Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Higher education is starving--Why donate Rs 23 Crore to Harvard?

Why didn't Prof. Amartya Sen himself part with part of his Nobel Prize in Economics to finance the Harvard U. which employs him?


Higher education starves, but a $4.5m gift to Harvard’s fine?

R Vaidyanathan

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 3:42:00 AM

The news item was not in the front pages of any major newspaper. It was published by some national dailies in the inside pages.

It is about the Government of India gifting $4.5 million (nearly Rs 23 crore) for Harvard University to establish a fund in honour of Prof Amartya Sen, which would help Indian students pursue higher education in that institution. This was to celebrate the 75th birth day of the renowned economist in recognition of his “extraordinary accomplishments” (PTI, December 11, 2008).

The government had earlier given £3.2 million (nearly Rs 26 crore) to the Cambridge University’s Judges Business school to celebrate Nehru’s entry as a student of Trinity College (see my article in DNA Money, February 12, 2008).

Both the news items, though important, were not debated by academicians nor commented upon by editors. To start with, there are questions regarding using government money to facilitate the fund-raising activity of Harvard or Cambridge. It is common knowledge that post-Thatcher era, the educational institutions in the UK are forced to raise the fees particularly for foreign students and even then, the fees do not cover even 25% of the cost of running these institutions. And hence, most of the British educational institutions are going around the world with a begging bowl, camouflaged as road shows, for their graduate and undergraduate courses.

Harvard, which recently lost more than $8 billion (nearly 22% of its corpus), is so much more desperate to augment its resources in the context of the global meltdown and deep US recession (WSJ, December 4, 2008).

Now, why should a developing country like India fund the cash-starved institutions of the West?

If Cambridge was so fascinated about Nehru entering it as a student or about the ‘India Story’, then it should have approached a private financier or some company in the UK to fund this endowment.

Ditto for Harvard, which could have asked many leading philanthropies in the US or business groups in India to fund the centre.

I know of several centres in China, which are funded by these universities or US companies. But India is a peculiar country, which funds centres in foreign universities, facilitating/ enhancing their finances. This gesture is not going to make others recognise us as a global economic power.

The higher educational institutions in India are starved of funds and crying out. After the decision of the government regarding reservation for other backward castes and the Supreme Court judgments thereon, it has become imperative for centrally funded institutions to increase their strength by at least one-and-half times and hence they need funds to expand their physical infrastructure. The government is not much forthcoming on this and expects the Central institutions to fend for themselves. There is a need for buildings and various other physical infrastructure in all the Central institutions of higher learning, leave alone the lower levels of education.

It is also surprising that the traditional rebels without a pause, namely the Left liberals, are totally silent on this. The usual Marxist crowd berating US imperialism, etc is also silent. May be the recessionary imperialism is not to be bothered about. The academic community is silent and some may be positioning themselves for future opportunities.

In the context of starving Indian institutions, gifting nearly Rs 50 crore to institutions in the UK/US is, to say the least, callous and may be construed as the result of the embedded colonial gene in our systems. The courtiers and family retainers may be already crowding around relevant ministries and power centres to get the positions, but that does not justify this subsidy.

Due to our distorted Nehruvian socialistic thinking, we believe that government is the embodiment of wisdom since it can tax and provide subsidies. We still live in the era of Kings where the whims and fancies of the Chakravarthi could get huge gifts to the courtiers and other foreign poets/ scholars. All one need do is stand in the queue and sing praises — particularly in this Dhanur month. Of course, if your colour is white, then just stand, not necessarily in the queue. Gifts will be bestowed and you will be profusely thanked for your presence and acceptance of the same.

There are many NRIs and Indian business groups who could have provided this subsidy/ alms to Harvard, but that was not the deal. Harvard I presume has arm-twisted the Government of India to get the funds to minimise the impact of its losses on the hedge funds. Anyhow, Indian government is the best hedge against such situations; due to the colonial hang-up and because we think Americans have done a great favour to us.

That is the reason our Ambassador to the USA, Ronen Sen (of the ‘headless chicken’ fame) profusely thanked the president of the Harvard University for accepting the gift.

We all should be very happy that Harvard condescended to accept our cheque since each of us was worried they may not!

Will the Indian mind ever get de-colonised?

The writer is professor of finance and control, Indian Institute of Management —Bangalore, and can be reached at vaidya@iimb.ernet.in. Views are personal.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dial CPM Brinda and Teesta for cash-for-false-affidavits

Dial CPM Brinda and Teesta for cash-for-false-affidavits

Gujarat-based NGO processed payment from CPM relief fund

Navin Upadhyay | New Delhi (Pioneer, 20 Dec. 2008)

A controversial Gujarat-based NGO was instrumental in organising payment of Rs 1 lakh each to as many as ten witnesses in various post-Godhra riot cases. The money came from the CPI(M) relief fund and was distributed months before the witnesses deposed in the courts, five years after the clashes took place. Four other eyewitnesses received Rs 50,000 each.

The revelation comes in the backdrop of reports that a host of Gujarat riot case victims were misled into signing affidavits giving false information at the behest of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), an NGO headed by social activist Teesta Setalvad.

Incidentally, those who were both victims and eyewitnesses received Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000 while the victims got mere Rs 5,000 each. This has raised eyebrows over the selection of beneficiaries and the purpose of paying a disproportionately large sum to the eyewitnesses before the trial.

Chief Coordinator of CJP Rais Khan told The Pioneer that he had submitted the name of beneficiaries to the CPI(M) on instruction from Teesta Setalvad. "Setalvad identified the people and I merely followed her instruction and forwarded the list to CPI (M)," Khan said.

When contacted, Setalvad said she was present at the function on an invitation from the CPI(M) and had nothing to do with fund raising. "It was CPI(M) money and I was a mere guest at the function," she claimed.

Yasin Naimudin Ansari, one of the eyewitnesses who got one lakh rupees, told The Pioneer on phone from Ahmedabad that he was approached by someone from Teesta Setalvad's organisation. "I vaguely remember this. But I don't remember the name of the person," he said.

The function took place in Ahmedabad on August 26, 2007 and the witnesses were handed out demand drafts by CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat, Teesta Setalvad and Rais Khan.

Brinda Karat admitted that the CPI(M) had raised the money, adding that as far the party was concerned it was giving relief to the victims. "Our party is not involved in any court cases involving Gujarat riots, and for us, distributing relief was merely a humanitarian gesture," she said.

Not disputing that she had taken the help of local NGOs to identify the victims, Brinda said, "We had received a lot of applications and money was distributed in different phases."

The 14 DDs (Nos 567540 to 567554 all dated 01/08/2007) were handed over to these witnesses by Teesta, Brinda and Rais Khan. Seven DDs were payable at Ahmedabad and seven at Baroda. Interestingly, one of the recipients is Yasmin Banu Sheikh, the estranged wife of Zahira Sheikh's brother Nafitullah.

The Pioneer is in possession of letters written by beneficiaries thanking Brinda, Teesta and Rais Khan for the payment.

Yasmin Banu Ismailbhai Shaikh (aunt of Zahira) of Baroda, who received Rs 50,000 (DD No 567552 dated August 1, 2007). Yasmin is a complainant in case No. 114/04 at Baroda. It is interesting to note that, when no substance was found in her complaint, she was directed to face lie detection test by the court and ever since she has not appeared in the court.

Among the recipients are four Best Bakery case witnesses and nine are appearing as witnesses in Ahmedabad-related Naroda Patia, Shahpur, Khanpur and other 2002 riot cases.

The information has been gleaned through a string of petitions under the Right to Information Act by one H Jhaveri from various agencies, including banks.

The four Best Bakery case witnesses are:

Sailun Hasan Khan Pathan of Ahmedabad who was paid Rs 1 lakh; Tufel Ahmed Habibullah Siddiqui of Baroda who received 50,000; Sehjad Khan Hasan Khan Pathan of Baroda who was paid Rs 50,000 and Rais Khan Amin Khan Pathan of Baroda who too got Rs 50,000.

There are nine witnesses relating to Ahmedabad riots who are testifying in local riot cases. All of them were given Rs 1 lakh and they are: 1.Kureshabibi Harunbhai Ghori of Baroda, witness in case No. 11/02 registered in Khanpur Police Station.

2. Husenabibi Gulambhai Shaikh, also of Baroda and witness in case No. 11/02 filed in Khanpur police station.

3. Rasidabanu Yusufkhan Pathan of Ahmedabad, witness in 2002 riots cases.

4. Fatimabanu Babubhai Saiyyed of Ahmedabad and witness in Case No. 100/02 registered in Shahpur Police Station.

5. Badurnnisha Mohd Ismail Shaikh of Ahmedabad, witness in Case No. 49/0 3 of Shahpur Police Station.

6. Mohd Khalid Saiyyed Ali Saiyyed of Ahmedabad, witness in Naroda-Patiya case. His first application was registered on March 7, 2008 and second on May 29, 2008.

7. Mohd Yasin Naimuddin Ansari of Ahmedabad, witness in 2002 riots cases.

8.Shaikh Azharuddin Imamuddin of Ahmedabad. During 2002 riots he was injured. At that time he was 10 years.

9. Sarjahah Kausar Ali Shaikh of Baroda. No details available.

List of Victims who were paid Rs 5,000 on 11/10/2007.

Mohammed Rafiq Abukar Pathan , Aslamkhan Anwarkhan Pathan, Pathan Saiyedkhan Ahmedkhan, Imtiyazhhan Saiyedkhan Pathan, Rashidkhan A. Pathan, Sairaben Salimbhai Sanghi, Ashraf Sikandarbhai Sanghi.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Commie VIPs !

Commie VIPs !

