in 1991. Manmohan Singh said it, so it must be correct, but some economists say that the economy today has reached a worse stage than in 1991. Perhaps that is why the Government has made a programme to mortgage gold on a large scale. Then what happened in these 22 years? This is the question, and neither the Prime Minister nor the Finance Minister will give the reply to this question, but the answer to this question is hidden in another question. Now, should one call this a question or an answer, that must be decided by the readers.
When Manmohan Singh was the Finance Minister, at that time the number of Naxalite affected districts in the country was forty; when Manmohan Singh became the Prime Minister, at that time the number of Naxalite affected districts was about sixty; and now when Manmohan Singh is leaving the Prime Minister’s post, the number of Naxalite affected districts is more than 272. The number of Naxalite affected areas increased rapidly because market-based economic policies or the open economy stopped development in different parts of the country, left the development of the country in the hands of the market, and the market undertakes development only where it has faith on the purchasing power of the people. Elsewhere the market does not do anything. Therefore, whether it is Gujarat or some other State, infrastructure development took place only in those areas which are around towns. This fact cannot be denied in any way. The market has accepted that seventy per cent of the people in the country are beyond its reach, therefore development did not reach those sections. Where development did not reach and where the Government pulled back its hand from the problems of the people, from education, from providing health and employment, there Naxalism reached. This Naxalism prevails in almost all the border territories of the country and the Government is not daring to fight it. Naxalism cannot be fought through guns, because Naxalism puts a gun in the hands after the hope of erasing hunger has ended. This is a thought or view — a thought or view that can be combated with an economic policy that is for the good of the people. In 1991 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had made a speech that we are bringing in an open economy, we are bringing in the market, so that electric power can reach everywhere in the country, roads can reach everywhere, communication can reach, education can reach, poverty can be removed and employment can increase. But nothing like that has happened. The market puts its emphasis on those things which could empty out people’s pockets of money. Mobiles reached everywhere. Mobiles are supposed to be a means of communication, but more than that they are a means to fill the pockets of mobiles communication companies.
If we recall, these very mobiles companies looted multi-billion rupees from our country simply by sending air waves on which not a single paisa needs to be spent. If we look at the difference between today’s call rates and the call rates of six years ago, then we will realise how many billions of rupees have gone from our pockets into the pockets of the mobiles companies. But employment did not come into the hands of the people, education did not come, electricity did not come. And today the Prime Minister says that we are standing at the stage of 1991. What is called an open economy or a market based economy, this economy is against the poor of the

Even if Mamata Banerjee did not tour the country with a pro-people economic agenda, it was Anna Hazare’s duty as a revered saintly person to take the pro-people economic agenda and tour the entire country with it. And in these elections, whether he campaigned for somebody or not, he should not have left the pro-people economic agenda. He left that economic agenda and it was here and in this that a saintly person separated himself from the problems and sorrows of the people.

