Euphoria over Cabinet berths has little meaning


By Tikender Panwar

Showers of greetings and praises have been pouring in on Congress leaders in Himachal from almost all quarters, including the opposition party, for getting two cabinet berths to the state. And why not, after all it has happened for the first time that despite winning only one parliamentary seat out of the four, the state has got two berths in the Union Cabinet. But the euphoria being created throughout the state will not last long, though it has some positive elements as well.

Aspirations of the people
On the one hand it represents the aspirations of the people who worked hard for the victory of the candidates; it is quite natural to see their reflection. But on the other  there were aspirations even from those who just voted and  did not work for the victory, also who voted against the victor and this represents what I call the ‘nationality’ factor (though Himachal never emerged on a nationality question) and this  aspiration  of the people per se pertains to development, employment and so on. And it is this aspiration that requires urgent attention and rapid answer, on which I am not at all optimistic. The reasons are many.

(a)  The development of the state is linked inter alia to the development of the people. When I say people I do not mean everybody but those who require urgent immediate attention who include, the kisans, workers, youth, students, women, shopkeepers, employees and such others. Quite unfortunately, the wedlock in between the ruling class parties i.e. both the Congress and the BJP with the neo liberal policies is of such a strong covalent bondage that to think anything beyond the reduction of fiscal deficit or the FRBM i.e. the budgetary and fiscal management act is a crime and almost impossible for them to  imagine. Hence this so called slogan of development will not cut much ice and shall not benefit the common people, though it may increase the state’s GDP.

(b)  The development of the state is also linked to the resources which are of utmost importance for the state to generate. But to think that the state has a capacity to do that would be like playing cricket with a hockey stick. Here arises the need for a special category status as it still exists for some north eastern states and which was strongly argued by my party during the visit of the Finance commission to the state, though both the BJP and the Congress were absent from the meeting  however  the  government presented its view. It needs to be once again reiterated that this special category status was not showered upon us but because our main source of wealth i.e. the forests were nationalized for a national cause and in lieu of these resources we were awarded that status.

(c)  Then I would like to attract the reader’s attention towards the share of the state that falls after the Punjab reorganization act. According to the Himachal Adhikar Samiti, this share comes to a total of Rs 5000 crores from hydel generation to 7.19% share in Chandigarh and so on and so forth. Though the incumbent cabinet ministers in the past, have enjoyed and have been enshrined various responsibilities under the constitution of India but not a voice has been raised over these issues or demands. Just being a Himachali would not do, to have a proper and unambiguous perspective for development of the state and its people requires a vision. Earlier, either it did not exist or may be not exercised; now in the present innings of political responsibility this vision is to be seen.

(d)  Another very important issue is regarding the immense potential of hydel generation in the state and the linkage between the demands of the people for rehabilitation, compensation etc. It is indeed sordid that despite such a huge potential, the hydel generation is being done in a random manner. No share for the state is fixed. Be it the public sector power companies or the private ones the interest of the state in terms of revenue is being left out. For example in Parvati, Koldam, etc, the state has no share at all, the present ministers from the state cannot abdicate from this responsibility of guarding the interests just by saying that  the power ministry does not belong to them and the incumbent government in the state is that of the opposition party.  Apart from the interest, the state also has to keep a vigil on large scale discrepancy in the methods and style of awarding compensation and rehabilitation. Again it needs to be reiterated that the question of rehabilitation and compensation is of utmost importance owing to the scarce land available for cultivation in the state.

It is in this background that I thought of writing this piece and while summing up I would not say that I am not elated by the present circumstances, my only fear is that the bourgeois landlord parties have a clear vision of development that takes place on a class basis though some seems to trickle down to the bottom most down the ladder, but this is insufficient for the mass of the people to even survive properly what to talk about living a decent life.

(The writer is member, CPIM State secretariat)

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  1. CPI-M lambasting "landlord" parties is taken with a pinch of salt. Whole world saw which side the Marxist cadres fought in the battle of Singur and Nandigram. No one now seriously takes it concern for the farmers and the landless. These are just slogans to be-fool the junta. High time the communists now step down from it's self held image of high moral ground.

  2. Dear Commerades !! Please stop talking about the issues of the poor and the downdroden as in West Bengal, the state in which you are ruling from more than 20 years, is getting worsed day by day (Economically and socially too) as shown in the recent surveys being done by the different agencies. Its a bitter truth that the six districts of west begnal still falls int the category of first 15 most uneducated districts of the country.You may be serious on this never ending issues theoratically, but your past ruling experience has not proved the same. What were u doing on these issues when you were supporting the Central Government at Delhi, at that time why you were unable to pressurise the government to have any concrete policy on the issues of the policy. But sadly your high ups was busy in blackmailing the government….

  3. Adding to my views are today's comments from British Deputy High Commissioner:

    Outgoing British Deputy High Commissioner Simon Wilson on Monday rapped the West Bengal government for the pitiable state of infrastructure saying the roads here are "horrible and dangerous".

    "The overall infrastructure in the state needs to be developed. This government has been there for the past 32 years. But there's not even a decent road between two cities of West Bengal. The condition of roads is horrible and dangerous," Wilson said during an interactive session organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

    This is the real face of Commerade ruling WEST BENGAL………………. how will you justify dear commerades ?

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