Right? Left? Centre?

Oct 20 2013, 23:27 IST
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Right? Left? Centre? Right? Left? Centre?
SummaryI support all efforts to keep government spending under control.

Rahul Gandhi takes such a novel view of political realities that not a day passes without him giving us pundits something new to ponder over. Last week, while wandering about central India, he announced that the BJP cared only for rich people and the Congress alone cared for the poor. As proof he told how his mother was so desperate to pass the food Bill that she tried to stay in Parliament to vote even though she could hardly breathe. Later she wept in hospital, said her adoring son, because she could not be there to press the button. Now that the food Bill is law, Rahul added cheerfully, nobody will go to bed hungry in India.

Who tells him such lies? Who writes his silly speeches? Who tells him that the BJP ‘cares for the rich’? If only he had just got this right. If the BJP had been a rightist party, it would have stopped the government pouring good money into bad schemes while at the same time taking steps to kill investment. If the BJP cared for the rich, then last week it had a good chance to speak up against the criminal charges filed against one of India’s most respected industrialists, Kumaramangalam Birla. It would have spoken up long ago for other industrialists who suffered at the hands of a government that has spent the past five years closing down major projects in which huge investments had been made.

Not only did the BJP not speak for these rich men, its senior leaders went out of their way to protest against FDI in the retail sector. Not rightist at all. And, almost always when they speak in Parliament they sound just as ‘socialist’ as the most passionate socialists in the Congress. And, if they turn to their alma mater, the RSS, for advice all they get is a lecture on ‘swadeshi’ or some gobbledygook about Gandhian socialism.

It is a shame that the shutdown of the American government got so little attention in India. There was much we could have learned from it. I do not support the efforts of the Republican extreme right to shut down the US government, but in an Indian context, I support all efforts to keep government spending under control. As its bounden duty to the people of India, the main opposition in Parliament should behave like a watchdog when it comes to government

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