To start with, many on date in India & globally feel that Senonomics has fallen. I am perturbed by shallow views of many of my colleagues & friends. I started my corporate career at the time of VP Singh’s caste chronicles & LK Advani’s Rama mandir movement. In St Xavier’s the friends were equally divided among left & right , also in Scottish Church CP was a surprise entrant in the arena — a party that was a bonhomie of drunkards & opium/ LSD lovers , suddenly started getting patronage of scholars… so much so that to us –the left leaning students, it came as a whirlwind of surprise , but CP won so many college SU elections in the aftermath of a sympathy wave , a sympathy wave that saw Indiraji as a martyr & engulfed the slogan– MAAYER RAKTER PRATISHODH, CONGRESSKE SAB VOTE. In fact, that was a turnaround for Bengal politics. Bengalees accustomed to live under Left regime that took away land from middle classes. Can such middle classes be called bourgeoisie? Don’t know. But to become classless was a fad for my friends. I took Sandipandaa as my guru, & gradually realized that electoral politics has made the old guards of Maoism very helpless Even if the GS / President of the SA union did not want to stand up for students failed owing to lack of studies, they had to gherao the chamber of Mr Kalyan, the principal, & throw paper weights to him, intimidate & make him sign a paper issuing admit cards to students for HS exam , whom no sensible person would not want to sit for . Results naturally went pathetic. During my 7 days’ classes at Presidency, I found the stark diff with St Xavier’s where I was studying in the mornings. I saw that absence of politics calls for a discipline of sorts . Anyway, coming to the times, the scenario is St Xavier’s was not too good anyway. Students used to throw chalks & abuses to lecturers, & lecturers used to reply back stopping short of just calling students Bustards ( that citation earned Prof Shantanu , a gold medallist in Eco ) a very harsh award / reward . And, in 80s , when Bharatiya Janasangh was trying to gain the airs of Janta dal that was the immediate replica of Congress in Bengal & had Prafulla Sen , Vijay Singh Nahar & other stalwarts , there was clear fading of the Hindu attire , like the age old Load-shedding of Kolkata & Bengal , which became morbid earlier than most other metros, thanks to the stoppage of most of our Industries sans power plants. At that time, when I could take revenge of punishment from Mr Neogi, a maths lecturer, owing to my proximity to both SA & DSO, despite not being directly associated either. At that point of time , all debates used to circle around dialectic materialism or theory of evolution & involution. Des Capital, Communist Manifesto , Tolstoy, Anton Chekov, Nicolai Gogol, Fydor Dostovosky … & there were so many cheap Bengali versions of very great essays of Stalin, Lenin, Marx, Engels , Cruschev. But we also used to debate on Dr Zivago & Somerset Mom , on Keats , Ulysis & Sukanta. We loved Sushash Mukhujye, Shaktida,Sunilda, Nirenda , Sankhadaa equally, & we were fascinated by both Mao & Mark Twain. At that point, strong left ideologues were active , & the leaders that were out after a long battle of mastless defeat were divided in too many groups , & after SUCI created DSO, probably ultra lefts came out with IPF . But nowhere there was BJP in a big way , nor Hindu Mahasava. Politics was not discussed too much , in common rooms of Xavier’s as was a ritual in Scottish / Presidency canteens, but in debates & tea breaks what we could gather was that in most of colleges , other than the jumping brigade of SFI, who were trying to bounce back , was CP. How? We did not infer any violence with our mothers & sisters, nor the majority of fellow students . Yaa, there were a few of them , but they were mostly with SA / ABSA/ DSA. Shila of high repute in music , was with DSA, our batch-mate & do not know, why SFI & SA/DSA had the worst of rivalries –be it Scottish , or Presidency / JU. CP was either non-existent, or surprisingly, when CP won elections in most of medical colleges & to our surprise, doctor fraternity embraced CP as a better refuge compared to ultra left, SA shook hands with CP, to oust SFI from colleges. ( SA / DSA were college based, not organised like SFI) . In those days, our Marwari friends still did not join CPIM , CPIM’s inroads thru Jyoti Basu’s appeasement of Todis & Thapars & Neotias were slow ; our friends , who considered that Bengalees won’t get clerks’ jobs unless they shower that bounty & mercy on them , were with CP / Congress, & it took me long to assess the atrocities inflicted on our elders by a regime of mousers — the slaughters of 350—400 in deads of just 2—3 nights by Runu-Manu combine .