Over 45,000 men protect our VIPs
Aloke Tikku , Hindustan Times
Email Author
New Delhi, December 18, 2008
Last Updated: 01:14 IST(18/12/2008)
As the post-26/11 debate on whether politicians need more security than the public rages on, facts hidden in government figures show how India can be safer if only our VIPs do not turn security into a status symbol.
On paper, threat assessments dictate security cover and the extent of protection. Politics often replaces threat assessments in practice. More than 45,000 policemen protect the pool of VIPs in India that grew at 20 per cent — 12 times faster than the annual population growth rate — between 2004 and 2005. This means more security personnel guard 13,319 VIPs than the number of policemen in any Indian city — Delhi and Mumbai included. This is more than the police strength of all states bar the nine largest.
An estimated Rs 825 crore of taxpayers’ money is spent annually on the salary of the security staff alone, assuming — conservatively —that all on duty are constables earning Rs 15,000 each.
The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) headquartered in Delhi had compiled the figures more than a year ago.
Police officers said the actual number of policemen protecting the VIPs — ministers, members of Parliament, state legislators, judges and bureaucrats among others — would be at least twice this figure. In Delhi, more than 14,000 personnel are on VIP duties. The report, Data on Police Organisations in India, only counted about 4,900 security personnel deployed for more than six months as on January 1, 2006.
“A total of 11,012 VIPs were provided police protection for more than six months during the year 2004… It shows an increase of 20.9 per cent over the previous year,” the report said.
“The increase in the VIP protection deployment has strained the limited manpower resources of State Police,” the report said, suggesting that the grounds for providing security were skewed.
On paper, threat assessments dictate security cover and the extent of protection. Politics often replaces threat assessments in practice.
Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh’s is the latest example. His threat perception suddenly increased this year to the highest level, Z-Plus, around the same time that the UPA government’s life was hanging in balance after the Left pullout.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati too had got herself home ministry clearance for her car to drive up to the aircraft at the Delhi airport after she extended support to the government more than a year ago. She withdrew support this year, but the privileges continue.
BPR&D said the deployment of police for VIP protection should be rationalised by reviewing it against need-based assessment. According to figures in its report, West Bengal has the most number of VIPs -- 1,999. Assam comes next with 1,610 and Uttar Pradesh, a close third at 1,506. Maharashtra, on the other hand, had reported about 122 VIPs.
Terror-torn Jammu and Kashmir, however, has only 170 VIPs.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Are you scared of the Hindus, Comrade Brinda Karat?

Are you scared of the Hindus, Comrade Brinda Karat?

By: Bandyopadhyay Arindam
11/3/2008 4:39:35 PM


Congratulations Mrs Brinda Karat. You are the first in history of
mankind to have dubbed the entire Hindu community as Fundamentalist.
Brinda Karat raises a storm in Rajya Sabha. Not even the Pope or the
Imam had the insight to think about it before. It"s a pity that so far
there has not been an accolade from the anti-Hindu, pseudo secular,
quasi-intelligent ilk, that you represent. Perhaps our Prime Minister
will soon render an apology on behalf of the Hindus and consider you
for next year"s Bharat Ratna award.

Surely you are ecstatic that a handful of the 80 crore Hindu community
have been finally alleged and apprehended for bomb blasts. Unlike the
legal and judicial system, you do not need any further evidence to
prove them guilty. The mere existence of people who indulge in
violence and are Hindu by faith is enough for you to call them "Hindu
fundamentalist and terrorists". There presence gives you the leverage
to equate with all the terrorist activities in the name of Islam and
all the Hindu bashing of the Christians. And the next secular
deduction you make is that since there is a few Hindu fundamentalist,
it must be that the entire Hindu community is Fundamentalist.

I assume you don"t claim yourself as part of a Hindu community and
would not like to be labeled as a fundamentalist. I do not want to
embarrass you by asking about your parents or forefathers.

We know for sure that you belong to the Marxist community, though. Are
you aware that even in your so called atheist, Marxist community in
India, there are people who value their Ganesh and Lakshmi, their Kali
and Durga, their Shiva and Vishnu and their Rama and Krishna much
above your Marx and Lenin. Hindu Subhash blasts CPM

Also we know that you are not naïve to actual violence and
fundamentalism. Let us look back at history. On the morning of April
30, 1982, sixteen Ananda Marg monks and a nun were dragged out of
taxis, beaten to death and then set on fire, as watched by thousands
of people in Tiljala, one of Kolkata"s southern suburbs Basu Govt
still suppressing facts on Margi massacre. This was allegedly
carefully planned and executed by Marxist cadres over a land dispute
with the Marg. The Marxists had feared the Margis would upstage their
domination in the Kasba belt, which was at that time a base for the
Will you consider this violence as Marxist fundamentalism?

Such violence is nothing new to Communism. Violence and Terror has
been the basis of the doctrine of Stalinism and Mao-ism and the
pillars on which the "democratic" reign of the Marxist communist party
in West Bengal has existed for over three decades now. Marxist
comrades and cadres are required to participate in various
"revolutionary" activities for the betterment of the society,
including gunning down of innocents, as we recently witnessed in
Nandigram. Marxist leaders like you, in turn, have to encourage them
with calls for violence Brinda prescribes "Dum Dum dawai" for Opposition.

Interestingly, the fact that a large number of the victims in
Nandigram were Muslims did not bother the Minority commissions or the
Secular brigade because the perpetrators themselves were of the same
color as the members of the commissions and brigades. There was no
special Hindu or saffron shade in the picture - so no point in playing
the religious card.

Does the Nandigram violence qualify for Marxist or Secular
fundamentalism, Mrs. Karat?

What do you propose to do with the entire fundamentalist Hindu
community, Mrs. Karat? Do you intend to wipe them out as you crushed
the Nandigram opposition?

Have you for once wondered, Mrs. Karat, how fortunate you are to live
in this Hindu fundamentalist"s country?

Consider for a moment that you are in your ideologically desired
country of China and you mention something like this against the
communist majority in their politburo meet. How long do you think it
would take for your blood to be splashed all over Tiananmen Square?

Imagine you are in a Middle Eastern country and accusing that the
whole Muslim community is fundamentalist. How long do you think it
would take before the footage of your beheading reaches and graces the
"You tube" website, for the viewing privilege of the rest of the world?

Picture yourself, standing in the US senate and blaming the whole
Christian community as fundamentalist. Perhaps they would bring back
the medieval laws to enjoy the pleasure of seeing you being crucified
and stoned to death. As a minimum, if you are fortunate you would be
left to rot for the rest of your life in Guantanamo or some other
remote CIA operated prison?

Do you now appreciate how lucky you are to be still around, amongst
the Hindu community, even after several days of the most demeaning
generalization that you can make about the majority populations of
this ancient land? Shamefully, barring a few, the 250 odd, Rajya Sabha
members, presumably mostly Hindu hardly made any protest. Our secular
anti-Hindu media and the opportunistic vote-hungry politicians, too
occupied in sensationalizing "Hindu Terror", could not find any
gainful reason to criticize your enlightening comment.

No threat to withdraw your comment was made from any segment of the
Not a single "fatwa" was decreed against you.
No prize money was offered for your head.
No call to taste your blood was heard.

Surely even you"ll agree that your so called Hindu fundamentalists are
purely of prekindergarten varieties compared to their Muslim
counterpart. Clearly Hindu fundamentalists do not have any idea of the
ABCs of fundamentalism? Perhaps you anticipated very well that you
would have a fair chance of getting away with this malfeasance.

Compare this to the Danish cartoon or Taslima Nasreen saga. Did you
even dream to make any antagonizing remark like this about even a
section of the, let alone the entire, Muslim community? You knew that
even the army of comrades of your party and the power of your general
secretary - husband would not be enough to give you protection after that.

Have you thought of the possibility that if the whole Hindu community
was indeed fundamentalist, they should have offered you as a
sacrificial "balidaan" to their Bharatmata, right then and there in
the altar of the Rajya Sabha.

Or may be that possibility did cross your mind? Is there actually a
hysteric outburst of fear in your exclamation? Are you afraid that the
scare of the retaliating Hindu has become a reality now? Are you
shuddering with the apprehension that the combined façade of
intellectualism, activism and secularism will not be enough to cover
up any more? That the ugly faces are exposed and identifiable now and
the time of retribution may not be far away.

Have you considered the real threat of true Hindu fundamentalism? The
80 crores strong do not even need to be violent or fundamentalist. All
they have to do is to take a few united stride and that will steam
roll the likes of a few hundreds of your kind who are taking this
country of India, our punya bhumi, for a ride, dividing its people in
every possible way starting from religion, language, regionalism,
caste and tribes. The mass is counting days to reach to this handful
of leaders, who in coordination with the foreign funded, anti-national
media continues to serve their own vested interest at the cost of
lives and properties of the innocents.

The majority Hindu community has been systematically alienated in
their own country; they have been pushed too far. Retaliation is
expected. Violence though undesirable, does happen. These isolated
events may be signs of early days. Bharatvarsha is no Nandigram, Mrs
Karat. It is just a few people who have started to sacrifice - imagine
when their number increases. That is what leads to revolution. Not the
Marxist variety to make India subservient to the Chinese masters: but
the nationalistic variety - to return India to its glory and zenith.

Brace yourself Mrs Karat, people like you may not be lucky forever.

Bandyopadhyay Arindam

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Modi to Buddha, Mamata: go the rightist way

Modi to Buddha, Mamata: go the rightist way

Modi's open letter to Buddhadev, Mamata on Nano

PTI | Kolkata (13 Oct. 2008)

Barely a week after Tata's Nano found its new home at Sanand, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has asked his West Bengal counterpart Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Opposition leader Mamata Banerjee to work unitedly for development.

"We can't forget that the Marxists were once opposed to industrialisation. Continuity in the industrialisation policy will only help retain the people's confidence," Modi said in an open letter to both Bhattacharjee and Banerjee which was published in a leading Bengali daily on Sunday.

