I do agree with Sunandan Roy Chowdhury’s “The god that finally failed” (Mint, 21 May) that there has been a huge dent in the ego and the strength of the Left in West Bengal. But saying that the people of West Bengal have taken a sigh of relief after 16 May would be jumping the gun: The Left still runs the state government. To change the face of the state and bring it on a growth trajectory, both Mamata Banerjee and the Congress need to come together for the 2011 assembly elections. They need to work for the people and bring more industry, rather than having an adamant attitude as shown at Singur. So Banerjee and the Congress have their work cut out; they cannot afford to disappoint the people of West Bengal, who have shown greater faith in them.
— Bal Govind
Regarding your editorial “What is inclusive growth?” (Mint, 20 May), it is reasonably clear that “inclusive growth” seems to be a decisive factor in the better -than-expected performance of the Congress party this election. While it may not be entirely wrong to label programmes such as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) as short-term measures or even populist, what is often missed out in analyses is the following.
India is a poor country with universal suffrage. A large section of the electorate is rural and poor. This means, in order to keep the political consensus for economic reforms intact, it is necessary that this large chunk of the electorate considers itself benefiting from the ongoing reforms and growth in the economy, or else the consensus would break apart. The case of N. Chandrababu Naidu in the last Andhra Pradesh assembly polls is telling. He initiated a series of reforms and even tried to run the state as a corporation. Yet, a very large chunk of the electorate felt rather alienated and disillusioned. He was given a thumbs down in the following elections. Losing power after being seen as a reformer by so many might make him believe that reforms cannot win him votes.
The Congress in this election probably learnt the right lesson: Deliver on reforms but, at the same time, do not wait for these reforms to trickle down to the poorest of the poor. The Congress learnt that immediate short-term relief is almost essential to keep the process of reform going. This is clearly the political solution to the debate over economic reforms.
I think here lies the version of India’s inclusive growth: Deliver on reforms, but do not wait for the benefits to trickle down to the poorest or else the consensus for reforms would break apart. The dislocations caused due to the reform process have to be addressed immediately, while the slow process of trickle-down continues in the background.
— Kapil Gupta
Since the British exit from Sri Lanka, the general Tamil population has wanted equal rights and representation. The lack of organized, strong and reliable Tamil leaders led to fragmentation and escalation of tensions. Eventually, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which emerged into the leadership role, evolved a separate nation theory as the only solution.
Now, in the LTTE’s absence, the scales are tipped towards the Sinhalese. Yet, unless the common Sinhalese man realizes that Tamils and Sinhalese can live together in peace, the issue will remain unsolved. It is highly doubtful that Mahinda Rajapaksa will be able to really implement a peaceful and equitable solution for the Tamils.
Thus, unless there is a radical change, either the Lankan government will discover new excuses to continue ethnic cleansing or more Tamil rebel groups will keep springing up. Though, it should be noted, no other rebel group can get as strong as the LTTE was.
— Sivabalan Umapathy