It may sound awkward, but I pose this question to the podium — we censor the Gujrat carnage . We seculars n liberals definitely censor the karseva & the madness of Dec 2002. I was an ACA by then & what I discovered during my CA study days & Lovelock / Pricewater days in the aftermath of qualifying, is that so many of my Bengalee friends & my Tamil friends & a handful of Kannarh n Malayalee friends that were, have all bathed in Hinduism by then. BJP was a party not of just Marhwaris as we flocks used to think, living in n around Barabazar & parts of Kankurgachhi n parts of Saltlake that went to them thru backdoors, but Kolkata was up for Punjabis, Marhwaris , & South Indians across big stretches of posh areas beyond Alipur , to New Alipur, to Jodhpur Park, to Lake gardens, to Golf Greens , & among the middle class Aiyars n Aiyengars that have been residing with our relatives for decades , at rents decided long before Rent Control Act, BJP happened as a reality. For students that started ranking in CA Inter & Final and pasing out in lone chances CA, ICWA , ICSI at a stretch , were not from Marhwari community alone , & the spread was so devoted to professions that very average numbers ( for many of them) in graduation did not mean anything for them, & this was a class 100% with BJP. The Bengalee ( & Kolkatan non-Bengalee) friends who were backbones of TISCO & TELCO– in audit, in accts, in Indl Engrg , in R&D , in shops as GETs / DETs were all with BJP by then , & for them, Ram Mandir was a symbol for upsurge of Hindus suppressed & oppressed for centuries , for them Muslim rule was no way with lesser malice than British rule. In Patna, BJP was a consolidation of above Yadavs, a combine for people other than MY-dalit – Kurmi ,– pandeys, Bhumihars , Rajputs, daily warring with each other & socially alienated to the brim were unified, when it came to BJP. Laluji had a solid brain & he had special affection for Babusahabs & a babusahab lady , he gave 3 top party slots to a Pandeyji, a Bhumihar, a Rajput & a Muslim. But if the people I am talking about, hailing from 1/more lala companies of Patna , as also local C&F / branch of MNC & Indian capital giants, looked down upon Yadavs . BJP made inroads into Yadav base by giving a top slot to mama of 1 my close friends.
I was not lucky yo be a part of Coffee House debates at regular intervals , but I was at North Kolkata Basant Cabin & we had good meeting points around Park Street , Loreto—Middleton , ICAI –Russel St & Sri Shikshayatan—Lord Sinha Rd. In some of the addas I asked some of friends, both male n female, how they can patronize any carnage ( luckily Godhra happened a decade later, when I was far away from Kol addas) & one of them , a Santoshpur slum resident , a friend from CIT Bldg Beliaghata & a friend from Sinthee Morh Baranagar / Banhooghly had one opinion in common,— they were sufferers of Congress massacres of 1970-74. They had lost some member or other in family during emergency. They personally do not support ultra left, but they have been told by their elders how some talents were carn aged at gun-points, similar to the 1971 liberation war of Bangladesh –the Muktisenas’ slaughters in the hands of Urdu imperialism. And, they believe, whatever the magnitude , Ram mandir carnage was even lower than the castist carnage broken open by Mr VP Singh. Could not gather their opinion, post Gujarat carnage, but believe they are much more liberal than the fanatic Hindus , who believe inside their hearts that a)Muslims deserved a befitting reply & that b) if they have to live in India & do not leave for Pak, they have to live as 2nd grade citizens like Srilankan Tamils . No, my said friends were not at that altitude , but when I studied extensively & discussed with several stalwarts in social polity as to the reason for depletion of Congress in Bengal , found, a mass remains in colonies of 60s & barracks / CIT buildings, slums & shanties, who have lost either 1/more sons, 1/more daughters, the bread earner fathers , or the respect as a lady that rulers protected for Leftist political opponents till Bidhan Roy, Ajay Mukherjee , Prafulla Ghosh or Prafulla Sen . Despite all of movements incl Food movement of 1959, ladies were protected . Yaa, there were not a handful that used to go out on jobs , but there were women on jobs in industry belts & Kolkata, but they did not feel unsafe . A lot many no of people could not ever pardon Congress for that. In Bihar & UP, the Congress bastions that did not infer direct upsurge of such left hatred & retaliation by mouser brigade, it got gradually clear that many of the riots had linkages to the ruling Congress regime. And, the dharmantar in the hands of the OBC leaders — the upsurge of naia thakurs over landlord thakurs & gradual growth of MCC & PWG in Bihar dealt a blow strong, stronger & strongest to Congress , benefiting the socialist Lohiabadis & JP badis in between .