In the letter to Bhattacharjee, Modi said, "The condition for the growth of Nano has not yet developed in West Bengal in view of its present work culture despite your serious efforts... Please don't get surprised at my letter, which I wrote after serious thought... People of West Bengal may think I have snatched Nano to Gujarat. But it is not so. There is no scope of misunderstanding."

"The land (at Sanand) given to the Tata for the Nano plant was acquired for an agriculture university which was allotted another piece of land. The Tatas purchased the land and it is free of any dispute over agricultural or non-agricultural in nature."

Modi in his open letter suggested Mamata to "shun ultra-leftism in opposing the Leftists and show West Bengal the rightist way to usher in development."

"You may raise demands for more industry, more roads, more jobs in your State. Go the rightist way to development," Modi said.

Modi emphasises in the letter to Bhattacharjee that his Government's industrial policy has a continuity and does not change with the change of party in power.

"From the outset, we sought to take advantage of the policy of economic liberalisation in the competitive society. We wanted big industries... If there is continuity in the industrial policy, the Government may enjoy people's confidence and faith."

"We can't forget that your party (CPI-M) once took the extreme policy of opposing industrialisation. People observed how you disallowed entry of computers and now you are talking of industry. Despite your being in favour of industry, your party and the Government are not with you totally," Modi told Bhattacharjee.

Explaining how his Government made available land for the Tatas' Nano plant, Modi said, "We prepared a land-bank for land acquisition for industry. We also made an industry map in Gujarat. All this has been done to ensure that land can be handed over to entrepreneurs fast. However, that does not mean that all land here is infertile. There is fertile land here too for which compensation has to be made."

Modi pointed out he had no intention to snatch the Nano from Singur to Sanand, asserting "the course of events and Gujaratis' accountability towards industrialisation have brought in the small-car project to Gujarat."

The BJP leader asked Mamata Banerjee to note that opposition parties in Gujarat do not pursue the policy of "opposition for opposition's sake."

"Opposition Congress in Gujarat too has lent wholehearted support to the Nano's coming to Gujarat... We don't do politics over industrialisation in Gujarat."


Friday, October 3, 2008

Tata leaves W. Bengal. Nirupam Sen also wants to leave.

Tata Nano leaves W. Bengal. Nirupam Sen also wants to leave.

Both are wrong. Let both leave. Good riddance for sonarbangla, both have myopic vision.

Ratan Tata's answer to the question about agriculturists is shocking.

The question was: Any equity option to farmers?

Tata's answer: We are open to anything, any form of dialogue, not through agitation, not means of aggression.

I think, two years ago, I said if somebody puts a gun to my head, you would either have to remove the gun or pull the trigger. I would not move my head. I think Ms Banerjee pulled the trigger.

This shows a confused stand of mind. As a true nationalist, Tata should have pondered and tried to see if the farmers who are agitating had a valid point of view. What is the point in blaming a person like Ms. Mamata and praising a person like pseudo-comrade Buddha?

The question is not about two individuals but about the direction the nation should take and the role to be played by the state in promoting abhyudayam in villages. After all, India will remain a rural country for generations to come and there is now way Tata's or other industries can ensure employment for all the 65% people who live off the land in rural areas.

It is a pity that Tata was talking like a CEO of a Nano company.

Now, about Nirupam Sen's anguish. What a pity that Nirupamda has taken so long to realise that the CPM muderers, his own compatriots, have rendered West Bengal into a state of devastation comparable only to the negative growth rate of neighbouring Bangladesh. Playing the communal card and vote-bank politics, not averse to using dum-dum dawaai as recommended by Lady Karat, CPM of Nirupamda's ilk have reduced the great state of Banglabandhu, the great nationalists, into a state of blind allegiance to a failed ideology, a god that failed (cf. Arthur Koestler).

What this Nano episode proves is this: CPM has a monumental tragedy for the sonar bangla. Desperate desire to stay in power at any coast like the behaviour of 10 Janpath-chamcha's has been the only driving force of the CPM murderers. They have cared little for the abhyudayam of the banglabandhu, the dharmaatma who live by the traditions of Chaitanya and sanatana dharma.

Nirupamda and all his CPM comrades should disband CPM and go to Kalighat to pray to Maa Durga for sadbuddhi. This may be the first step in restoring some remorse in the minds of the evil tutorial-seekers from Beijing, impelled by Chinese patriotism.

The second step is to feel proud to be Hindu (even the ancestors of Muslims of West Bengal and Bangladesh were all Hindu)and say, with Rabindranath Tagore, 'bharata bhagya vidhaataa' (assuming that Tagore was referring to the paramaatman).

Only people of Sonarbangla have to save themselves since both Congress and their erstwhile chamcha-s CPM will not voluntarily disband. Saving themselves means saving themselves from these twin-evils: Congress and CPM. Start a movement to ban them from the polity.

I will give the benefit of doubt to Ratan; he may not be a politician but he should start learning arthashastra and start thinking about India not only about his Nano.


‘Decision taken with sadness’
- Not the best day to make such an announcement on eve of your Puja

Ratan Tata at the news conference announcing the Nano pullout from Singur on Friday. Picture by Pradip Sanyal

Transcript of Ratan Tata’s media conference (Kolkata, Telegraph, 4 Oct. 2008)
Let me first apologise for the makeshift accommodation. Please excuse us as we had to call the press conference at a short notice. The function rooms were already occupied in the hotel.

When I addressed some of you, I think, at the end of August, I had mentioned that we were facing considerable aggression and agitation on the site of the plant. And if this aggression were to continue, then we would have little choice but to move.
At that time I had hoped that there would be some understanding on the part of the Opposition party, headed by Ms Mamata Banerjee, and that we would see some reduction in agitation and we could go ahead with the project.

Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, the agitation increased, as you know. It moved to the front of the gate and the highway was barricaded for some period of time.
Through the two years, we have faced enormous disruption and assault, intimidation to some of our people.

By taking all things into account, mainly the well-being of our employees, the safety of our contractors and vendors also, we have taken the very regretful decision to move the Nano project out of West Bengal.

This is a decision we have taken with a great deal of sadness because we came here two years ago, attracted by the investor-friendly policies of the current government, which we still have a great deal of respect for, the leadership of Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. And all through the two years that we worked, I am very appreciative of the support that the government gave us and the facilitation that they provided.
Unfortunately, we also faced great agitation and great aggression on the part of the opposing parties, which have in fact been the sole reason for us to take this decision.

Having said this, I just want to say that since the decision has been prompted, because many of you may ask, why we shouldn’t give this more time. We have taken this decision today, perhaps not the best day to make such an announcement on the eve of your Puja.

But we felt we needed to because we do not see any change on the horizon. We continue to be very supportive towards the vision of the government. And why we move the Nano project out of West Bengal? Because we have a timeline to reach. We have made promises to the public in terms of the project running on line. We do not believe that we in any way have lost our enthusiasm for investment in West Bengal.

And I assure you that Tatas will through the course of time indeed invest in West Bengal.

I will be happy to answer some questions if you provide some.
Q: Where will the Nano project be shifted?
A: We have not decided where the plant will be shifted. We have got offers from three or four state governments.
Q: Will the land be returned to the state government?
A: We’ve just made the decision today. The issue of the land is something we may have to discuss with the state government over a period of time.
Q: Do you think, in hindsight, it would have been better if you started the project after talking to the Opposition leader?
A: That issue does not arise. Because the land was acquired, we leased the land from the government. We didn’t buy it. We believe the transaction was legal and transparent. And the fact that this aggression has emerged, I think it’s very unfortunate. You must appreciate that we are not a party to this land dispute. It is clearly between the Trinamul Congress and the government. Accusations and allegations have been made. And, we believe, we have been caught in the political crossfire.
Q: In hindsight, don’t you think you should have purchased the land directly?
A: I think it is very easy to look at everything at hindsight. There may be many ways to approach a project. I don’t know whether I should say this, but I say this with sincerity. I view West Bengal as a terrific state, with a great deal of potential in terms of the intellect of its people. And we came here because I thought we could make a difference. In that context, whether we bought the land or leased the land or whatever we did, we did it in good faith at that time because we wanted to be part of the development of the state. We wanted to make a difference.
Whether we had bought the land, leased the land, whether it could have been done differently in hindsight, is all conjecture.
Q: What about accommodating those who have been trained?
A: We have endeavoured to ensure all people to locate them to other plants, but obviously not in Singur.
Q: Did you anticipate you would face this in Bengal?
A: We did not, I should say, anticipate we will have this kind of problems in West Bengal.... We have no options but to move. It’s a time-bound project, we have commitments that we have made to everyone. In some ways it was beyond West Bengal, it was an Indian project. It’s a shame that this project should have faced this but now that it has, we have to honour what we have said to the best of our ability and we would move.
However, I have assured the chief minister that as far as further investment in Bengal, this will not have any bearing but at the same time we will be extremely concerned about the possibility of agitation. I want to repeat the reason for which we are leaving West Bengal is because of the agitation by the Opposition parties led by Ms Mamata Banerjee.... We continue to be enthusiastic about what can happen in West Bengal. I just hope that West Bengal can be a state of huge development and not a state which stands still because of agitations, strikes and rallies.
Q: Any message for Mamata Banerjee?
A: No. I would like to believe that there is a rule of law, legal redress, that there is a solution to problems without agitation, violence, without threats — that we will not let a single Nano roll out of the plant. How do we go into production with that kind of a statement being made?
Q: Are you doing justice to the age-old Tatas’ philosophy of nation-building?
A: May I respond to that rather aggressively. Are you not addressing the wrong person for that? Am I pulling out on some whim or fancy? Maybe you should ask Ms Banerjee that question.
Q: Is there any possibility that you sit down with the Opposition for discussion?
A: I think that time has come and gone for this investment. A search for a solution could not happen for six months. I don’t know, we don’t have that time. We have been trying for two years in the hope for finding a solution.
Q: About opportunity lost for Bengal.
A: I think certainly, the opportunity for the young people for having jobs, not for just the Nano project, is here today. There will be 100 Nano projects that will come and go. What we have to decide is would the people of West Bengal have a future in industrial development. Will the young people of West Bengal have the opportunity — not because of Nano? Go beyond the Nano…. Will the future generation of West Bengal have the opportunity unless there is investment, industrial investment? One needs to ponder if the way forward is through agitation, rallies, strikes.
Q: You may face similar situation in other parts too?
A: I can’t speak as to what we may face in the country, a decision like this becomes a lonely decision and taken with lot of pain. There is responsibility to our shareholders, we cannot let lie something in limbo, cannot let our investment lie… and I do hope that wherever we move, we can look back and learn a lesson that a congenial environment would allow a project to prosper.
Q: Any equity option to farmers?
A: We are open to anything, any form of dialogue, not through agitation, not means of aggression.
I think, two years ago, I said if somebody puts a gun to my head, you would either have to remove the gun or pull the trigger. I would not move my head. I think Ms Banerjee pulled the trigger.
Q: Any assembly line unit in Bengal?
A: We have received offers from other states and equal to what we received in West Bengal. Nothing more. Eventually, we will certainly have more than one plant and certainly West Bengal could be under consideration.
Q: Any other industry in Singur?
A: You must understand we are manufacturing the car. In Pantnagar, we also have got 1,000 acres: 600 acres for ourselves and 400 acres for vendors. It is not a unique thing. Should the people decide what we need? If we get it, fine. Other people should not tell us what we need to produce a car, in what way. What we need in terms of area, what we need in terms of content. That is something I think should be left to us.
Q: Any change in decision possible if Mamata withdraws her demand?
A: We have now taken a decision. The time has come and gone. It is not good to vacillate back and forth.
Q: Is this a weak government that did not allow the Nano to roll out?
A: I thought the government is damned if they did and damned if they didn’t. If they acted firmly they would be accused of coming down on an Opposition that is in minority. If they didn’t, they were accused of weakness.
Q: Any message for the 11,000 people who accepted the cheques?
A: Don’t ask me that question, I did not agitate, I did not leave on my own desire. Ask the people who created the agitation, who have made it impossible for me to stay.
Q: How pained are you?
A: I am extremely pained. It shatters many dreams many of us have had. There is great pain, but there is also the feeling that this is the right thing, because there is no other option.


