Far from Right
The Telegraph, 21.02.2005
The hypocrisy of the Left Front is as clear as daylight to those of us who live outside India, yet it baffles me to find that the people of West Bengal still do not seem to have seen through the great Indian communist hoax (“Left with no answers”, Feb 17). The policy of our leftists is simple — oppose any move towards liberalization or economic reformation in Delhi, but adopt precisely the same measures in Calcutta. The important point to note here is that the leftists realize only too well that economic reforms are inevitable: to gain urban votes, they will have to carry out the very policies they oppose at the Centre.
Many will remember that only a few months ago, the BBC branded West Bengal “an industrial wasteland”. This perception is not entirely misplaced. Enterprise here is strangled due to excessive regulation, which in turn stifles growth and increases poverty. As a result, revenues dry up and so do the government coffers. This leads to diminishing investment into the public sector, which breeds more poverty, corruption and crime. Corruption, in any case, prevents the meagre government resources from being fully utilized. It also inspires, and sometimes compels, venture capitalists to adopt underhand means.
Under Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, West Bengal is just beginning to climb out of this hole. But if the politburo continues to throw a spanner in the works, then all hope is lost. But the people of Bengal must not let the left get away with its two-faced ways.