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Only a non-Cong, non-BJP govt can ensure inclusive growth

Instead of subsidising the rich, if such money is used for public investments, we can have a much better ‘inclusive’ growth trajectory. In this lies the alternative policy direction, writes Sitaram Yechury.

columns Updated: Feb 25, 2014 02:25 IST
Sitaram Yechury
Sitaram Yechury
Hindustan Times

This afternoon, leaders of 12 parties are meeting responding to the overwhelming urge of our people who are desperately looking for relief from the growing economic burdens that are leading to a sharp decline in people’s quality of life. Apart from four Left parties, leaders of eight other regional parties are likely to attend this meeting.

Of these, five are currently running the state governments in some of the most populous parts of our country. Together, these parties represent states that send 313 MPs to the Lok Sabha, out of its total strength of 543. This is significant in terms of electoral potential.

This meeting is taking place on the basis of a clear understanding that this people’s yearning for relief can be met only by an alternative policy trajectory. As far as the economic policy direction and corruption are concerned, people see little difference, rightly so, between the BJP and the Congress.

Additionally, the BJP, acting as the political arm of the RSS, continues to sharpen communal polarisation through the pursuit of its hardcore Hindutva agenda.

Thus, any alternative policy trajectory in the country can come about only through a political alternative that will necessarily have to be a non-Congress, non-BJP combination. Given such a possibility of the emergence of a combination of secular opposition parties, the RSS/BJP and its PM aspirant’s desperation has reached a new crescendo.

A litany of epithets have been unleashed which should normally be considered unbecoming from anybody, particularly from somebody who self-proclaims — at times threatens — to be India’s prime minister.

Some of his comments denouncing the ‘third front’ as ‘third rate’ have drawn a spontaneous response that such comments can come only from a ‘third rate’ mindset!

Sections of India Inc and their mentors, the international finance capital, appear equally worried at the prospect of their apple cart being upset. This is because they see in the RSS/BJP’s PM nominee the best hope in a situation where the continuing global economic downturn seems to be intensifying. Such hopes are chillingly similar to the one’s global capital had a la Hitlerite fascism in the post-1939 Great Depression in Germany.

A possibility for maximising profits at the expense of heaping increased economic exploitation on the people and the complete abrogation of freedoms and civil liberties by unleashing fascistic repression. Sections of India Inc are hoping for unhindered imposition of neo-liberal reforms accompanied by consequent greater economic burdens on the people.

Fears that such a process may face a roadblock through the emergence of a political alternative of secular parties have now prompted an international credit rating agency, whose name sounds chillingly similar to the RSS/BJP PM hopeful — Moody’s — to predict that such an alternative electoral possibility would be a disaster.

This the Indian media has widely reported as ‘Third front government may delay economic reforms: Moody’s’ (February 12). The agency spokesman in India said so in a comment titled, ‘Post-election India: A fragmented coalition will be the biggest threat to credit quality’. Need anything further be said?

The corporate media is not far behind in this context. Two days ago, the Left held a Haryana-level people’s rally for a political alternative at Hissar. On the same day, AAP held a rally called much after the Left rally announcement at nearby Rohtak. The latter was widely covered by the corporate media while the former was hardly mentioned notwithstanding larger participation.

This is not surprising. Earlier, when Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement was on in the Capital, over two lakh workers organised by the central trade unions had converged at Parliament against corruption and price rise. While the former hogged 24/7 media coverage, the latter hardly found any mention.

Clearly, for the corporate media, a so-called ‘morally’ upright alternative that does not adversely affect profit maximisation is always better than an alternative that aims at improving people’s livelihood while not excessively promoting profit maximisation!

Speaking of Anna Hazare, many find it strange that he has now chosen to be the cheerleader of West Bengal’s Trinamool Congress. Sad that someone like Anna, with his ‘moral uprightness’ and championing of honesty in public affairs, should be seen openly cheering a party whose government in West Bengal has established a record of reducing the state to the rape capital of India and whose government has been admonished by the high court for openly harbouring criminal elements, leave alone corrupt ones.

The mayor and the deputy mayor of the Shimla Municipal Corporation have issued an open letter to Anna on the alleged scams of the Trinamool Congress’ main interlocutor with him.

Extremely worried at such an agenda of alternative policies hijacking its hardcore Hindutva agenda, the RSS reportedly is preparing to ‘place’ around 2,000 of its hardcore cadres, who are ‘ideologically dedicated’ and ‘sound’ in the BJP. What is in store for India and its people, in the case of such an eventuality of the RSS/BJP triumphing in 2014 elections, thus, is both the sharpening of communal polarisation and the heaping of economic miseries on the vast mass of our people.

Recently, the Rajya Sabha was informed that nearly Rs 6 lakh crore was the tax foregone, mainly from corporate and income tax, in the calendar year 2013. Such subsidies for the rich, we are told, are given as ‘incentives’ for growth.

At the same time, even the meagre subsidies for the poor are declared as an unbearable burden on our economy! Despite such tax concessions, our industrial and manufacturing growth, at best, have stagnated. Instead of subsidising the rich thus, if such money is used for public investments, we can have a much better ‘inclusive’ growth trajectory. In this lies the alternative policy direction.

Sitaram Yechury is CPI(M) Politburo member and Rajya Sabha MP

The views expressed by the author are personal

First Published: Feb 24, 2014 23:46 IST