I don’t feel like living in Bengal: Nirupam

Nirupam Sen at Writers’ Buildings. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
Calcutta, Oct. 3: Ratan Tata isn’t the only one who wants out. Industries minister Nirupam Sen too would leave Bengal if he could.
“I don’t feel like living in Bengal,” a distressed Sen, tireless mover of chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s industrialisation campaign, said after Tata’s pullout decision today.
Sen’s reaction indicated what the government thought about the future of industry in Bengal — at least amid the gloom this evening.
“It’s a black day for us. Ratan Tata’s decision to shift the Nano factory out of Singur will definitely cast its shadow on the people of Bengal,” he said.
“We could not even imagine that the principal Opposition party could stall a unique automobile project of international importance by doing narrow politics.”
Bhattacharjee did not utter a word but his body language said everything. The chief minister left Writers’ Buildings at 8.15pm, head uncharacteristically bowed, eyes fixed on the floor. He ignored the reporters lining the corridors.
Two hours earlier, Tata had left the building informing him he was pulling the Nano project out of Bengal.
Government sources said Bhattacharjee was especially distressed because Tata had told several industrialists that the Bengal government, especially its chief minister, could be “trusted” and “taken seriously”.
“The brand ambassador of Bengal’s industrialisation (Tata) has left just at the time we all were beginning to think that there indeed was a turnaround taking place in Bengal,” a senior government official said.
“It will be very difficult to woo industry now that the Tatas have left. Our task has been made much, much more difficult.”

Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at Writers’ Buildings. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
Sources said the government was not worried about those who had already invested in the state, such as Videocon or the Jindals, but about those who had shown “some interest” after the Nano project came to Singur.
“Getting the automobile sector to invest in Bengal, especially someone like the Tatas, was a huge thing for us. It’s unlikely that something like this is going to be repeated in the near future. An avenue for generating employment in the state has disappeared,” an official said.
Reflecting on this, Sen said: “I cannot say if any political party can really gain from the Tata Motors pullout. But Tata’s decision has disheartened the eight crore people of Bengal, particularly the younger generation who were hoping to get jobs.”
He added: “I want the Opposition to do some self-introspection (because it has) harmed the interests of the people of Bengal as a whole. They will have to answer to the people for what they have done.”
Sen said Tata had left because he could not have met his Nano rollout deadline from Singur.
He explained the government had not forcibly broken up Mamata’s siege near the project site because “we didn’t want to allow the Opposition to gain political mileage by cashing in on the police intervention”.
Officials said a cloud now hung over many of the government’s development plans with the Opposition threatening “another Singur or Nandigram” wherever land had to be acquired.
“The power plant in Katwa is also turning doubtful because of the Opposition’s threats,” an official said.
The only silver lining appeared to be Tata’s fulsome praise for the chief minister.
“It’s good that Tata has praised the role of the government in setting up the factory,” Sen said. “It would send a positive message to other industrialists who are willing to invest in Bengal.”


I don’t feel like living in Bengal: Nirupam
A STAFF REPORTER (Kolkata, Telegraph, 4 Oct. 2008)

Nirupam Sen at Writers’ Buildings. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
Calcutta, Oct. 3: Ratan Tata isn’t the only one who wants out. Industries minister Nirupam Sen too would leave Bengal if he could.
“I don’t feel like living in Bengal,” a distressed Sen, tireless mover of chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s industrialisation campaign, said after Tata’s pullout decision today.
Sen’s reaction indicated what the government thought about the future of industry in Bengal — at least amid the gloom this evening.
“It’s a black day for us. Ratan Tata’s decision to shift the Nano factory out of Singur will definitely cast its shadow on the people of Bengal,” he said.
“We could not even imagine that the principal Opposition party could stall a unique automobile project of international importance by doing narrow politics.”
Bhattacharjee did not utter a word but his body language said everything. The chief minister left Writers’ Buildings at 8.15pm, head uncharacteristically bowed, eyes fixed on the floor. He ignored the reporters lining the corridors.
Two hours earlier, Tata had left the building informing him he was pulling the Nano project out of Bengal.
Government sources said Bhattacharjee was especially distressed because Tata had told several industrialists that the Bengal government, especially its chief minister, could be “trusted” and “taken seriously”.
“The brand ambassador of Bengal’s industrialisation (Tata) has left just at the time we all were beginning to think that there indeed was a turnaround taking place in Bengal,” a senior government official said.
“It will be very difficult to woo industry now that the Tatas have left. Our task has been made much, much more difficult.”

Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at Writers’ Buildings. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
Sources said the government was not worried about those who had already invested in the state, such as Videocon or the Jindals, but about those who had shown “some interest” after the Nano project came to Singur.
“Getting the automobile sector to invest in Bengal, especially someone like the Tatas, was a huge thing for us. It’s unlikely that something like this is going to be repeated in the near future. An avenue for generating employment in the state has disappeared,” an official said.
Reflecting on this, Sen said: “I cannot say if any political party can really gain from the Tata Motors pullout. But Tata’s decision has disheartened the eight crore people of Bengal, particularly the younger generation who were hoping to get jobs.”
He added: “I want the Opposition to do some self-introspection (because it has) harmed the interests of the people of Bengal as a whole. They will have to answer to the people for what they have done.”
Sen said Tata had left because he could not have met his Nano rollout deadline from Singur.
He explained the government had not forcibly broken up Mamata’s siege near the project site because “we didn’t want to allow the Opposition to gain political mileage by cashing in on the police intervention”.
Officials said a cloud now hung over many of the government’s development plans with the Opposition threatening “another Singur or Nandigram” wherever land had to be acquired.
“The power plant in Katwa is also turning doubtful because of the Opposition’s threats,” an official said.
The only silver lining appeared to be Tata’s fulsome praise for the chief minister.
“It’s good that Tata has praised the role of the government in setting up the factory,” Sen said. “It would send a positive message to other industrialists who are willing to invest in Bengal.”


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Nano. I will produce Paano for Rs. 10k if there are frauds like CPM

Nano. I will produce Paano for Rs. 10k if there are frauds like CPM

Buddha and CPM have been fooling the people of West Bengal and the rest of Hindusthana by not revealing the full story of state subsidies offered to Tata.

This report by Pradeep Gooptu is a revelation. Who are the Tata's and Buddha of CPM trying to fool? I offer to produce a Paano (so named, because of the paanpatta land taken away from the poor leaseholders of Singur) if a Government offers me such sops.

Only problem with Paano will be that one cannot chew it and spit as with a Kalighat paanpatta.


Nano will cost Bengal hundreds of crores a year

Pradeep Gooptu, BS | October 01, 2008 | 02:06 IST (Business Standard, Kolkata)

Sources in the West Bengal government's finance department said the state had made budgetary provisions that would run into several hundred crores every year for 20 to 30 years to attract Tata Motors' Nano project to Singur.

This payout was to begin from the scheduled start of the production in 2008. The project is now facing problems owing to protests by land-losers unwilling to compensation from the government.

Responding to questions raised on the basis of the contract signed between the state government, Tata Motors and West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC), the source said the state would also match any additional benefits accruing to factories in hill states like Uttarakhand, were these states to receive any further incentive packages in the future.

