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Another 5 years for Mamata despite 'little focus' on economy, development?

By NS Venkataraman* 

I am not in politics. However, I am a close political observer for the last several years. I try to objectively analyse the movement of politics and politicians to the best of my ability, without having any prejudice or love or hate for any political outfit or political philosophy.
In my capacity as chemical engineer, I was working in a factory in West Bengal several years back, when Jyoti Basu was the Chief Minister of the state. Before moving to West Bengal, I worked in a factory in Kerala in a chemical plant. When I was working in Kerala too, I have seen Marxist government in the state.
I was gheroed in West Bengal for second time, after being gheroed in Kerala for the first time. Nevertheless, I have not allowed this bitter experience to influence my overall impression about both these states, which have unique and laudable features.
During my working in West Bengal, I became a sincere admirer of Bengalis for variety of positive reasons.
I always felt that if Bengal were to get a progressive government with national outlook with a knowledgeable and earnest Chief Minister, West Bengal could become one of the most prosperous states in the country. It has no reason not to be so. Though Jyoti Basu was a highly cultured and civilized person, he could not stop violent and hate politics in West Bengal for whatever reasons, though he could successfully maintain his image as a decent and respectable person.
Now that Mamata Banerjee has been the Chief Minister of West Bengal for 10 years as unquestioned founder leader of Trinamul Congress, I feel she has not utilized the opportunity to benefit the state to the extent needed, given the massive mandate she has had.
During her 10 years rule, violent incidents have remained unabated in West Bengal and her image and claim that she was a street fighter has not helped the matter.
I observed how Mamata Banerjee entered a police station in the state and forced the police to release a worker belonging to her party, who was arrested by the police for some offence. My immediate feeling was: How could a Chief Minister do such a thing. I started wondering as to whether any other Chief Minister has done similar act in any state in India. I could not find another example.
I am not particularly impressed by several of the criticisms made against her such as appeasing minority community
Since this happened during the beginning of her first term, I thought she would improve her public conduct and refrain from similar acts in future. Though she did not repeat such a tantrum, the language that she has been using frequently, even as Chief Minister of the state, to criticise the leaders of the opposition parties has not helped create a conducive atmosphere to end the violent atmosphere in the state.
At the same time, I am not particularly impressed by several of the criticisms made against her such as appeasing minority community, allowing her nephew to interfere in government and party affairs etc. However, I cannot but note that she has not been able to inculcate a climate of economic and industrial growth in the state to any significant level.
The ground reality and the fact is that Mamata Banerjee was focusing more in political acts rather than acts relating to economy and development and her Chief ministership has been weighing more towards political aspects rather than on development and economic aspects. This scenario would become clear to any observer with regard to economic development registered in West Bengal during the last ten years.
In short, it has been noisy West Bengal that she is leading rather than a dignified and progressive West Bengal that Bengalis richly deserve and need.
So has West Bengal experimented enough with Mamata Banerjee’s Chief Ministership, and should the state give way to another leader as Chief Minister, who may have possibly a different approach? Can West Bengal afford another five years of the type of leadership that Mamata Banerjee could provide?
Perhaps, West Bengal needs a Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister of the neighbouring state Odisha. He should be the bench mark for dignified governance. Of course, I do not suggest which should be other political party that should come to power in West Bengal after the election.
Can any one reasonably hope that Mamata Banerjee would give a different type of more positive leadership in the next five years than what she has done in the last ten years? If somebody would entertain such hope, wouldn’t it end up as Utopian expectation and as calculated risk?
---
*Trustee, Nandini Voice for The Deprived, Chennai

Comments

Mudit Jain said…
All governments in India both at the state and central level have kept India backward compared to its poorer Asian neighbours in the past but who are now far ahead of India economically. So the logical answer would be to outsource governments as it is only about power without responsibility towards their people.

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