After Gujarat carnage happened, & Nandita made an excellent film on that , I asked to myself , which event would be regarded as worst by history & the world? Definitely, you’ll say, what a sily question! How can there even be a comparison? I don’t know , how I can make u feel what I feel. Religion, to me & my wife, is a drug. Without her oration from Chandi , 1 puja committee does not start Durgotsav . Her oration of Gita is equally excellent . But both of us can count days we have gone to temples,. And that too, just to enjoy the sculptures & artefact. If u see the no of movies made by Ray, Sen & Ghatak & some others to portray the period & 1084’s mother by Govinddaa, you can feel the pain inflicted by Congress to destroy a lingua group, & the crab group had no dearth of Manu-Runu – disciples . Left gave land minikits to landless & they enjoyed the pride of land ownership in late 70s itself, but in cities , they destroyed the work culture & the good schools became mediocre, English went off from syllabus , premium colleges relegated to common ones, not calibre but proximity to Alimuddin became the mantra to stay put as a teacher in a premier instn ; many Bengalees could not pardon that. Mamta came as a whirlwind in Bengal, as an event, & masses that did not know of JP CU episode , soon took her as one so very close to their slum life , & she did not have the baggage that Congress bore –the wrath & anger . And, why to talk about this one issue alone? There are several at hand & the issues vary among states. It was surprisingly pro-Congress in Assam, where , at the time I used to stay, between 2000 & 2005 , we found a drastic change in law & order as soon as Congress took over. The Sulfas , so very close to AGP, used to rule the rout in AGP govt & massacres by ULFA were very high. North East is a territory , where you do not deal with just 1 outfit as in Chhattisgarh / Odissa( CPI Maoist) , you have to deal with groups of Hmars, Bodos, Karbis, Dimasas, Nagas, Kukis , Khasis … & last but not least ULFA. ULFA gives official money receipts duly printed ,& then the natural gift people have in this region is extreme graft , be it I Tax, Sales tax, excise & so many others; here if a demand notice is issued to attach your bank a/c, asst commissioner takes trouble to visit your office in ghy all the way from Kohima / Imphal / Itanagar, to make hard bargains; here openly cess is collected from each invoice by Ulfa & others & their reps regularly visit your factories & depots ; here every 5 minutes a bus/ truck / car travels , there is a security check & sometimes ladies are also searched & unlike Delhi , where you pay 1 parchi to police , you get permit to cross all gates violating law , you have to pay to cross each barrier; it is an area , where army rules supreme , as if like a younger brother of J&K, diff being ltd to the fact that here army’s opening of fire is not so rampant as people do not call them Indian dogs. Whosoever calls UP / Bihar lawless & corrupt, may come once to NE , where many hardly existent assesses get Excise, sales tax , I Tax exemptions & there happen to be cases of the whole range office getting burnt out; this is an area, where so-called big cos grounded locally / their promoters can even change MD of Indl Dev Corpn of the state or Director of Industries , who do not toe their lines of siphoning / packing off all subsidies & tax incentives to their families . It is an area , where political parties to assessing officers , with minister bypassing Commissioner to team up with Supdtt, earn in millions & crores ( and I was surprised as I could not imagine such a hefty sum in Bihar assessments) . It is an area that has seen enough bloodbath & any new corporate / individual entrant is greeted with salute letter that claims 30% of your salary . This area has seen the least of development in hands of real mainland industrialists. It had been used as heavens for Tobacco, gutkha , mosquito repellents , pan masalla etc, & any notification denotifying an item from exempted list called a death nail for so many staff members. It is an area, where NEDFI has failed to bring in any real investment till now , over & above short sighted money spinning units by locales ; it is a big area, where population of influx daily goes up as lingua majority directly patronized by Ulfa & other millitia. People who cannot speak out a word of Assameese / Nagameese / Bishnupriya Manipuri, are census-ed at the behest of Ulfa & Congress alike as Locals . It is an area, where genuine people suffer daily , & the bloodbath – theatred ouster of Bihari rickshaw pullers make the holes & grounds for fresh influx of masons & labor & unskilled from Bangladesh , so much so that the whole economy of towns run on these infiltrators, who come in full buses at the call of the dawn; earn whole day, buy clothes , food , jewellery & white goods, visit nursing homes & hospitals , and go back across the border by the advent of the dusk . Here you do not know when a state ends & another state begins, & in places like Hilli & 3 Bigha, you find hutments & pucca houses with kitchen in 1 country & bathroom in another . Goods cross borders on paper to attract transport subsidy , only to come back & sell in mfg state’s market . It is an area, where your power meter does not run but prodn goes on; the SEB officer dares not come to office in fear of militia pouncing on the 30% flesh of pay package. It is an area, where OPC of 10MT is just mixed with red/ yellow clay 6Mt ,to churn out 16MT of PSC , which goes out with excise invoice only to be rejected & come back , to be repacked somehow better & sent as 10MT again & you claim transport subsidy on the whole 26mt. It is an area where 1 co myosis into 2 cos very easily , when , to your surprise , both the cos enjoy all tax exemptions , while the capacity of the 1st assessee , post expansion , goes down to half, as its prodn is shown in the 2nd one thru job work / any other route. People have gone fed up . The situation is so bad that today all India masons’ conspicuous part is fed by Bangladesh , & in case there is no Malda / Barpeta / Karimganj labor , so many industries incl refineries stop operations.