At the end of 2006, the state government had disbursed the first part of its support to Tata Motors in the form of a soft loan of Rs 200 crore at an interest of 1 per cent per year repayable in five equal annual instalments from the 21st year from disbursement of the loan, entailing a lock-up of the capital and loss of interest income on the amount for the entire tenure.

At a simple rate of 12 per cent a year, the interest subsidy would cost the state about Rs 25 crore a year.

The state had committed to extend a loan of around Rs 400 crore a year at 0.1 per cent interest, payable monthly, for 30 years, as a matching amount for the value added tax (VAT) received by the state at the rate of 12 per cent on every car sold.

The 12 per cent VAT on the Rs 1 lakh base model would go up if more of the upper-end versions of Nano were sold, so the amount of the loan to be extended to TML could surge.

The state would also extend a loan to match the central sales tax collected on the vehicle, payable on each car sold outside the state, or aggregates of such cars sent to other factories, and this commitment was expected to cost the state at least Rs 50 crore a year, given the installed capacity of the Singur plant to make 350,000 cars and generate components and aggregates for up to 500,000 cars.

The state government had also promised Tata Motors subsidised power at the rate of Rs 3 per kilo watt hour (kwh), or at around half the price of power charged to high-tension industrial consumers in the state at present, in perpetuity.

This in turn would mean extending support to the tune of up to Rs 70 crore a year for the 997-acre factory zone comprising the mother plant, the ancillary and component facilities and all related infrastructure under the current power tariff structure.

Incidentally, land for the factory had also been provided at a subsidised rate with 645 acres being provided to Tata Motors at Rs 1 crore a year against market rate of Rs 19.3 crore a year in that area, and with 290 acres being provided for the vendor and related facilities units at Rs 23 lakh a year against a market rate of Rs 8.7 crore a year. This excluded the cost of acquisition of the land pegged at around Rs 120 crore.


Friday, September 5, 2008

How CPM Talibans ruined West Bengal -- HS Mehtani

September 07, 2008
Open Forum

How CPM ruined W. Bengal
By H.S. Mehtani

30 years of Communism in West Bengal. A first person account

In 1960, I joined Durgapur Steel Plant in West Bengal. The educated class of Bengalies was proud to say that 40 per cent of revenue to national exchequer was collected from Kolkata. It was true because of the economic development in the eastern region of the country during British rule. Number of industries like tea, oil, jute and steel plants were established in West Bengal, Assam, Bihar and Orissa. Apart from this there was a development of mining industry like coal, iron ore, lime stone and dolomite in these areas.

Kolkata, a renowned seaport, was the nerve centre for all these business activities. The corporate and other marketing offices of these industries were situated in this city and with this a good number of exim houses also came up. So Kolkata was rightly called the financial capital of the country till the end of 1950’s.

After Independence, the central government during first and second Five Year Plans still invested a lot in this region, particularly in West Bengal, to give further boost to economic development. Number of industries were set up in public and private sector. The area between Asansol and Burdwan was created as an economic zone, where Durgapur Steel Plant, Alloysteel Plant, Mining and Allied Machinery Corporation, West Bengal Coke ovens, D.V.C. Thermal Power Station, Philips Carbon Black, Shankey Wheels, Associated Vikers and Babcock and many more industries came up. Industrial licenses were issued to still more business houses in West Bengal.

In 1961, after the death of Dr BC Roy, the then Chief Minister and a great Congress leader, there was no other leader in Congress party who could inspire the intelligensia and create the dedicated cadres at grass root level. Shri PC Sen, who took over as Chief Minister, was not so effective. Shri Atulya Ghosh, another great Congress leader, remained only busy in Central Committees in Delhi.

There was almost a vacuum in West Bengal polities, which gave an opportunity to rising communists under the leadership of Shri Jyoti Basu and Shri Pramod Dasgupta, who succeeded to train and motivate their cadres under the banners of AITUC to work on the principles of Marxism to bring under their fold the industrial and farm labour. A lot of Marxist literature was floated which also drew the attention of educated class. They embarked on vigorous propaganda, by dubbing all persons other than their cadres and followers, as capitalists, pro-American and CIA Agents. The people holding administrative posts in government offices, business houses and industries were considered anti-people, anti-poor, anti-peasants and anti-workers. For them the Marxism was fighting for the cause of peasants and workers of the world.

This worked like magic. In 1962 election, Marxists registered threefold increase in strength by winning about seventy seats in West Bengal assembly. This success made them more offensive. They shouted slogans like “Power lies in the barrel of the gun”, “We will break the Constitution from within”, “Democracy is for capitalists”, side by side they developed militancy in their cadres, who were brainwashed with Marxist ideals like Talibans, who are brainwashed with Islamic ideals. Both are fundamentalists and believe in gun culture.

In 1962, when China attacked India and captured a large territory in the Himalayas, every citizen of the country felt his pride greatly hurt and expressed anger against the government’s military unpreparedness, resulting in crushing defeat. But the Marxists had different feelings. For them it was a victory of Chinese PLA, who were fighting for the peasants and workers of the world against the pro-American, pro-capitalists and anti-people government headed by Pt. Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India. They believed rather India was an aggressor and occupying Chinese territory. As it shows today they kept mum during Chinese recent incursions and their claim over Sikkim and Arunachal.

In 1963, differences between Russians and Chinese surfaced. Russians called Chinese as expansionists and Chinese called Russians as revisionists. This also brought cracks in the Communist Party of India, ultimately in 1964 resulting in division (1) Communist Party of India, Pro-Russia, supported by AITUC union. (2) Communist Party (Marxists) pro-China supported by CITU union. In West Bengal, CPI leaders were Shri Bhupesh Gupta, Shri Inderjeet Gupta and Shri Hiranya Mukherjee and CPM was led by Shri Jyoti Basu and Shri Pramod Dasgupta. They faught elections since 1967 under separate identities.

The year 1967 was an election year. Congress in West Bengal was completely in doldrums with demoralised cadres. Shri Ajoy Mukherjee, a great Gandhian leader in Congress, left the party and promoted a separate party called Bangla Congress. There were number of parties in election fray like Congress, Bangla Congress (known as rightists) and CPM, CPI, Forward Block, Forward Block (Marxists), SUCI and Workers Party of India (known as leftists). There had been bloody fights among themselves against the encroachment of each others area of influence. Ideologically each leftist party claimed to be the real Marxist against others.

Election results were as expected. Congress lost heavily. No party could muster a majority to form the government of its own. At last all parties other than Congress decided to form the coalition government headed by Shri Ajoy Mukherjee of Bangla Congress as Chief Minister and Shri Jyoti Basu of CPM as Deputy Chief Minister.

The time Shri Ajoy Mukherjee took the oath of CM, the very next moment he realised that comrades were hard nuts to break. He faced stiff opposition from coalition constituents, particularly CPM. Though Shri Mukherjee was a Gandhian and a very simple man, but was still dubbed as bourgeois, anti-people and anti-poor, because he did not approve the Mao’s methodology to spread the communism in the state. There was virtually no agenda—for good governance, law and order and development. Comrades had only one agenda, to spread their wings all over the state by force. Managers in government offices, industries, business houses suffered from fear psychosis. Demonstrations, strikes and stoppage in work were rampant. The CPM controlled labour union CITU, attained a monster-like look. This started down fall in economic activity, as the capital started fleeing from the state. The day-to-day work in the state almost came to grinding halt. Ultimately in 1969 the Governor, at the instance of central government, dissolved the West Bengal assembly and President’s rule was imposed.

After this the brainwashed CPM Talibans had completely a free hand. They tried to increase further the area under influence and control resulting in tough fights with other leftists in their constituencies. Private armies were raised and number of people were killed. The top leader of Forward Block Shri Chit Kumar Basu was stabbed to death on the busy street near Park Circus at Kolkata. The news of killing in country side was being reported almost every day in the newspapers.

In the assembly election in 1969, CPM emerged as a single largest party. Congress came with much reduced strength and Bangla Congress was almost wiped out. CPM again formed the coalition government with CPI, RSP, Forward Block and Froward Block (Marxist). This gave the chance to comrade Jyoti Basu to lead the state as a Chief Minister. But their way of working remained the same. There was completely work to rule in the offices, industries, mines etc. Industries became sick. Managers became sick, they were hooted, hackled and sometimes lynched to death. People became so much unsecured that by evening all will run to their houses. Markets, roads and streets would give a deserted look. Government’s attitude was quite indifferent. On March 25, 1970, there was a bloody scuffle between PAC and workers of Durgapur Steel Plant who violently demonstrated against automotion. About 50 persons were seriously injured and hospitalised. Shri Krishnapada Ghosh (the son-in-law of CPM Party Chief Shri Pramod Dasgupta) a minister, who was sent for a visit to take the stock of the situation, only met with injured workers and not the injured officers and PAC jawans. Imagine the plight of the common man, when government was so virulent in behaviour. The conditions were so bad that Durgapur Steel Plant was hardly operating at 60 per cent of installed capacity, whereas Bokaro Steel Plant, about 70 km away in Bihar was operating at more than 90 per cent of installed capacity that time. Can comrades say that low production in Durgapur Steel Plant was for American’s loss?

Shri Pramod Dasgupta, the CPM party chief, was very fiery and aggressive and had more followings in CITU union of CPM. This resulted lesser control of Jyoti Basu as Chief Minister on the officers and staff of Writers Building and other government offices. The Marxists had still only one point agenda to fight against the bourgeois in West Bengal and at Delhi.

But, so much lawlessness for years together in the state ultimately scared the people, as they were not leading a peaceful life. Centre and State relations were not at all cordial. This once again brought the state under President’s rule by early 1971.

CPM and CITU unions continued their terrorising tactics. Rallies and processions against the central government were regular features. Two Sen brothers of Congress, were brutally killed in Burdwan. So much of scare was created that Congress with great difficulty could get candidates for nomination for election due to fear of being killed, as it happened to number of their workers after filling nominations. Then Congress adopted a new strategy. They pushed the candidates under ground after filling nominations in their constituencies. Thus they fought election almost without any election campaign.

