Monday, August 3, 2009


Mamta Banerjee has provoked the media to coin a new term – didigiri. It’s not that we didn’t have fiery didis or behens in the past. Margaret Elizabeth Noble, christened ‘Sister’ Nivedita by Rabindranath, was no doubt a fiery didi or behen. Generally Rani Lakshmibai is not thought as a didi, nevertheless, she was indeed a fiery lady. History will point us to so many fiery didis. But still the term ‘didigiri’ was never used for any of them. It seems to have been reserved forever for Mamta-didi. That’s indeed an achievement for our beloved Didi, but I can’t say if it’s a great or ‘un’great one!!

Didi’s recent surprise victory in West Bengal is being perceived by her as the attestation of her electorate to her fiery opposition, often quite irrational, to land acquisition by the government for private companies. Her oppsotion has cost West Bengal the prestigious Nano factory from the Tatas. It’s true that the way West Bengal government has handled the entire issue of land acquisition was indeed very undemocratical and heinous. Some credit surely goes to Didi for bringing the Left front government in West Bengal at task. Without her opposition the nation won’t have known the atrocities and the corruptions that the Left has been indulging in over the past three decades in Bengal and elsewhere. But at the same time it’s also of utomost interest to make sure that the path towards industrialization of rural India is not met with such blockages. It’s here that BJP has to play a great role as opposition in the center.

It’s beyond doubt that to provide the growing population of India with effective employment (not the type of NREGS) industrialization is the only way. Agriculture doesn’t generate enough revenue compared to the people employed in it. The much needed employment and keeping pace with the high GDP growth need extensive industrialization. China’s is a very good example how industrialization can impact GDP and overall economy. It’s not recommended to follow everything that a communist and closely guarded China did. Nevertheless, there are several things that are worth following. For industrialization, the foremost thing that government has to do is setup an efficient policy for procurement of land that not only has a human face but also makes proper business sense. It’s here that the opposition can play a great role in bridging the gaps between UPA & Didi and help the country in a big way.

Land acquisition is a double edged sword which has to be handled with lot of care and prudence. The people who can be negatively impacted immediately are the ones whose lands are acquired. But in the long run the same people would be benefited in several ways once the industries are setup. It’s the role of the political parties to work at the grass root levels and explain the long term benefits of industrialization. Also at the same time the land deals should be very transparent and financially viable both parties – those whose lands are being acquired and the industries. The Left did really a very shoddy job in making the dealings transparent. But what Mamta did was actually throwing the baby along with the bath water.

I’m sure with the increased focus on industrialization, the issue of land acquisition would crop up in several states and one of the most important things that the government has to finalize is a good and efficient policy for it. I’d like to see BJP doing a really great job here to counter Didigiri!!

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