Sen’s criticism is not new, did same to the Left in 2009

  • Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Jul 27, 2013 12:17 IST

Literacy, health and hunger have always been the key touchstones to judge the performance of governments for Nobel laureate Amartya Sen.

His recent assessment of Narendra Modi’s model of governance has evoked sharp reactions, but just four years ago, Sen had similarly slammed the Left’s political practice.

He expressed his “disappointment” with Left-led government in 2009 when the CPI(M) was ruling in Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura.

Sen had observed that the Left neglected “issues of hunger and illiteracy, and instead focused on issues like the Indo-US nuclear deal, which is not a central issue for social justice in India”.

This time too, Sen pointed out that Gujarat is lagging behind in life expectancy, gender inequality, education and healthcare.

While his recent criticism angered a section of the BJP and party MP Chandan Mitra even seeking to scrap his Bharat Ratna, on the earlier occasion, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat penned a lengthy article to counter Sen, terming the battle as a “fraternal war”.

Sen questioned the Left’s “gut anti-Americanism” for the alleged shift, but Karat laid out examples to show how the Left is actually following Sen’s prescriptions on development even as the UPA has lapped up a neo-liberal economic policy.

 

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