Election results were astonishing for the whole West Bengal as well as India. People expressed their anger through ballots. Congress came out victorious in more than hundred seats. This boosted the morale of their cadres, who came out of their hideouts to face the angry CPM cadres, with bloody blows. The membership of INTUC, the Congress led union, swelled. Shri Jyoti Basu again became the Chief Minister supported by the other left parties. Conditions remained still the same and there had been no endeavour on the part of the government to improve the deteriorating law and order. But, reading the people’s mind in West Bengal Smt. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, again imposed President’s rule. In elections held in early 1973, the Congress came out victorious with a brute majority, which formed the government headed by Shri Sidharth Shankar Roy as Chief Minister.

Confident CPM cadres never expected it. The crushing defeat made their leadership to realise that people want law and order, peaceful life and good governance. So although they still followed Marxism, but shed the violence and tried better contacts with the people. This was not liked by the hardliners in the party. A new party called “Naxalitas” under the leadership of Charumajundar, Kanu Sanyal and Jangal Santhal emerged on the scene. They were the dead enemy of CPM. They were dealt with iron hand by the government at Centre.

In 1977, the conditions in the country took the U turn. Congress was not only defeated at Centre, but also all over northern India, including West Bengal, due to promulgation of Emergency in 1975. Shri Jyoti Basu was again on the Chief Minister’s chair. After that he did not look back. He ruled the state for about twenty five years. The state is still under leftists rule headed by Shri Buddhdeb Bhattacharjee of CPM as Chief Minister. During Jyoti Basu’s time there has been negligible progress in the state, but presently Shri Buddhdeb Bhattacharjee has realised that IT, telecom, energy, automobile and infrastructure are the areas which need to be looked for development, but is not achieving the desired results because of the Marxism to which they are still holding. Violent incidents at Singur and Nandigram do testify its irrelevance.

Finally coming to the point which I started writing, whether, Kolkata is still the financial capital of the country, which it used to be in 50’s. No, not at all. All the focus for investments shifted towards western region of the country. Where the professionals inspired by nationalism brought the economic development and prosperity in the last fifty years. In this period West Bengal remained mostly destablised. Marxism has actually proved to be the anti-poor and anti-development.

It was said “what Bengal does today, India will do tomorrow”. It is true, but not with the teachings of Marxism. It will be true only by following the path shown by the sons of Bengal like Vivekananda, Netaji, Tagore, etc.

(The author can be contacted at 89/7, East Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi-110 026.)


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Why did Nano project pull out of West Bengal? CPM.

What the following statement fails to state is the nature of the state led by CPM in West Bengal. This blogspot focusses on Communist Party of Murderers.

It is a pity that there are other parties which are part of the Left Front led by CPM, acquiescing in the activities of the murderous party. No further evidence is required than the claim made by a Politburo member of CPM, Smt. Brinda Karat that 'dumdum dawaii' will be administered in the wake of Nandigram and Singur atrocities unleashed by the CPM. 'Dumdum Dawaii' is a short-hand for violence and murder, a technique that CPM thought was successfully adopted in the Dumdum constituency to neutralise through violence, opposition to the Left Front.

What the tragedy of the CPM led polity in West Bengal proves is this: Commies are unfit to govern, driven as they are by blind ideological beliefs in communism (another form of religion) and recent manifestations showing off the CPM brass as China patriots, rendering them ab initio unfit to even understand let alone cherish the great heritage of Hindu civilization.

This ain't the time to enter into political nit-picking pointing fingers at who did what and what could have been done to avoid the stupid controversy posited between agro-based and industry-based development.

The issue is not dichotomy. The issue is about CPM's ability to articulate and put in place the type of future Hindusthan should strive for and achieve.

For a long, long time to come, people of Hindushan will continue to live in the rural areas living off the bounties of mother earth. There is no magic wand to absorb 65% of the labour force currently engaged in the agricultural sector into the industrial or services sectors. Hindusthan will continue to be a land based on the bounties offered by the mother earth which have to be nurtured and protected by the labor force in the agricultural sector.

The tragedy gets compounded by the fact that agricultural growth has only been 1.8% while the total GDP growth is trumpeted by official statisticians to be over 8%. Does it occur to these pundits to analyse the absurdity of this statistical picture? How can Hindusthan grow without growth of the rural area dependent upon agriculture and related agro-processing industries?

CPM (and the others in the Left Front) thought that they could fool the electorate and create a vote bank by offering long-term lease of land to the tillers and smashing this agreement to the smithereens by the new-found love for Nano or Salim's chemical hub or whatever industrial goodies which such entrepreneurs have to offer who care little for that poor farmer in the villages who is forced into suicide as an ultimate revolt against the intolerable order.

The issue is not about the Nano project or the munificence of the Tata dynasty.

The issue is about the type of integrated development needed to provide for urban facilities in rural areas and ensuring that the entire labour force is fruitfully engaged in work and is fairly compensated to create enough purchasing power in their hands to create a multiplier effect in taking the nation forward to abhyudayam.

The issue is about the nation, the rashtram; not this region or that, not this community or that. The issue is about the abhyudayam of the entire nation ensuring true empowerment of the janapada-s, which can be created by fully empowered panchayati raj institutions to determine bottom-up developmental opportunities without waiting for doles from 10 Janpath chamcha-s.

The issue is about getting the politicos off the backs of the bhadralok, by disbanding the oppressive state structures exemplified by the photo-ops sought by 10 Janpath chamcha-s, as if they are arbiters of the fate of Hindusthan.

They are not the arbiters of the fate of Hindusthan. The people who gave themselves this Republic are. This Republic has to be a dharma republic, governed by the universal ethic of family responsibility confederating into a state responsibility for abhyudayam.

We have to get back to the drawing board and rethink if we have the right types of institutional mechanisms in the State to really achieve a harmonious balance between the exercise of State power and family responsibility -- simply to re-draw the Constitutional framework which have allowed the types of riff-raffs like the CPM ideologues who only mouth worker power caring little for ensuring that the workers have work to perform, to find meaning in their lives and realize their full potential as contributors for the nation's abhyudayam.

Workers are not mere vote-banks, CPM. They are the very raison d'etre of the State. CPM ideologues may go for tutorial sessions to China but they will learn nothing, unless they learn that the nation of Hindusthan has its identity from the ancestors who have given us some ideals to strive for -- dharma. If we have asthana vidwans like Hon'ble Rajya Sabha MP Sitaram Yechury who has not even read the Hindi version of the Preamble of the Constitution of India and takes exception to the then President of the Union referring to pantha-nirapekshata as the offical reading of the word 'secular' in the Preamble, CPM really has problems; so do the CPM partners of the Left Front and the pseudo-secular brigades of 10 Janpath chamcha-s. There can't be no dharma-nirapekshataa, Sitaram ji. Dharma is the very fountain of this nation, this rashtram. There cannot be any neutrality as to dharma. Every facet of the State, every wing of the State, every estate of the State, every functionary has to owe allegiance to dharma. It is only such allegiance that defines Hindusthanam.

Bye-bye Nano. It is good that Tata dynasty learns some lessons. There is corporate accountability, accountability to the people. Corporate aggrupations cannot dictate public policy but act like responsible entities owing their first allegiance to protecting those who protect dharma. The Singur land is not Tata's or Buddhadeb's. It is ridiculous that Buddha claims that there is no law to return the land illegally taken from the tenants and cultivatore. If there is no law, create it, Buddha; and gracefully, quit being CM.

So, why did Nano project pull out of West Bengal? The answer is simple. CPM. People have suffered enough from these marauders. Show them the exit door out of politics and let them get into social service for a change, say, by tilling the Singur lands to produce paan pattaa, the famed Bangla paan pattaa rivalling the Benarsi paan pattaa -- both pattaas are the bounties of Maa Ganga, CPM. CPM, do you understand what Maa Ganga means? She is our mother, she is our life. If you can't help them, just leave the Singur land-tillers and cultivators alone.


Statement issued by Tata Motors on Singur pull out threat
2 Sep 2008, 2231 hrs IST,ECONOMICTIMES.COM

Tata Motors on Tuesday said it was looking for alternate options to manufacture its small car Nano from the company's other plants and work at Singur has been suspended.

Here is the full statement released by the Corporate Communications department of Tata Motors:

Tata Motors Ltd. has been constrained to suspend the construction and commissioning work at the Nano Plant in Singur in view of continued confrontation and agitation at the site. This decision was taken in order to ensure the safety of its employees and contract labour, who have continued to be violently obstructed from reporting to work. The company has assessed the prevailing situation in Singur, after five continuous days of cancellation of work, and believes that there is no change in the volatile situation around the plant. The project’s auto ancillary partners, who had commenced work at their respective plants in Singur, were also constrained to suspend work in line with Tata Motors’ decision.

In view of the current situation, the company is evaluating alternate options for manufacturing the Nano car at other company facilities and a detailed plan to relocate the plant and machinery to an alternate site is under preparation. To minimize the impact this may have on the recently recruited and trained people from West Bengal, the Company is exploring the possibility of absorbing them at its other plant locations.

Construction of the plant has faced challenges at various points of time. There has however been a significant decline in the attendance of their staff and contractual labour since August 24, 2008. Some of the international consultants working on the plant have returned home and the construction work in the plant has been stalled since August 28, 2008. In fact, the existing environment of obstruction, intimidation and confrontation has begun to impact the ability of the company to convince several of its experienced managers to relocate and work in the plant. Further, several persons engaged in the construction and commissioning work who had taken accommodation at Singur and nearby areas have since vacated and have gone away due to intimidation and fear.

