This artice in OPEN does an average job of listing out the reasons of decline. Or, as a few folks are apt to pun – the transformation from West Bengal to Waste Bengal is reasonably complete. I’d say that the article does not necessarily capture all of it.
For example, here’s an important aspect. The ruling ‘Front’ has been in power for 30 years. Which means that right now there is a new generation of voters who are exposed to a larger cross-section of opinions about what is happening around the various states and, in the world especially in terms of economic initiatives. To them, the issues of ‘dark days of the 70s’ or, ‘step-motherly attitude of the Centre’ or even, ‘land reform’ don’t hold relevance. These have been important issues, but they have lost their relevance to the voting population of age 21-29 who see that increasingly enough the state is losing out on the ability to bring in newer sources of employment.
Add to that the remarkably visible ill-effect of absolute power corrupting absolutely. Forget the cities and move out into the districts. The writ of an administration does not run and, is in turn compromised politically by various functionaries and satraps. Who make it a point to make hay. This does not go unnoticed however much muscle power is used. And, herein starts the rub of ‘feeling deprived’ and, the feeling that injustice is being done. The idea of justice – that tenuous nature which provides the semblance of fairness and equality, when repeatedly tossed aside causes heartburn first and, seething anger next. Land reform works like a charm in conjunction with agricultural practices that boost the agrarian economy. The moment the fertility of the land takes a dip, it becomes somewhat impossible to sustain a booming economy around it. It has been somewhat the cause in West Bengal. Rampant land reform has, in places, made farming a losing proposition. And, the traditional ‘freebie’ sops to the farmers have not worked out as well.
The trouble in this paradise is not what replaces the current incumbent. The trouble is what replaces the replacement. With no sensible policies or, steps being talked about from the entire spectrum of the political framework, the state seems to be heading for some kind of an implosion
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