Question is , are these phenomena typical of only Congress ruled states? Definitely not. Unlike his mom, an arrogant youth leader in Rahul Gandhi created a blackberry team that had no ears to grounds, & in an era where the best of Trinamul machinery loses a precious Asansol seat to BJP simply owing to in-fights, Team Rahul gifted so many seats to BJP simply by revolting against official party line & lineage of matured , time –tested leaders. Congress lost owing to the mast less ship that an alien mother succumbed helplessly & haplessly to her son—a son, who lived in his own world, having inherited the power –empire, taking everything for a ride, & ridiculing the vacuum unfilled up at all grassroots with just a team of mgt backroom , which may augur well for a corporate , but certainly not a strategy to win hearts & mandates of people. Cambridge had to come to the rescue of its prized resource Mr Manmohan Singh, who was relegated to a joker by this team , openly challenging the wrong doings of its own govt, on which the PM had no control & no authority; the authority lay with the duo who were not responsible to deliver. And PC incited the wrath of so many & so many curses, having juggled the balls of current a/c deficit , inflation , the white house demands & the Senonomics- driven socialist excesses of the lady in the green room, who was to be accredited with all good deliveries of the regime. The election advts that ran over India did not have any conspicuous mention of Companies Act amendments, CSR compulsion thrust upon corporates & other fine prints of path-breaking changes. And, the direct subsidy scheme, the RTI , the RTE, the MNREGA had all their voices buried under tentacles of corruptions & political ill wills . As nobody was allowed to surge as a leader to lead from the front , being deep-rooted in the ground politics, people feared UPA3 as another merry go round, with spunk in the hands of an invisible , unapproachable arrogant ‘s hands & Tiatanic run by the chaotic pandemonium warring at the field to lead in same side goal. Congress must have learnt a very big lesson from the defeat in Rajasthan , that a very efficient Ashok Ghelot govt was relegated to a nullity after stupendous achievements , only because of 2 mutually exclusive sets ruling the roost , working in favour of the opponent arena. The team Blackberry , with all white collars not having the ABCD training on realpolity , managed the dynastic seat of Malda in WB , but the team’s Bengal face Mousum Noor could not go any farlong beyond in extending party proliferation in hinterlands of Bengal. The APL & BPL people that really benefited from UPA schemes drawn from the pages of Senonomics were miffed by the most rampant corruption & a faceless PM , who either did not have the political will / compulsion to go to his electorate & explain n convey the achievements , or he was not allowed to do so , as the credits were to flow to Shehjada heirloom all the way , even at the cost of downgrading own rate sheet . They worked like Kauravas that had all best brains & resources, may be much better than the counterpart, but could not consolidate on pin pointing the agenda , the targets , the target audience & the strategy of feed for the audience. Did team Blackberry take people all at just face value? A bunch of claps ticks & mosahebs ?
After hard bargains & dramas by TMC chief, which indecisive voters feared a repetition, lastly UPA woke up to professionalise Rlys, but , again, the Bansal story came forward. The DMK style paved the way for Neerja Radia ‘s Luytens to loot at the very opportunity of making money & engrossing power. Jayantee tax , as Namo familiarly called in every odd meeting, stalled all major projects. For years together there have been hardly any growth for cement & steel industry. Stalling of ongoing highway projects has created a major n crucial dent on infrastructure alias the whole of economy, while India had all possibilities of sustaining a steady growth , especially with bursting of Chineese debt securitisation, the way bubble burst in US & the steel sector of China is under the severest crisis, India has lost the golden opportunity to cash on the impetus to grow.