Construction of the Nano project comprising of the Nano manufacturing facilities and the vendor park, a normal feature in modern world-class auto plants, commenced in January 2007. The work on the construction and commissioning of the plant had been nearing completion in line with planned schedules. During construction, this project employed about 4000 employees at its peak including several hundred young residents from and around the region.

As a part of its commitment to enhance the employability of its people, Tata Motors has trained over 762 ITIs and other apprentices from the region and the state. They have undergone retraining at the Tata Motors facilities in Jamshedpur and Pune.

Tata Motors’ efforts to offer medical care in and around the region, which had handled over 17,000 medical cases, have been forcefully stopped by violent agitators. As part of the proposed integrated auto cluster in Singur, about 60 key auto ancillary suppliers to the Nano have taken possession of land in the integrated complex and have invested about Rs.500 crores towards construction of their plants and procurement of their equipment and machinery.

Commenting on the situation, a Tata Motors spokesperson said, “The situation around the Nano plant continues to be hostile and intimidating. There is no way this plant could operate efficiently unless the environment became congenial and supportive of the project. We came to West Bengal hoping we could add value, prosperity and create job opportunities in the communities in the State.”


Friday, August 29, 2008

CPM ideology -- totalitarian creed, says Kesavan Nair

CPM ideology -- totalitarian creed, says Kesavan Nair


Insight A Marxist leader evaluates his ideology
Posted: 28 Aug 2008 10:26 PM CDT

The poverty and politics of a totalitarian creed
(This article is based on the book written by Marxist leader P
Kesavan Nair. He is frustrated with Marxism and his expose has become a
bestseller in Malayalam.)

The economic concept of Gandhiji is based on renewable natural
resources. Authority and planning are decentralised in Gandhian
economics. The development is people oriented. The economic view of
Gandhiji gives prime importance to humanism.

By 20th century, the capitalism transformed into
imperialism. The past history of capitalism is the history of wars.
There is no proper statistics for the slayings and wars done by
imperialist forces to capture markets and fleece natural resources.
Only in World War II alone 50 million people were killed and another 50
million became handicapped.

The Iraq and Afghan wars were for petrol. Imperialism is the
pest of world environmental destruction, poverty and other social
evils. It imperils the economic security, food security, health
security individual personality development and environmental security,
social-cultural security and political security in all over the world.
It obliterates the individual culture of all the countries of the
world. The lone ‘consumption-culture’ of capitalism defected the world.
The Soviet communism, which came to the place of capitalism was nothing
but a state-capitalism.

It is the utilitarian capitalism implemented in the erstwhile
Soviet Union. The 75-year-long communist canon sowed un-describable
environmental hazards. Chernobyl disaster and dry-up of Aral Sea are
some among them. The social condition of Soviet Union was deplorable. A
society having all kinds of wickedness like bureaucracy, corruption,
black marketing, destituteness of the public, high mortality rate, high
infant-mortality, alcoholism and drugs was the residue left behind by
the communists bee in Soviet Union. Poverty, starvation,
social-inequalities are prevalent there. One of the slogans set forth
by the Chinese Communist party who is building up capitalism in the
guise of communism, is “making money is a divine action”. China is
endeavouring to defeat America in production and consumption, just like
the erstwhile Soviet Union earlier. As far as China is concerned, the
cat should catch the mouse whether the mouse is black or white. Red cat
is not necessary. The difference between ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ are
sky-rocketing. In the world labour market China pays the lowest
remuneration. The flee from villages to cities in search of employment
is whopping. In China employment, food, health service, education are
not fundamental rights. The environmental degradation is appalling. All
rivers are polluted with chemical and organic wastes. Capitalist
culture is in the going and the ones motivated: Cuba and Vietnam are
highly backward countries. The state of North Korea is pitiful. The
North Koreans writhe under the wrath of dictatorship.

The economic theories of the father of our nation Mahatma
Gandhi come up as the substitute to the in-humaneness capitalism and
communism. Gandhian economics is based on Indian conceptions. It is
totally different from the modern economics based squarely on the
production and consumption. Gandhiji wrote, “The resources and
equipments to satisfy the needs of all people of the world is here. But
it cannot satisfy at least one person’s greed.” The economic concept of
Gandhiji is based on renewable natural resources. Authority and
planning are decentralised in Gandhian economics. The development is
people oriented. The economic view of Gandhiji gives prime importance
to humanism. The world famous philosophers Shoemaker, Fukuoka, Rachel
Carson, Frijoph Capra presented new economic thoughts substituting the
modern economics. Their economic views adhered to Buddhist views. Those
are generally known as Buddhist economists. The gist of Shoemaker’s
‘small is beautiful’ is this. The resources in earth are diminishing
due to ingestion. If it goes on like this, it will not sustain long.
Instead of big production centres, effective small production units are
to be implemented.

Machines and technical systems suitable to this should be the
challenge of the science and technology. Larger productions generating
unemployment should be avoided as far as possible. Production increases
only when everybody has employment; economical inequality is redressed.
New technologies should be in harmony with nature. The technology never
be nature destructive. When natural resources are consumed it should
bear only the loss due to the natural processing. Thus a system which
is harmonious to nature and man is to be expounded. Through small
consumption, the rightful lifestyle, the maximum golly is to be the
vision. The modern economists including Gandhiji consider man and
nature to be one and the same. Humanity can be salvaged only if the new
economic theories, brought forward as the substitute to western
classical economics is pragmatically implemented.

(Translated by Jayapradeep Viswanath)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Are CPM members citizens of Indis? -- Rudrangshu Mukherjee

FANTASY WORLD OF KARAT (Telegraph, July 28, 2008)

- The CPI(M) must explain why it disregards the Constitution
Rudrangshu Mukherjee

In Stalin’s footsteps

The Communist Party wants a Constitution based upon the principle of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. They condemn the Constitution because it is based upon parliamentary democracy. — B.R. Ambedkar in his closing speech to the Constituent Assembly on November 25, 1949.

Nearly fifty years later, is there any need to change this assessment of Ambedkar, which was made when the Communist Party of India was pursuing the policy of overthrowing the Indian State through armed insurrection? The answer is, in substance, no. The communists participate in parliamentary democracy and do not openly condemn the Constitution, but in practice pay scant respect to it.

Recent events have revealed the contempt communists have for the Constitution and its conventions. One of the most glaring instances has been the treatment meted out by the CPI(M) to the speaker of the Lok Sabha, Somnath Chatterjee. He was summarily expelled from the CPI(M) because he had refused to resign from the post of speaker as the party had ordered him to do. The word summarily is used advisedly. Chatterjee wasn’t even given a chance to explain himself, or to put forward his own case. This is a clear case of the violation of the norms of natural justice that occurs frequently in barbaric and non-democratic societies, and such occurrences in civilized and democratic ones are almost always condemned. This kind of arbitrariness is not unrelated to the CPI(M)’s attitude to the Constitution.

When the Left decided to withdraw support from the UPA government, Prakash Karat and two other Left leaders went to the president with a list of MPs who were withdrawing support. (This incident itself calls for comment and I will come back to it later.) The list contained the name of Somnath Chatterjee. What did this inclusion mean? It meant that according to Karat and Co., Chatterjee, even though he was the speaker, actually belonged to the CPI(M). They had thus eroded the position of neutrality that goes with the office of the speaker. Following this came the request/order from the party that Chatterjee should step down. Chatterjee refused on the grounds that it was his constitutional responsibility not to show his party colours and to remain non-partisan. This led directly to his expulsion. There was a clear conflict here between loyalty to the party and loyalty to the Constitution. Chatterjee’s conscience told him that his loyalty to the Constitution was more important, hence his refusal to step down. Chatterjee is thus being punished by the CPI(M) because he remained true to the spirit of the Constitution and to parliamentary procedure and convention.

It will not be wrong to suspect from this that the CPI(M) considers its own rules and regulations to be more important than the Constitution, especially when the two are in conflict. This suspicion is confirmed by what many comrades have said about the importance of party rules.

Let me turn now to the incident that I flagged in an earlier paragraph. Karat and the other two Left leaders who went to meet the president with the list of MPs have no constitutional standing. They are not elected representatives of the people; they have no right or authority to speak for MPs. The correct procedure would have been for the leader(s) of the Left parties to have gone collectively or individually to the president to express their intent. Karat took upon himself this responsibility, thus showing either his ignorance or his disregard for constitutional propriety. (To be fair, it should be pointed out that the president should not have accepted the list from Karat and the other two.)

My argument is that this disregard for the Constitution among leaders of the CPI(M) is rooted in the basic contradiction to which Ambedkar drew attention even before the Indian republic was formally born. The CPI(M) sees itself as a monolithic and authoritarian party driven by something called democratic centralism. Its fantasy is that it is akin to the Bolshevik Party in Russia: a closed and underground party trying to bring about a revolution. Its delusion is that bourgeois democracy in India is a passing phase to be overtaken, sooner rather than later, by the dictatorship of the proletariat and the total dominance of the communist party. It does not believe that there should be any distinction between the party and the government, and the party and the State. All three — party, government and State — should be subservient to the general secretary of the party. This is what happened in Soviet Russia under V.I. Lenin and Josef Stalin. This is the power and position to which Prakash Karat aspires, as did general secretaries like B.T. Randive before him.

The practice of summary expulsion comes straight from the Soviet Union under Stalin. Stalin not only expelled, but even executed his victims without giving them a chance to speak. The charges were often trumped up, and the “confessions” obtained under duress. The victims were always subsequently maligned. Karat and the comrades can only expel and malign because members of his party, however much they criticize bourgeois democracy, enjoy the full protection of the bourgeois rule of law. The CPI(M) disregards the Constitution when it suits its petty political purpose, but it is not reluctant to enjoy the protection and the benefits that the Constitution offers to all citizens of India.