country. Various communities of people live in India, there are tribals, there are Dalits, there are the backward sections, there are Muslims. There is poverty to such an extent that even so called upper caste people are almost in the same category as the Dalits and the Muslims. Those in whose homes money does not reach, they may remain puffed up with their caste snobbery, but their condition is no different from that of Dalit or Muslim society, and indeed it can be said that at some places Dalit society and Muslim society is better off than them. This situation can be combated with an alternative economy.
After long years, the announcement of such an alternative economy was first made by Anna Hazare and he placed the form and character of this alternative economy before the people of the country. No other political party responded to this form and character of his alternative economy, but out of the crowd of political parties, Mamata Banerjee supported Anna Hazare’s economic programme, which is an alternative economic programme. Anna Hazare welcomed the support and both began to talk of bringing change in the country together at the political level. Votaries of the market based economy felt that if their voice is raised, the poor will side with them and join them. Therefore, they tried their best to separate Anna Hazare and Mamata Banerjee and they were successful in doing so. Such people, who get funds from abroad, live abroad and are agents of Union Minister Jairam Ramesh — they went to Anna Hazare. Agents from the Aam Aadmi party also reached Anna and they made him understand that if he supported a political party, then the ‘sin’ of breach of his fasting, breach of his devotion would be on him, the same kind of ‘sin’ that had ‘come upon’ the sage Vishwamitra.
Anna Hazare is a saintly person and saintly people have a big weakness. They worry less about the public and more about their own image and it was this weakness that separated Anna Hazare from the battle of bringing about major changes in the country. Those people made Anna Hazare understand that there would be the blot on him of breaking his resolve to not support political parties. This blot appeared to be a big blot to Anna Hazare, his own image appeared bigger and the problems and suffering of the people, their ailments, their lack of education, inflation and unemployment seemed lighter, therefore in one jerk he broke a force that was in the making, that was being built up.
I do not wish to use harsh words, but it was with a great lack of seriousness and consideration that he announced leaving Mamata Banerjee. On the other side, how much Mamata Banerjee was in favour of a pro-people agenda also became known. In West Bengal she took up the agenda of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and ousted the Marxist Party from power. But her resolve to fight for the people in the country was not as strong or perhaps she did not have enough self confidence to do so. Mamata Banerjee’s language is Bengali or English. She could not muster the courage to be part of the election campaigns in Hindi speaking States. Perhaps she felt that with her Hindi she would not be able to communicate in Hindi-speaking States, whereas it was not so. Mamata Banerjee’s Hindi is quite good, but what can you say of your own understanding and what can you say about those people who have kept Mamata Banerjee their captive in a way. Those people through whose eyes Mamata Banerjee is seeing the world are themselves afflicted with a problem of language in a way. It seems to them that those people living in West Bengal are the greatest, the best, and those people living in north India are not the greatest or best. The people of north India seem to them in a manner to be immature, insensitive and those who do not fulfill promises or commitments. Despite there being so many weaknesses with Mamata Banerjee’s, there was still faith that she would take the pro- people economic agenda and tour all over the country with it, but she too preferred it more to tour in West Bengal. But in this Mamata Banerjee is less at fault and Anna Hazare is more at fault. Even if Mamata Banerjee did not tour the country with a pro-people economic agenda, it was Anna Hazare’s duty as a revered saintly person to take the pro-people economic agenda and tour the entire country with it. And in these elections, whether he campaigned for somebody or not, he should not have left the pro-people economic agenda. He left that economic agenda and it was here and in this that a saintly person separated himself from the problems and sorrows of the people. Today, all the different kinds of saintly persons that we see, be they Hindu or Muslim, or those sitting in Dargahs, or sitting in temples, or sitting in churches, they all do not keep much in touch with the problems and sufferings of the people. They take the people into an imaginary world and suggest to them the solution to their problems, that you will get this and this after you die. In other words, Anna Hazare too has done something like this.
On signals from Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, foreign funded NGOs told Anna Hazare after the 2014 elections end you should call a meeting for the elections of 2019 and you should form a political group. Anna Hazare is 76 years old and those who have been ‘explaining’ things to Anna know very well that till 2019, it cannot be said whether nature will allow Anna to remain healthy. Today Anna Hazare is afflicted with a number of ailments. He has back pain, there is pain in his backbone because one of the vertebras has degenerated. Anna has acidity and other and some other diseases as well, but Anna still has the courage to keep going. But those people frightened him and showed him the fear of such an intimidating possibility of a smear or taunt which would never have been cast on him. But the new neo-liberal economy or the open economy is dangerous for this country. Today Naxalism is in the villages, in small cities, but tomorrow Naxalism will reach Mumbai’s Dalal Street and Nariman Point. The Government will want to combat it with guns, with helicopters, but it will not happen. And when it will not happen, the country will reach a situation of tension, the result of which can be anarchy and can also be civil war. Foreign powers and forces want this to happen. Foreign powers and forces want anarchy in the country and some people are openly advocating the spreading of anarchy in the country in the name of the people. They are talking of problems of the people not being solved at the top of their voices, which people are liking, yet they do not spell out any alternative method, but talk of implementing the same economy which has created conditions like soaring prices, corruption, communalism, Naxalism and lawlessness and anarchy. Therefore, it is the duty of the people in the country, whether they are in a party or not, whether they are intellectuals or not, whether they are farmers or not, traders or not, but are citizens of this country, to oppose the economy that is standing against the country, standing against the poor and raise their voices for implementation of that economy which we call people oriented or a pro-people economy. If this does not happen, then once again I want to say that this country will gradually advance towards anarchy.

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