The poorest labour , who used to go to Bihar from Garwah of Jharkhand , or to Maharshtra from arid areas of Telengana are now getting jobs at villages. Then , why did not they vote ? Probably because a) the MNREGA started selling off to the benefit of political hierarchy , not reaching out the benefits to masses, and the political vacuum has allowed state rulers in many cases to snatch the benefits from UPA. The benefits of nutrition, sanitation , health , income guarantee whatever has happened , has submerged over Inflation that has dent an extraordinarily heavy blow . Dr Rajan was brought in to arrest eco declines & deprivation / obliteration . But that was too late. Economy had , by the, bled enough & shed enough of scarce foreign resources. Dr Rajan , a economist with IMF , did his best to arrest the fall of Rupee , but FII & FDI do not come in seeing a RBI Governor. “Retrospective effect ” malice had dent a cavity on the investors’ confidence. And, how can that come? You want to reign by instilling fear psychosis among honest officers. You stop all genuine refunds. You debar all CCEs from passing genuine favourable orders for assesses. Every Commissioner / DC / AC / Supdtt / inspector fears of risking a CBI enquiry & prefers not to work / pass order or judgement favourable to an assessee / clear a file of investment. Why? Thou thyself is corrupt & you cannot protect your honest bureaucrats. And, when you cannot do that, how can you protect your citizens?
Rahul Gandhi had a fad of night staying in Dalit homes & joining the movements against land acquisition to Niyamagiri hills . No doubt, the rights of marginals have to be protected. No doubt, BPL tribes must get a share of the minerals that lie beneath the land they have been living for thousands of years. But , is it a soln to just stop a project, or is it appropriate to start all projects & spend the whole or major chunk of royalty for the upheaval of the oppressed? The lady who kissed Rahul got killed ; what did Congress do to protect her? Nothing. Rahul earned media bonhomie & limelight by night spending at Dalit shanties, but what did they get in return? Not 1% attention at their crucial hours of distress. This election has been an outburst of the wrath against the mis governance & policy paralysis in the century crossed party that was a guineapig in the hands of this novice , apprentice Shehjada.
So many times , all of us , none of whom can ever deny of having benefited from this regime, have tried to forget this regime as a malicious scar on our skins , which we did never want to grow into permanent moles. But, see, how many times the genuine demands of 3 debt-ridden states were put before center? At no point has that been addressed . GOI has been so beset with CBI & CAG & shameless politicisation of sacred insttns .
But was this all that explains a landslide in favor of BJP?
No, certainly not. First, was there a Tsunami in favor of Namo? No. There was not everywhere. Most artefacts & artisans mould their idols over a defined planning for months. Namo’s political brains , with addl engagement of IITians & IIMians , created that metaphor of an event viz Namo. Extremely well. BJP knew its weaknesses. Its Karnataka regime was rife with same malice as saddling as UPA 2. Still, it went with the Lingayat sympathy factor & quashed anti BJP wave of KJP that wrested seats to Cong in North K’taka. So, this time Cong was restrained in its South K’taka belt. And, Bellary– the fortress & pseudonym of corruption again went back to Mr Sriramulu, close aide of Mr Janardan Reddy . Had BSY not been taken back to BJP fold on corruption untouchability meter, BJP would have drawn a blot in K’taka. In South , where poverty varies from 15% to 25%– much above national average of 33-36%, BJP is still a nil in Kerala. In TN success has gone Amma way , –riding on money , development & muscle cocktails . Cong has paid the price of betrayal to Telegus who have always stood by this party thru thick n thin. TDP was sure to come back, but had Rahul’s mantle not been there, like BJP re-kindling BSY event, Cong could have taken back YSR cong to its fold & both Jagan n Cong would have gained. Cong was incompetent to wrest seats in Telengana – the state which owes its birth to Cong. Probably history has in store this award n reward only for its betraying sons n daughters.
Modi’s failures may not seem too obvious , but in Odissa , ridiculing of a CM who reads Odissa thru English letters has not gone down well with the electorate. Till date Nitish model was upheld as the best governance & development model. Suddenly today all are finding fault. Fact remains, — Bihar, Jharkhand & Odissa are worst states in achieving MNREGA targets & spending. K’taka is also a poor implementer, but being a rich state the requirement is low. But maybe, it shall remain a paradox in Odissa to explain that people do not want to go up from poverty. It was rural poverty in Tribal hinterland that brought TMC into power in that area . It is also clear that state govts could project the fundamental rights to edn, food security, employment & health as their achievements owing to a vacuum created by GOI in publishing its successes. And, whatever BJP may say, MP, Gujarat, Rajas than & Gujarat have all benefited from this scheme implementation . But how can there be a landslide favouring BJD—a pro-growth hero, who has neglected such basic schemes?