Prakash Karat and other communist leaders are quick to appropriate the moral high ground of Indian politics. During the drama over the trust vote, many communist leaders spoke about the incorruptibility of CPI(M) MPs. The assumption here is twofold. One is the MPs belonging to the CPI(M) cannot be bought at any price; and two, financial corruption is the only form of political immorality.

This happens again and again because of the contradiction between the CPI(M)’s fantasy and its reality. Its fantasy is that of a revolutionary party (politburo, central committee, democratic centralism and other shibboleths familiar to its members are straight out of the Bolshevik lexicon), and thus its party organization and discipline are all along Stalinist lines. But its reality is that it is forced to function in a multi-party democracy. When the mask of democracy falls, we see the CPI(M)’s ugly Stalinist face. Prakash Karat in the present conjuncture is that face.

The truth is that, as the illusion of the dictatorship of the proletariat becomes like the ever-receding horizon, communists have very little to hang on to. So a party like the CPI(M) clings on to its Stalinist organization. It provides them with the security that all is not lost. But it also makes them look ridiculous. At a more serious level, it raises the question: does the CPI(M) believe that the Constitution of India is above all other allegiances and loyalties? On the answer to this question — Karat and the comrades owe the country an explanation on this score — will depend if members of the CPI(M) can be considered citizens of India.

Unfortunately for Mr Karat, when he wakes up he will find the Indian Constitution is still here.


Karat compliments ‘comrade’ Chatterjee
BISWAJIT ROY (Kolkata Telegraph, July 28, 2008)

Calcutta, July 27: Prakash Karat is learnt to have spoken of Somnath Chatterjee’s worth in Parliament and referred to him as a “valuable comrade”, apparently to smooth ruffled feathers in the state CPM over the summary expulsion.
The general secretary today explained to the party state committee the “compulsions” that led to the expulsion after several leaders, like MP Tarit Topdar and minister Kanti Ganguly, joined state secretariat member Subhas Chakraborty in publicly cautioning about the damage it could do.

Some leaders suggested that it would be difficult to explain the action as people saw it as an act of revenge after the UPA government won the trust vote with Speaker Chatterjee presiding over it. Others said the expulsion had diverted people’s attention from the fight against the nuke deal and price rise and added to the Opposition’s ammunition months before the elections.
“We consider him a valuable comrade who was in the party for 40 years. We recognised his role in Parliament and did not want to lose him. It was unfortunate that we had to expel him since we could not compromise on party discipline. But we don’t harbour any animosity towards him,’’ a state committee member quoted Karat as telling the closed-door meeting.

In public, Karat maintained the tough posture. Asked if the party would allow an appeal by Chatterjee against the politburo decision, he said: “Our party constitution has various provisions for appeal. I don’t want to say anything more.”
The CPM constitution allows suspended or expelled members to appeal before state or central commissions.

Chatterjee has so far shown no inclination to knock at the commissions’ doors. The Speaker will be in the city tomorrow and is likely to meet party patriarch Jyoti Basu.

Karat denied any contradiction between his public position, which had left the Speaker free to decide whether to quit, and the expulsion for not toeing the party line. “It was for him to decide whether he would continue as Speaker. But it was for the party to decide whether he would continue in the party,’’ Karat said.
He said his presence at the two-day state committee meeting was “not unexpected or unscheduled”. It had apparently been planned to review the party’s showing in the recent panchayat polls.

At the meeting, Karat apparently said the leadership had given a long rope to Chatterjee before throwing him out. “We had left it to his conscience. But his conscience didn’t match the party’s conscience.”

CPM leaders had claimed that Chatterjee had agreed to step down despite his initial reluctance, but went back on his words later.

Karat said the Speaker had written to him after the Left’s withdrawal of support.
A central committee member said Chatterjee had tried to avoid a clash with the party. “Somnathda had declined to step down as Speaker before the vote as he was opposed to voting with the BJP. But he had offered alternatives.”

Quoting Karat, sources said Chatterjee had first wan-ted the party to allow him to continue till August 11 in view of “commitments” that included a trip to Kuala Lumpur for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meet and Amartya Sen’s lecture in Parliament. “Since it was not acceptable to the party, Somnathda was ready to step down before (the vote) but he refused to vote with the BJP. He also said he would resign from Parliament if he was forced to vote,” a leader said.

According to the party, Chatterjee had agreed to resign following Basu’s intervention but changed his mind later, saying he would step down after the July 22 vote. On July 21, the politburo had promised to consider his request on not voting with the BJP, but it wanted him to step down immediately. Chatterjee declined.
The politburo expelled him when he did not resign by July 23 evening.

Most state committee members said they were “satisfied” with Karat’s explanation, but the CPM’s embarrassment and worries were evident from its media communique, which neither mentioned the expulsion nor the explanation.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

CPM expels Somnath Chatterjee

CPI(M) expels Somnath Chatterjee

Special Correspondent (The Hindu, 23 July 2008)

The 10-time MP ‘seriously compromised’ the party’s position by refusing to quit as Speaker


Somnath continued as party member after his election as Speaker

CPI(M) asked him to resign before special Lok Sabha session

NEW DELHI: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) expelled Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Wednesday for “seriously compromising the position of the party.” The decision was taken at a meeting of the party’s Polit Bureau.

“The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M),” a press release said, “has unanimously decided to expel Somnath Chatterjee from the membership of the party with immediate effect. This action has been taken under Article XIX, clause 13 of the Party Constitution for seriously compromising the position of the party.”

Associated with the CPI (M) for the past four decades, Mr. Chatterjee, a ten-time MP, assumed the office of Lok Sabha Speaker after the United Progressive Alliance government came to power in mid-2004. He became the first Communist MP to be elected to the high post.

Official sources maintained that the expulsion would not have any legal implication for the position of Mr. Chatterjee as Speaker. The CPI(M) did not issue a whip binding Mr. Chatterjee – who was elected on its ticket but refused to resign his office. Under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, a member, on being elected Speaker of the Lok Sabha, is protected only in a qualified way. The provision is that he “shall not be disqualified under this Schedule…if he, by reason of his election to such office, voluntarily gives up the membership of the political party to which he belonged immediately before such election and does not, as long as he continues to hold such office thereafter, rejoin that political party or become a member of another political party.” Had a whip been issued binding him, Mr. Chatterjee would not have been protected from disqualification, as he continued to be a party member.

After the Left parties withdrew support to the UPA government on July 9, Mr. Chatterjee let it be known that he was determined to continue as Speaker. The 79-year old barrister turned down subtle hints as well as explicit messages from the CPI(M) leadership, including Jyoti Basu, who wanted him to quit the Speaker’s post. The party wanted him to resign before the two-day special session of the Lok Sabha, which began on July 21.

The meeting of the Polit Bureau, chaired by general secretary Prakash Karat, discussed Mr. Chatterjee’s defiance. It concluded unanimously that his conduct seriously compromised the party’s political position. The CPI(M) invoked Article 19(13) of its constitution to expel him. This provision dealing with party discipline states that in exceptional circumstances, party committees in their discretion may resort to summary procedure in expelling members for grave anti-party activities. The Central Committee of the party, which met recently, authorised the Polit Bureau to take appropriate action against Mr. Chatterjee at an appropriate time.

Somnath defiant

Mr. Chatterjee was defiant, taking the stand that he was above party politics given the nature of the post of Lok Sabha Speaker. He insisted that he would decide for himself and would not submit himself to any party line. The CPI(M) leadership would have none of this, pointing out that Lok Sabha Speakers such as the Congress’s Shivraj Patil or the Shiv Sena’s Manohar Joshi made no secret of their party loyalties and did not claim they were above the party or exempted from its discipline.

The Speaker’s office declined comment on his expulsion.


Defiant Speaker wins first round against party

Uday Basu
KOLKATA, July 22: Though the Manmohan Singh-government won the trust vote today, the Lok Sabha Speaker Mr Somnath Chatterjee won a different battle against his own party hands down.
The way he conducted the proceedings of the House, tongue-lashing his own “Comrades” who were trying to disrupt the debate, showed his no-nonsense and almost brutal neutrality, while making it clear that he was determined to give his party leadership a piece of his mind.
It was the CPI-M MP, Mohammed Salim, who incurred the wrath of the Speaker when he repeatedly interrupted the finance minister, Mr P Chidambaram's speech. The minister was explaining the legal intricacies involving the Hyde Act and the 123 Agreement ~ the lynchpin of the Left's opposition to the nuke deal - and China's plan for the next two decades to step up its nuclear energy from the present 2 per cent. He tried to dissuade Mr Salim from interrupting him with the plea that he had “patiently heard him when he spoke yesterday” and expected the same “courtesy” be extended to him as well.
The Speaker immediately intervened, pulled up Mr Salim and told him that the House was “not a meeting place”.
Then it was the turn of a couple of Left MPs who joined Mr Salim in disrupting the proceedings. “I won't allow such indiscipline in the House. The whole nation is watching. Don't you belong to a disciplined party ? You are glorifying neither your party nor yourself,” he chastised them. The worst that the CPI-M MPs could expect from the Speaker was still in store for them. When the House was resumed after the unprecedented and “shameful” episode involving three BJP MPs displaying wads of money inside the House, the Speaker allowed representatives of some small parties to take part in the debate before the Prime Minister wrapped it up. He was determined not to let anyone else disrupt the proceedings any longer.
Mr Salim suddenly rose to his feet and tried to raise the alleged pay-off.
Immediately, the Speaker was at his acerbic best and asked Mr Salim whether he had personal knowledge about the alleged deal. “If so, why don't you come to this side (meaning the Chair)...” he taunted him. The Speaker had been at the centre of an unprecedented intra-party feud within the CPI-M as its general secretary, Mr Prakash Karat, was adamant that he step down before the trust-vote, while he was equally determined to defy him. His conduct in the House was another defeat of Mr Karat.