Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pranab da should bring goodies to Bengal

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

For the better part of the last three decades politicians from West Bengal have occupied the opposition benches in the Lok Sabha. The Left Front MPs time and again failed to grab developmental projects by the Centre. What that meant was Bengal remained aloof from the national race to become a global superpower from a third world nation. When the Karunanidhis, Modis, Naidus and the Krishnas were grabbing huge pies from the Centre politicians from Bengal lived up to tag of being OPPOSITION in every sense.

As the country went ahead post liberalisation era Bengal was living in the dark shadows of poverty and underdevelopment. This resulted in huge brain drain out of the state which cost dearly so much so that once the most flourishing province in the days of the British Raj is today counted among the most backward states in the country. Although most of the Bengali ‘bhadralok’ like us would not like to accept this in open but deep down in our heart we cannot even counter it.

The results of the 15th Lok Sabha polls brought in a lot of surprise to the state. The writing on the wall was clear and the people of the state decided Bengal’s car at the Centre won’t have a Left Hand Drive for the next five years. Manmohan’s new Cabinet team will have a record number of representations from the state with Congress’ all weather man Pranab Mukherjee will hold the key portfolio of Finance and Left’s thorn in the flesh Mamata sitting in the engine of the Indian Railways.

The people of the Bengal and surrounding areas in the East and North East will hope to get some special attention from Pranab da. Let us be honest Central Ministers have always showered goodies on their own states holding key portfolios be it the Lalus and Nitish Kumars making Bihar and unofficial hub of Indian Railways or the Naidus and Marans driving lion’s share of the Telecom and Information Technology revolution down south.

The entire Eastern part of the country including the North East has remained backward due to poor representation at the corridors of power. But with Pranab’s command over the Finance the people of Bengal finally have something to rejoice. They hope the UPA government to shower some goodies to the state keeping in mind the assembly elections of 2011. If West Bengal flourishes the tremors of development will reach other neighbouring states as well.

The only worry is the whether the Left will play the role of a responsible opposition at the Centre and speed up development being in the driver’s seat in West Bengal. They have to do a lot of rethinking more so with their ideology. They have to shed their Anti-Americanism and become pro-development in their approach. The problem with them is they oppose the increase in the price of American soft drinks but keep mum when Russia blackmails us to pay them $2 billion dollars after the agreement was signed for $500 million dollars for the Aircraft Carried Admiral Ghroshkov.

It is now over to Pranab Mukherjee and Mamata’s Trinamool to assure the people of Bengal that they really voted for a change. All of us can hope some 'winds of change' will finally blows in West Bengal.


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