Kolkata: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on Monday urged the Left parties to raise the issue of sanitation and other basic needs of the poorest of the poor, apart from the issues of food security and LPG price hike.
“I am sometimes accused of being critical of the Left parties. I am particularly upset, when they go after the issues of cooking gas (price hike) and other issues. These are the issues of the middle class. But what about the issues of the poorest of the poor?” Sen asked while addressing a session at the Kolkata Literary Meet.
He also said that when newspaper headlines were splashed last year with stories of a major power blackout in north India, many missed out on the fact that for one-third of the population, “it was not a blackout on that particular night, but an everyday reality”.
Professor Sen added that he felt particularly upset with the Left parties protesting on issues such as cooking gas, electricity prices and aam aadmi pursuits rather than the broader picture. 48% of the households in India have no toilets and people have to resort to open defecation, a problem that does not get addressed. The figure for China was one per cent while that of Bangladesh was between 9% and 10%, he said.
Earlier on several occasions, Sen has raised the issues of open defecation and child malnutrition in the country.